Aivy Rose N. Villarba
GOOGLE, one of the leading content providers on the internet, chose to shut down a Singaporean Filipino hate blog. Blood Stained Singapore from Goggle’s Blogspot platform appeared on the internet last May 2014. It was taken down and was not made available to the public starting June 21, 2014. The online community praised the bold move of Google to remove the hateful speech on the cyberspace.
Blood Stained Singapore has posted the article “Filipino infestation in Singapore.” The writer has enlisted ways how to disgrace a Filipino in public without bending the law. One of the points the blogger has stressed is that during rush hour, Filipinos always try to shove themselves on the train even if it is already full.
To retaliate, the writer suggested for Singaporeans to push the Filipino out of the train when the doors start to close. In that way, the poor Filipino would not be able to ride the train with them.
Another point the blogger raised is that Singaporeans should refuse to be served by Filipino food attendants. The writer also added that they should not eat the food the Filipinos have prepared.
In addition, the blogger also conveyed that Singaporeans should not help Filipinos whenever they were involved in accidents. The writer then emphasized that the Filipinos have overstayed their welcome in the country.
What is the cause of this hate blog?
The first reason why the blogger might have posted the article is because Filipinos are seen as direct rivals for jobs despite the two percent unemployment rate in the country. The writer might have thought that the Filipinos are taking what is rightfully theirs.
The estimated Filipino population in Singapore is around 170,000 and most of them are working professionals. Singaporeans consists around 60 percent of the 5.4 million population with low fertility rate, which forces the government to rely on immigrants.
Second reason might be the growing racial tensions in the country. Singapore is a multi-racial country. Various Chinese linguistic groups formed 75.2 percent of Singapore’s residents, 13.6 percent Malays, 8.8 percent Indians and 2.4 percent Arabs and others.
However, Filipinos are also one of the emerging groups in the Singaporean community. Most of the people in the country would say that “In Singapore, you could spot a Filipino in every square kilometer either a tourist or a professional.”
The mixture of foreign workers in general might have sparked a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment which might have resulted the Filipino Hate blog.
Third, the Filipinos might be seen as competition with the basic needs such as the housing, health care and on public transport. Instead of getting the maximum privilege and enjoying the resources they have, they are forced to share it to the immigrants including the Filipinos.
Inquirer.net also reported that Singapore’s leading activist groups have already warned of “widespread use of racist, aggressive and militarized rhetoric” against foreigners on the internet and abusive comments are posted anonymously on local websites and Facebook pages.
The story made me think about the things we have discussed on our journalism class.
First, freedom is not absolute. A person’s freedom ends when it starts to intervene with the freedom of others. The blog, Blood Stained Singapore has been an instrument for expression but it directly attacked the Filipino workers.
The thoughts of the blog incited hateful behaviour towards the Pinoys in Singapore. The blog was also an infringement on the policy against hateful speech of the Blogspot platform. Most blogs might have been unregulated in terms of content but we should always make sure that what we write is right, factual and should not degrade other people.
It also made me realize that the growing population of the online community calls for the awareness about online ethics. People should be taught not only to be computer literate and internet savvy but also be educated on the dos and don’ts on the cyberspace since they are active users of the medium.
In a nutshell, I think Google made the right decision to shut down the anti-Filipino blog. They are currently investigating on the case and they stressed that the people behind the blog will be answerable to the offense committed. Although the action was praised by the majority of the online users, some Singaporean activists have been left to question their freedom to express their sentiments in the midst of their democratic country.