Sunday, October 21, 2012

Alvin & Vivian "Scandal" - Tip of the iceberg in a social media age?

I would suppose most of you all already know about the ongoing Alvin & Vivian "scandal" (some of you all may perhaps even have seen some of the photographs and videos in question). Expectedly, what these two persons did generated a fair amount of discussion and debate, particularly over the legality and morality of their actions.

In this post, however, I would not be discussing the legality or morality of their actions. Instead, I aim to discuss this "scandal" from a different perspective - a perspective which is perhaps broader in nature.

When I first knew about this "scandal", there was the initial sense of surprise and curiousity in me. But, upon reflection, my surprise disappeared as I realised two things:

1. A "scandal" of such nature was perhaps almost bound to happen in Singapore sooner or later.

2. This "scandal" will perhaps be one of several, if not many, more to come.

I came to these two conclusions because, obviously, people are having sexual intercourse all over the world, regardless of their age, religion, nationality, sexuality and et cetera. And of this large sexually active group, there would be those who would, for whatever reason, choose to "document" their sexual activities in various forms.

This desire to "document" one's sexual activities is perhaps made much more easier nowadays with mobile phones and other mobile devices that possess photo-taking and video-recording capabilities. And as this other writer argued, we now perhaps live in an age in which people, especially those younger in age, perhaps obsessively, update and broadcast their "status" - be it sharing photos of their gastronomical conquests, "checking in" to places they have been to, writing about the latest going-ons in their lives, sharing their thoughts about different issues or to spread the latest news and gossip.

Thus, all these combined to create a milieu in which, almost inevitably, someone somewhere will take photos or record videos of their sexual activities and these photos/videos are then either leaked online (or in this case, uploaded onto the internet by those who partook in the sexual activities) and spread like wildfire on the internet. Singapore, being the open, connected and technologically advanced city-state it is, is not exempt to this.

As it is, we have already seen instances of this happening - be it the sex tapes of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian or the sexually explicit photographic/video collection of Edison Chen and Jeremy Lee. And in Singapore, we also had the past cases of "Tammy NYP", "Gary Ng", the photos and videos of an "exhibitionist" local couple having sex in secluded public places and the nude/explicit photos of the local law undergraduate who had a minor short stint on a local television gameshow. Now, we have the Alvin & Vivian "scandal" and I suppose there will be other similar "scandals" in future.

Of course, to my knowledge, the Alvin & Vivian "scandal" takes things further in three ways:

1. Their photos and videos were not leaked but uploaded onto the internet by themselves (the spreading of these photos and videos were done by another site; am not sure whether Alvin and Vivian intended their photos and videos for only private/selective or for public viewing though).

2. They did not attempt to mask their identities in their photos and videos.

3. They did not evade the public after their pictures and videos went viral; instead, they openly came out to speak to the media and to defend what they did.

It will thus be interesting to see how things develop with this "scandal". But I suppose like the other past similar "scandals" mentioned above, regardless of how things turn out, Alvin and Vivian will get their fifteen minutes of fame (or rather, infamy) and subsequently be forgotten when the next "scandal" appears on the scene; I mean, if I am not wrong, most people have already forgotten or stopped talking about "Tammy NYP" for some time even though it also created quite a stir when it happened years back. Haa, perhaps the next "scandal" of a similar nature will involve a prominent local celebrity? That, I suppose, will cause an even bigger stir.

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