Is STOMP a platform to allow the freedom of speech or has it become a tool for some to shame other members of the public who have offended them? Should we stamp down on STOMP?
A recent petition was raised to shut down STOMP as a number of postings were found to be fabricated and sensationalized. These fake stories have in many ways contributed to the detriment of the image of Singaporeans. STOMP also allows cyber-bullying to take place by allowing blatant pictures of clear faces to be posted. Cyber-bullies abuse this opportunity by taking pictures of anyone whom they feel they want to ridicule and thereafter fabricate stories to go along with the pictures which are often edited to omit details of justification. The existence of STOMP means privacy may be intruded at any time. In the past, one can simply take a harmless nap on the MRT. But now you will be taking a huge gamble just by taking that short snooze because lo and behold, someone who is elderly or heavily pregnant happens to be standing in front of you at that point in time and a STOMPer is near at hand. It is very easy to convince people to believe that the one sleeping is just feigning a nap. How often will one stop to ponder further that the unfortunate soul may really be feeling tired after a full day’s laborious work, or that he or she may not be feeling well? We are often too quick to judge but we need to be reminded or sometimes even coaxed to look at the situation from a more positive angle. A disturbing fact is that STOMP does not bother to blur the faces on the posts or filter comments which constitutes to name-calling or cyber-bullying.
There are definitely other citizens who believe that STOMP promotes unity among Singaporeans by being the “voice of Singapore”. STOMP provides an opportunity for many to voice out their different perspective of the same situation, allowing other bloggers and media to get a better understanding of what people want to read about. This, of course helps one to keep up with the times and follow closely to what is trending. Some even have a warped belief that, with the existence of STOMP, members of the public will be coerced to be at their best behaviour.
Should we not be educated to do good than to avoid doing something wrong just because we fear being STOMPed? Let us all strive to remember that “dirty laundry” belong in the laundry basket and not on the internet. And herein lies the argument. STOMP is but one of the many platforms that allow dirty laundry to be aired. There are YouTube, facebook, twitter and instagram to name just a few. So even without STOMP, people will find ways to post voyeuristic contents. It is then up to STOMP to manage and administer its contents better. Faces should be blurred and extra efforts should be taken to determine the veracity of the posts, and they should be quick to edit or remove any offending contents. Let there be STOMP. But it must be moderated and modulated more sensibly and responsibly.