Do you notice what independent bloggers have in common?
That’s what we call “independent”
Firstly, they are expressive. They naturally feel and speak stronger than average people. Think actors and actresses who usually have big eyes to express their emotions clearly on big or small screens.
Independent bloggers are also more suggestive and opinionated. You can’t be a thought leader if you are often sitting on the fence and seldom take side. If you explain or conclude every issue with “maybe” and “also can”, you are sharing nothing with your followers except to frustrate them.
If the concern is not to upset the readers, the advertisers, the editor or the government, the write-up is at most an article or an advertorial in the newspaper or a news portal, not an independent blog post.
In fact, independent bloggers don’t care much about what others think. Because they don’t have to answer to sponsors and shareholders in order to keep their job or make ends meet. They don’t have to look for acceptance, approval and recognition like young children.
Since they don’t bother what others think, they say what they really mean. If people don’t like any post, they can choose not to read. If people don’t like the blog, they don’t have to follow.
If you don’t like me, it is your problem, not mine.
Dealing with negative comments
Under the protection of anonymity in social media, every blogger has the experience of receiving negative or nasty comments from strangers. There is no exception for me though they are rare.
I have never felt offended about bad comments. They don’t bother me at all.
I can be upset when irrational or unprofessional people create inconveniences to me. I can be mad if my kids are very naughty. But how can I be angry with someone I barely know whose comment doesn’t even cause me a dime?
WordPress automatically spams blog comments with bad words. I also specify “strictly no sales pitch, spam or vulgarity” on the “About Me” page. If I read any inappropriate comment or email, I simply delete it.
You don’t see SPH putting up any article or advertisement that criticize the media company. I don’t even get any advertising dollar. Content in my blog is like furniture in my house. I can decide what to display.
When surfing the net, I have never left any nasty or emotional comments online. Not because I am completely happy with what I read. But I don’t feel it necessary to roll up my sleeves.
If I think the article is biased, I don’t waste time reading it. If I don’t agree with the author, it is fine because everyone has different views. If the author’s views are ridiculous, I just have a laugh.
Yes, property scams and industry malpractices are very unfair to buyers footing the bill. Knowing the truth can be disturbing. But it is not to the extent of driving me nuts.
I used to think that nasty comments are from pessimists or radicals who need to find a channel to release their frustrations under the anonymity of the internet.
But I just learned something new yesterday.
You are dashing their only hope
I have a good catch up with my twin sister while in Hong Kong this week. As a well-known clinical psychologist, her mobile phone rings every moment there is a suicide, homicide, scam or social issue reporting by the media in the SAR.
A journalist will briefly tell her the tragedy or incident. She has to reply immediately with possible causes, social implications and recommendations.
One of the hottest topic in town is the London Gold scam: Young and pretty girls posed as successful traders online to lure guys into trading gold in the London market, hinting to develop a romantic relationship with them.
You already know the patterns of these scams – high risk high return; initial gains followed by big losses, more money required to recoup losses, etc.
In July, the police broke a London Gold syndicate that cheated 33 men of HK$19 million (S$3.3 million). A total of HK$37 million (S$6.5 million) in bank accounts were frozen by the police.
Recently, the police raided another syndicate that sold London Gold investment plans costing HK$1 million (S$180,000) to H$10 million (S$1.8 million). Victims were from Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.
My sister told me her latest appearance on TV is a documentary about online dating scams.
I told her that the victims in Singapore are mostly women. Last year, internet love scam victims in Singapore lost a total of $37 million, with one being duped almost $6 million. Cases increased 30 percent from 635 in 2016 to 825 in 2017. Now bank tellers and counter staff in money exchange are taught to spot suspicious money transfers.
Believing their lovers are real, victims will argue with the staff and refuse to cooperate with the police.
I have the same doubt as many who read such news: The victims are adults, not teenagers. Many are highly educated. They can be professionals with high paying jobs. Why are they so naïve to believe that there is true love from strangers they met online?
“Do you think all the victims don’t know the whole thing may be a lie? Do you think they have never once doubt their lover is only after them for money?”
My sister explained, “They just choose not to believe in the truth. For so long they have been waiting for true love and finally the closet thing has arrived. Their everyday fantasy and lifetime dream finally come true. If they wake up to the reality, they lose even the slimmest hope of having what they always want. That is why they have to do everything to defend it.”
“Do you think the victims will thank the staff at the bank or money exchange who pull them out of the scam? Many even said they hate the person for foiling the plot. By exposing the truth, these busybodies are mercilessly dashing their hope of finding true love.”
Another blog post to dash a property dream
As a woman who has been married for long, I could hardly put myself in the shoes of women who rather lose their entire fortune to love scammers than to face the truth.
As a property investor who has never purchased an overpriced property in a hot market or invested in a high risk high return scheme, I could hardly put myself in the shoes of victims who readily hand over their hard-earned savings to unscrupulous market players without questioning or doing any research.
Now I understand why every time when I write about housing affordability or 3-3-5 rule; when is the next market crash; tough times ahead for Iskandar; buying condos in Bangkok or stay clear of crowdfunding, it will upset some people.
People like to listen to what they want to hear, not what the truth is.
For those who think I am wrong, they won’t be bothered at all.
For those who disagree, they say what they don’t agree in a rational way.
For those who market properties or property-related products for a living, they hate a voice different from advertorials.
For those who just bought and read my posts afterwards, they feel uneasy.
For those who have bought but not 100 percent sure they are right, they leave nasty comments.
Imagine they finally live the Singapore dream to upgrade from an HDB flat to a private home. They finally save enough money to buy an investment property for passive income. They just fulfill their dream of owning a foreign property …
But I published a post that dashed their property dreams and fantasies, mercilessly.
It is a big blow to their self-esteem to admit that they have made the wrong decision. They have no choice but to convince themselves that they have bought the right thing. They have to defend themselves by all means.
But how does it matter? If it is a perfect market where all buyers and sellers are rational, or have access to and believe in perfect information, how can we find fire sales, value buys and good deals later?
If one day I remind myself to be sensitive not to hurt the feelings of any fragile soul, you are no longer reading the posts from an independent blogger. I will turn out to be one of those fortune tellers – who don’t worry about what to say, but are cautious of what not to say.