#TeamShaarin - Malaysians' fight against Ridhuan Tee
Zan Azlee roots for #TeamShaarin on Twitter.
Social media is a great tool for disseminating information. It can be good for news organisations and definitely good for the common man.
It gives a voice to people who don’t normally have a voice. But it depends what that voice is saying. It has to be saying things of substance for people to hear.
With all the clutter of information in the New Media world, things can get lost if it isn’t interesting. The power of the people determines what rises online.
So it makes me so happy to see that the normal voice of the people managed to rise above everything recently on Twitter.
Infamous for spewing seemingly racist comments, Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, a columnist and university lecturer, recently got attacked on Twitter for all the nonsense that he writes about.
A television producer and friend of mine, Sha’arin Razali Wong, via Twitter, told Tee to keep quiet if he didn’t have anything intelligent to say.
A series of tweet exchanges went on between the two of them and let’s just say that Tee turned out to be very crude in his responses.
As we all know, Tee doesn’t have many fans out there, and especially not in the more open-minded New Media world where people are more progressive.
Other people started tweeting against Tee and in support for Sha’arin. In fact, a hash tag was created that started trending - #TeamShaarin.
At the end of it all, Tee, whose responses were mainly calls for Sha’arin to come and meet him personally so he can ‘teach’ him, just decided to keep quiet.
Tee has a large mainstream avenue to voice his opinions as he has columns in several national newspapers that have large readerships.
So to me, I see the #TeamShaarin fiasco as a victory for the people. Ordinary people rallied together and managed to silence something they didn’t like.
It might be a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Tee now knows (well, I’m sure he has known all along) that Malaysians are not with him.
Now, Sha’arin is a friend of mine and I know where his anger and annoyance towards Tee is coming from. His father, like Tee, is a Malaysian-Chinese-Muslim convert.
His father is a practicing Muslim and faithful Malaysian. Never would he spew out comments that call for racial disunity and religious elitism.
So, for Sha’arin, it is personal. And guess what? I come from a multi-racial and multi-religious family too. So it is personal for me too.
And Malaysia, being a country that has been multi-racial and multi-religious for so long, it is filled with Malaysians who come from multi-racial and multi-religious families too.
In fact, even for many Malaysians who aren’t from families like us, they have the same belief as we do, and that is to have a harmonious Malaysia.
So Tee can continue to spew his hate speech for now if he still wants to. I’m sure that the people of Malaysia will slowly make him realise that there is no space for him very soon.