[That’s me beside Norika. I have to be black by no choice, cos I have no White pants, so… Don’t I look like one of those students in “Slam Dunks”, the comic series? This also happens to be one of my favorite.]
It is unfortunate to learn the death of a rising star, whom I don’t really know, anyway. May she rests in peace. But something I find hilarious from the papers I read today is a funny issue yielding a Taiwanese lawyer’s remark.
Well, many of us can’t really understand how excited Chinese could be of their idols, but this case does yield a clue. The discussion here is on a case concerning a deceased Star and a public furor due to a rather caustic remark by a blogger towards the late Star.
The blogger left something as such to describe the late Star: …she was just a bitch who switched various men… (simply indicating a slut for the matter)
Alright, small matter… one would probably claim. In fact, you will see such comments almost everywhere in cyberspace across various forums and blogs (eg) on Bush, on Saddame Hussein, on Mahathir, on some big fu[k superstars, and even on Bill Gates or Enron or what the heck you can imagine. Just check the word ‘Bitch’ or ‘sluts’ via some search engines, and it may not be hard to find out how common this is.
Well, just look at what those emotional supporters of this belated Star did to this blogger, who happened to be just an employee in a hotel: They reportedly shot abuses at her in her blog (and bringing up her hit counts, I suppose); then there were threats threatening the life of this she-blogger; Those jokers also disturbed the hotel she worked for by conjesting the phone lines.
Nevertheless, the blogger has apologised, obviously to calm down sentiment, and apparently being ironical in her stance. I wonder what Xiaxue would do if such attention just pour into her blog, sending hits to all time high… She could be screaming with amusement~
But here, if that had been so normal, it won’t worth a discussion about this case. According to Singapore’s evening Chinese papers, a Taiwanese lawyer claimed that there would be legal implications such as ‘humiliation’ and more drastic offences in this case.
He probably was referring to libel. Which is the point of interest.
First of all, this case was in Taiwan, and we consider the players were operating within the legal framework of China. Hence, no foreigners in foreign lands were implicated.
[Here, I am trying to protray an ah-peh (old man) image to contrast stylish Norkia as a Couple. Not too bad. Observe the wording design. In this phase, “Scope” is not just a Plump Style typo.]
Libel She Blog-ed: The Curse on the Dead.
We all know Libel is tort, we see damnum and injuria whenever we handle such cases. In a way, defamation cases are probably the most… rigid or established plays in the whole syllabus of Tort talk. Since no foreigners are involved, there is no United Nation Charter to talk about here, which makes things easier.
Actually, I also cannot establish whether the late Star had any legal right to start with. Damnum sine injuria as such, what kind of case has this Taiwanese lawyer in mind if he was referring to the deceased and the blogger.
Obviously, the mens rea behind this case is probably one of the most… hilarious in the profession. This woman openly suggested through her blog that ‘XXX late star was such a bitch sleeping with various men…’ reportedly because she felt so sorry for her own idol who was the supposedly boy boy of this deceased.
As I have mentioned, sentiment rules… even over that of any proper legal thoughts in China. And she got flushed down by hordes… and as a normal oriental chinese would be, she was not celebrating her moment of fame or hit counts rush. Instead of blowing the matter further, she relented.
So here is the first problem, by western standards, even there is a ‘humiliation’ in the first place, but doesn’t mean injuria is necessarily established. Afterall, it is mostly inactionable even if the Star was alive, not to say she had already rested in peace.
While the deceased won’t be able to suggest damages and act, her kins could. The manager won’t possibly have any power of attorney from the Star as death claimed all. So the only way this blogger can be sued by the manager is when the kins have any relevant contract in power with the manager with regards to any remaining interests (such as related sovenirs and other commercial products due to such event).
In any case, the Star had not attained such status affecting national interest, so China or Taiwan won’t represent her in court.
[The infamous “Love With Superstar” series have Hikaruko falling in love with an office nobody. In such dresscode with a tie, it makes a difference between looking like a CEO and an innocent office boy depending on how you ‘perform’. As usual, that’s Scope behind Norika.]
Pitfalls in this Case.
Like it or not, the offending comment is referring to a Star. Whether even an innuendo does exist, there is a need to establish a stance, or privilege, because what the ‘defendent’ in this case had done was normal in the nature of the course of such entertainment business– with the relationship between Stars and viewers in concern.
Where in the heck would any public figure be expected to only receive praises and sweet statements and no disgusts or dislikes, and statements of such unfavorable nature? Remember, this world is never perfect.
In reality, and in rational understanding, public comments for such Stars can be in either, or any, directions, from all corners. It is a trade for such attention and gossips, of favorable perception to them or otherwise. It is some kind of unstated privilege to the public in this relationship for them regarding Stars plus the various news (news which are true and untrue for whatever purposes) available.
The business of a Star is not a necessary accurate protraying of oneself in any marketing efforts, even via playing roles in various movies and reports. Which implies not necessarily must there even be accurate perception be formulated by the public on the Stars, which is the whole idea of the entertainment circles: To create the perfect image to the public in an imperfect world!
In this profession, images created are not necessarily accurate, hence reactions from public is rationally differing. For instance, a Star is known to be a womaniser in X country but his movie which he acted a superhero made good impact on people in Y country, there will hence be inconsistencies in such images, and thus reactions. Subsequently in this example, the Star could act as some super villain, and some people would like him or otherwise due to various personalities at work stimulated by various publicity of the Star.
In certain professions, such as that of governmental figures vs citizens, such privilege of the citizens “to make noises” are often observed. This is all but normal course of business.
Indeed, the woman has made rather caustic remarks against the deceased, but she is just part of the normal course of business.
[This bedroom scene was an experiement on some editing effects… which is not very well done. I know. As one can see, it’s just a learning process.]
Suing a Legally Weak Entity: Blog.
There are governments who are getting worried of bloggers, and online activities. Normal.
As the world embraces IT advances, internet has become some sort of telephones and meeting places where various preaches, organized movements and calls are made. And in states where elections are fixed at regular intervals, internet gradually makes an increasingly harder impact on election outcomes. You may not see groups of five on streets, but you could end up seeing hundreds and thousands and millions of protests left in the cyberspace…
Yet, can we take a Blog seriously? If anyone wants to sue a blogger for the contents on blog, then any blog that has ‘This blog serves as a contract for X to transact $999m to Y ‘ should be taken as legally binding. Suppose that Mr X really has agreed verbally to make such transactions, can a blog perform as a legally binding contract/medium?
Y could end up suing X for misrepresentation or something.
Res ipsa loquitur, how can a blog be any legal binding in the first place? If you put up a corporate announcement on mainstream media, you can consider it Official. If you put up a Microsoft’s announcement that it has $1,000,000 with Scope… It is a joke, but of course!
This, however, has an exception in issues concerning national interests (aka politics). So in Singapore, you have bloggers sued for sedition. But I am rather blurred when a Mr Philip Yeo threatened to sue a Blogger over something else.
They are many of the ‘before era’ who see blogs as… well, just another media, as if they are run by professional editors necessarily observing professional code of conducts when bloggers rant in blogs. Government folks aside, many IT-unsavvy and probably lesser educated folks in the Chinese entertainment circles do take such stances on blogs as the government people do… as if they are government folks, to be exact.
In the discussion so far, it is thus amazing that the Taiwanese lawyer expressed ‘any legal concerns’ over such blog contents by a woman who obviously was not even a reporter in practice. And what she did was to KPO (Singlish=> Busybody) in such entertainment news and happenings.
Yes. The exact point of concern is that it is a lawyer who made such a claim. And it has to be a Taiwan event. We all know Taiwan’s ‘democracy’ is enjoying USA’s military protection, while China is the state with strict media controls under a varied system of law and legal workings.
And this post literally expressed the bewilderment of legal workings in Taiwan made possible by the Taiwanese lawyer as well.
[Orignally, this is intended to protray some gangster boss image. But somehow, girls like this type of impression… Beats me. I would have added ‘The King’ into the picture had I not been too tired and rushing. I reckon the result looks… professional enough perhaps even for Times Magazine. Hehe… It’s fun, no doubt.]
What will likely happen if this case happened in Singapore?
Those harrassing and threatening the woman will be indeed legally liable, no matter if the case happened in Singapore or Taiwan. But there will be a point in content because vulgarity is used.
But going by normal logic in claims for damages, which includes the future value of such reputation in concern… it is hardly possible to compute one for the late Star.
So this became a matter of “should or shouldn’t”. While you shouldn’t fire abuses on someone else to make a point, there is nothing to stop one from calling a womaniser a wolf, a cheat a skunk, or a slut a bitch if and only if the person really holds such opinions.
That is, if you don’t support more armies to be sent to Iraq, I can’t sue you for (eg) being infidel… and you must support, die die must support.
There is no such automatic implying that vulgaities always imply malice, or anything malum in se. When millions of mainland Chinese called Japanese names in mockery, those ain’t malice, but nationalism in play.
If this case had happened in Singapore, I really doubt there would be such commotion. It hence shows the differences between China and the outside world. But if such case were to happen in middle east concerning religion… there will certainly be commotion, and the impact will be much more bigger.
There are a lot of assumptions in this discussion, and we can only do so in our limited understanding of Taiwan. Hopefully, he has some elaborations on his ideas on the issue in some online resources that we can obtain to find out more.