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SMRT Ltd (Feedback) And The Great Teh Tarik Expose

This article originally appeared on Vulcan Post.

We’ve all grown familiar — and familial — with Ahmad, Lup Cheong, Muthu and Pereira, as well as their regular lepak place — the SMRT Ltd (Feedback) page. It was all laughs when various commuters mistook them for an actual complaint platform and got shot back with a sassy answer. It was sweet revenge (and maybe a little bit too much) when they exposed  the fraud that was Jover Chew, and other racist and bigoted individuals. It was all popcorn and excitement when they engaged blogger Xiaxue in a heated back-and-forth. It was social justice, with a good dash of troll.

In terms of the people’s support, SMRT Ltd (Feedback) had it all. Everything they said or did was lapped up immediately. And it’s funny that they did all of this using only Facebook and Twitter. For the longest time, they did this all anonymously — social media win, or what?

That is, until yesterday, when an Azly J. Noor made perhaps the most important announcement on his personal page detailing that he was formerly part of the fiercely anonymous Facebook page.

Trolling at its best.
Trolling at its best.

He highlights the glory days — he was responsible for that hugely popular kueh joke and the best snarky retorts to boh liao complainants — and also shared how SMRT Ltd (Feedback) was formed. Azly says on his Facebook note, I was known as the “Customer Service Guy” in the group. If you had message (sic) SMRT Feedback between December 2011 and June 2012, and you’ve received some smartass remark, that was probably me.

#neverforget
#neverforget

He also shares how SMRT Ltd (Feedback) functions behind the scenes — there would be the Administrator, the guy/lady who started the page and the Editor, a role taken on by multiple individuals to do the postings.

“The Editor account is shared amongst other people including myself. I’m not entirely sure how many are there but the structure was simple enough to have a fallback contingency. The rule of our wolf pack was that anonymity has to be maintained; there should be no political discussions whatsoever, and that any disclosure as to who’s behind the page has to be from a personal angle instead of a group. (Eg. I am the page admin as opposed to several people are the page admins.) This was to ensure personal responsibility in the event the page have run-ins (sic) with the law. Let’s face it. Nobody is going to go to jail for you. If one gets caught, he faces the penalties whilst the Facebook page remains in it’s entirety.”

The old guards had left.
The old guards have left.

Making this confession a night before Nomination Day, Azly also had something to push forward: The Teh Tarik Party.

Going above and beyond the role of a troll, the party manifesto seems well thought-out and put together, bringing up some pretty solid points such as the recognition of single-parent families, the removal of racial categories in national identification documents except for birth certificates (about time), anti-discrimination laws, and more. There are some bold policies in there as well, including the abolishment of Junior Colleges, Polytechnics, Lasalle and NAFA — this would not sit well with some, but read on and you’ll see what he has in mind to replace the current education experience in Singapore.

Azly states, “I may or may not run for elections, but the manifesto is there for everyone to figure out where their vote goes to.” Indeed it is.

Image Credit: SMRT (Ltd) Feedback
Image Credit: SMRT Ltd (Feedback)

Long gone is Azly’s brand of dry wit and humour from SMRT Ltd (Feedback), and browsing through the Facebook page, you’ll notice that the new administrator’s voice is distinctively different from the old guard’s. But Azly maintains that SMRT Ltd (Feedback) will and has continued from his time, and will maintain its anonymity for many versions to come.

The SMRT Ltd (Feedback) brand of humour was a middle finger to the infamous Singaporean one (that is, no sense of humour) and other Singaporean things that frustrated us, made us talk and felt strongly about. For a society known to be emotionless and apathetic, I can truly say that SMRT Ltd (Feedback) was successful in combatting that stereotype. We wish Azly J. Noor all the best, and thanks for the memories.

 

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