While most Malaysians are still ecstatic over our national athletes, Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong, receiving a silver medal for the 10 metre Platform Synchronised Diving performance at the 2016 Rio Olympic games recently, another issue rose up on social media regarding a simple act done by Pandelela.
A photo had been uploaded online recently of Pandelela seemingly doing a small hand gesture for the cameras whilst she was about to receive her medal. Even the athlete herself uploaded it to her own official Facebook page where she paired it with a caption of “It’s a silver!”, showing her excitement over being able to make her country proud.
Next, apparently, claims have been floating about that netizens found her gesture offensive, interpreting it as a ‘money’ hand gesture, and were criticising her harshly.
As a rational, intelligent Malaysian, I’m sure you’re already outraged at the lack of respect and understanding shown to our hardworking athletes.
However, I took to researching on the web for these alleged accusations tearing her down for doing a ‘money’ sign and all I found were these 3 in total.
And lastly this, to which Pandelela herself replied:
I’m unsure if I’m interpreting it differently, but I don’t see much malice behind these words or any of them truly condemning Pandelela for her action. They merely assumed it was a different gesture and not the one she actually meant. In fact, Pandelela herself does not seem to be affected by the tweet as she is happy to clarify her true intentions.
True, you may say I didn’t delve into the social media realm enough to see those unsatisfied comments but if it was such a big deal as claimed, I shouldn’t even need to look around that hard as it would have been everywhere the second I typed it.
Just to clarify, the gesture she was doing is actually very common in Korea, where it is meant to represent a heart and had been popularised through a Korean variety show called Running Man. The gesture is commonly used to express fond affection and love, which explains why Pandelela was doing it to her fans waving at her gleefully.
Many have taken to responding with that explanation on Facebook:
Whilst there were also others who said even if she was doing a ‘money’ sign, she deserves to since it is her own hard work and determination that got her so far.
Even the comments left on the post on Pandelela’s official Facebook page was full of congratulations and compliments to the diving pair for their superb win and there was not a single mention of the ‘money’ sign that could be seen.
So this brings in the real question, was it really necessary to make a mountain out of a molehill? Why do we choose to amplify the minority instead of focusing on the majority?
There were less than 10 so-called ‘negative’ comments found about Pandelela’s hand gesture, but there were over 5000+ positive comments congratulating the duo for making Malaysia proud by winning our country’s first medal for this year’s Olympic games so far.
If this continues, this will provide a bad impression of Malaysians in the sense of portraying us a petty community who nitpicks every time at menial things and purposely turns a blind eye to real achievements.
It’s times like these where our national athletes depend on fellow citizens to support and cheer them on while they work hard to uphold our country’s name and do their best, not create a big fuss over 1-2 people who may be purposely finding reason to start a storm.
The next time you come across a post accusing someone of an act they didn’t commit and you feel the need to defend them, sit back and do a quick research on whether these allegations are even valid. Because sometimes rumours are just that and should never spread around as a credible source.
Feature Image Credit: Pandelela Rinong Facebook Page