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What Happens When Shitposters Come Together?

What Happens When Shitposters Come Together?

  • Culture
  • Opinion
Singapore Shitposting Constituency (SSC) is one of the most unapologetically unique Facebook meme pages that you will come across today.

In today’s online landscape, you have your trolls, whose sole purpose of lurking on the Internet seems to be wanting to cause havoc. And then there are the Peter Tans, who specialise in the off-tangent artform of non sequiturs. At the same time, we also have shitposters, who make up the bulk of the members in SSC.

For the uninitiated, Shitposting is basically a form of online content that is usually done badly on purpose for comedic effect. It is not constructive or informative to discussions in any way, and can be simply a red herring, used to throw people off the main point.

The objective? Anarchy.

However, this isn’t the only thing that SSC members set out to do.

What caught my eye immediately was an onslaught of memes that ranged from ridiculously silly to politically-driven and utterly inane.

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SSC members poke fun at the uptight nature of the PC people who would normally pick a bone with them for posting such comments on a public forum. This page gives them an outlet to express their satire freely without worrying that it would offend the general population.

There is a reason why SSC is a closed group. It’s a place where the people in it are given a chance to thrive in a safe environment. This way, people on the outside get to live their cookie-cutter lives without provocation from these mischief-makers, almost like an institutionalised gated community, or a prison.

If that were the case, then that would make members of the SSC prisoners, and SSC the Australia of the Internet. It is clear that they are indeed thriving in the little paradise that they have carved for themselves, having created a community which for most of them, is as comfortable as home.

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A typical SSC post can involve any topic under the sun, ranging from a discussion between members about the dilution of culture in Geylang Serai to poking fun at the performers at NDP.

That said, while most of the posts are often without malice, I note that there is an overwhelming number of posts about Kurt Tay, someone who I’ve written a profile on recently, and most of them seem to have been made at the expense of him.

“Jacky Ong”, a fake profile created by one of the members of SSC, torments Kurt daily on social media, taking pleasure in getting a rise out of him and even going as far as challenging Kurt to a fight at the void deck of his HDB. He then posts whatever reaction he gets from Kurt on the SSC pages.

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When I reach out to the admin of SSC, he tells me that anyone and anything is game so long as posts and comments between users remain civil.

“I like to leave the discussion to them, as long as there are no personal attacks or if they incite violence or harassment.”

Xavier Lai, an active contributor on the page, thinks that these members do take it too far at times.

“There is definitely a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Some people create accounts to jio Kurt to fights and it really disrupts his life.”

Like Jacky Ong, Xavier Lai also has multiple accounts that he created with the sole purpose of commenting on the posts.

Some of his pseudonyms include “Ivy Ang Soon Tung” and “Karthik Parvanakan”, which he uses to orchestrate conversations between other group members, and sometimes, between his accounts.

Referencing a post where Jacky Ong issued a public challenge to fight Kurt Tay, Xavier tells me how he fanned the flames on both sides in order to create a buzz around the fracas.

“Depending on the personality of the characters that I’ve created, I would slander (Kurt) and some to support him, depending on the personalities of the characters that I’ve created.”

When I ask why he would bother going through all this trouble, he simply says that he enjoys the attention.

“Some of the posts from different accounts do quite well, and garner an average of 5-6 reactions, so I’d say it’s quite successful.”

However, not all members choose to hide behind fake names or characters.

Yusri “Shaggy” Sapari is a 29 year-old documentary film producer who spends a good amount of time each day browsing SSC.

“I have a rule about my online persona. If I don’t have the balls to say something and be accountable for it, I better not say.”

Prior to the existence of SSC, Yusri was still an exponent of shitposting, albeit on a smaller scale. He tells me about how he had to learn to restrain himself from giving his two cents on hot-button issues, and carve an opinion that would be more palatable to his friends.

But he could not stand doing what he saw as insincere.

“Most of the time, people wanna maintain their curated online images and they didn’t appreciate me breaking the illusion they wanna put up for their “audiences”,” Yusri said, with regards to his unfiltered comments on his friends’ posts.

This has led to the usually opinionated Yusri losing a fair number of Facebook friends.

“I used to feel sad about it but these days I laugh it off. The world is getting more polarising and if people just wanna keep to their little safe spaces, so be it.”

For Yusri, SSC is a haven.

“I check the page every time I open Facebook. I guess I have an obsessive personality,” he tells me.

“We PM each other a lot on chat groups outside of Facebook as well.”

Discord, a voice chat application that can host big groups of people, is their platform of choice. In fact, when I checked out their Discord channel at 3am on Sunday morning, there were still 30 members chatting online.

“I love speaking with people who are able to have honest and sincere conversations, especially about difficult topics,” Yusri added.

The chat was also used to host their very first podcast where they discussed the NDP on National Day. For a page that is not moderated heavily, SSC’s admin admits that the social aspect has taken him by surprise.

“I did not expect it to blossom like this. It only started out as a place to discuss anything and for people to submit memes,” the admin says.

Of course, with such a strong following, and with members identifying so strongly with the page, there is bound to be an element of exclusivity, or what some might call snobbery.

Members often poke fun at the general public who they presume to be “Mainstream-loving” and “SGAG reading” people. Or “Normies”, as they would call them.

When Yusri shares what he thinks the fundamental problem with “Normies” are, I find myself agreeing.

“Singaporeans in general take themselves too seriously and treat every word and action like the biggest risk in their lives. We are so risk-averse that we fear even expressing ourselves by laughing loudly in public or talking to strangers.”

“Sometimes we just have to be honest and laugh at ourselves.”

In my experience at least, those who are fond of making self-deprecating jokes are often the people who show the greatest emotional resilience. After all, rubbing salt into an open wound is sometimes the best way for it to heal.

People need to realise that SSC members aren’t your everyday trolls. They are not vying for the attention of the average Singaporean citizen. Instead, it is the attention and accreditation from their fellow shitposters with whom they share similar opinions and comedic sensibilities that they desire the most.

While I might not subscribe fully into SSC’s brand of humour, I can only hope that I will one day find and assimilate myself into a group of like-minded individuals just as Xavier and Yusri have done so with SSC.

What are your thoughts on Shitposting? Is it plain stupid or is it the humour on the next level? Tell us at community@ricemedia.co

Author

Shaun Tan Staff writer