Singapore — At least one person in Singapore is tired of influencer Wendy Cheng, aka Xiaxue’s antics and her misrepresentation of cancel culture.
“Ugh. Stop it already with ‘cancel culture’,” wrote playwright Alfian Sa’at, and proceeded to set Ms Cheng straight without actually naming her in a much-shared Facebook post.
Ms Cheng has been in the news lately due to an Instagram Story during the recent campaign wherein she came after the Workers’ Party’s Raeesah Khan, now MP-elect of Sengkang GRC.
The influencer seemed to revel in the fact that Ms Khan was under investigation by the police and wrote, “Stop fielding radical feminists/leftist as candidates ffs we don’t need their poison infecting our politics.”
This caused a backlash against her, with netizens calling for a boycott of Ms Cheng and asking brands to drop her as endorser. A petition entitled “Punish XiaXue for seditious content,” was also published on change.org, with over 27,00 signatories. Ms Cheng’s woes did not end there, as recently the influencer was dropped as a host by production house Clicknetwork TV for an upcoming show.
She then took to Instagram to upload a video talking about the “cancel culture” that’s coming to Singapore’s shores and why it’s so “dire.” She described cancel culture as being about “a select group of people who are actively obsessed with causing harm.” She also claims that the brands she works with can’t ignore the “harassment they’ve been constantly receiving… so they have to do what the woke mob dictates.”
Mr Sa’at, who on Wednesday wondered publicly, “This Xiaxue person, what is she actually?” took to Facebook again to offer up some lessons to Ms Cheng.
Ugh. Stop it already with 'cancel culture'. It's just a backlash and a boycott. Don't make it sound bigger than it is….
He wrote, “All it means is that consumers have decided that your personal ‘brand’ is no longer just about being ‘edgy’ or ‘unfiltered’ but is polluting and harmful.
You’re trying to make a distinction between a boycott, which you claim is a passive act (people just don’t buy) and ‘cancelling’, which is, by your definition, something active (people write in to companies to scold and threaten them for endorsing or partnering with you).”
But your definition of ‘cancelling’ is how boycotts work. People are mobilised. They not only boycott, but provide the reasons why they are doing so.”
The playwright provided the example of US football player Colin Kaepernick, who became famous for kneeling when the national anthem was played as a personal protest against police brutality and racial inequality. Mr Kaepernick was one of sportswear giant Nike’s endorsers, and the company continued to support him.
People complained to Nike and went to the extent of burning Nike products, and the company’s stock took a hit. The US’ National Football League, in contrast, did not support the athlete.
Mr Sa’at explained, “The NFL decided to ‘cancel’ Kaepernick by freezing him out from their games because they probably calculated that their brand represented ‘patriotism’ or ‘loyalty’.
On the other hand, Nike stood by Kaepernick because they felt that they wanted their brand to be associated with ‘social justice’ or ‘individual courage’.”
He added that even if brands “receive tons of what you call ‘harassment’ from the public” if they perceive that an endorser or partner is aligned with the brand, they’ll continue to show support, which he pointed out, is the case with Ms Cheng.