Are Alvivi really guilty of racism/religious bigotry or are they victims of sensationalism?
If you’re a Malaysian, you might have come across the brouhaha on social media involving a picture of a couple posing with a bowl of bak kut teh involving the self-proclaimed Malaysian porn stars, Alvivi (short for their names, Alvin and Vivian). To those unfamiliar to their names, Alvin Tan studied at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Faculty of Law, under the ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship. He met his partner-in-crime, Vivian Lee, a Multimedia University (MMU) graduate via Facebook.
They are joint owners of a blog named “Sumptuous Erotica”, where they post video clips and pictures of their sex acts and made public. The sex videos on their blog went viral. It started with 1,000 page views per day, and mere days later it skyrocketed to about 20,000 views per day (and no, I am not one of them).
It sparked a controversy and, Alvin landed himself into hot (not bak kut teh) soup. He was forced to take down the blog, and the NUS Board of Discipline (BOD) brought the case into investigation. The Singapore’s Straits Times reported that the National University of Singapore (NUS) had terminated Alvin Tan’s scholarship. Alvin, however, was not expelled from the university.
So, the bak kut teh picture it has caused a huge stir among Muslims in Malaysian cyberspace, as seen on Facebook and Twitter. The picture is, without a shadow of doubt, a foolish and insensitive act. But in the eyes of many Malay-Muslims in cyberspace, they see the picture as an insult to Islam and its people.
What do I see? I see a couple who crave attention. I see a couple who feed on both compliments and insults to their postings on social media. I see a couple who cannot move on with their lives without telling the world that they have sexual intercourse as often as we change clothes. I see a couple who submit to the number of ‘likes’, ‘retweets’ and ‘shares’ they gain on social media. I see a couple who post stuff on social media without carefully evaluating the consequences of their actions and the response they would chalk up from a particular group of people. You get the point.
I’m sure we have all had our share of people posting and doing bizarre things on social media. How often have we seen friends/strangers sharing things like, the ‘with every like/share this picture gets, we will donate $1 to this child’, or ‘help this dog by sharing this picture’? Don’t even get me started on the racist and ridiculous remarks people spew on social media.
Who don’t I see? I don’t see a couple who hates Muslims or the Malays. I don’t see two racists, or two Malaysians who encourage their people to unite against a particular race — which begs the question, where were these people when Zulkifli Nordin publicly insulted Hinduism without any sign of remorse? Where were these people when Ibrahim Ali publicly asked for the burning of bibles? Where were these people when the infamous blogger Papagomo called on the Malays to unite and slaughter the Chinese ingrates after the Barisan Nasional coalition lost a significant amount of Chinese votes? I thank the heavens we have heard the end of Papagomo, at least for the time being. I pray every day he doesn’t pull off a Scholes-esque return to the Malaysian blogosphere.
In short, I do not think Alvivi is a racist couple, but a couple that unintentionally caused a huge controversy because of their obsession with attention on social media. Why else would anyone create a blog with sex videos of themselves for public consumption, or a picture of themselves wishing the Muslims “Selamat Berbuka Puasa” with a bowl of bak kut teh in the picture?
Oh my god not even being sarcastic, but I think Alvivi (Alvin and Vivian) may just be my favorite bloggers ever
— Toh D-jin ? SW?G (@thed_jin) July 12, 2013
Well they might be sorry, but I know they’re grinning from ear to ear. Because this foolish publicity stunt (or joke gone wrong, whichever you prefer) has got them thousands of ‘likes’, ‘comments’, and ‘shares’, which is exactly what they wanted in the first place. This picture would probably be a close second on their list of achievements, just behind their sex blog. They might have made fans; they might have made enemies; in the end it doesn’t matter. They got exactly what they wanted – the spotlight.
So unless you have dumasaphobia (the fear of stupid people), I do not see the need for you to send death threats to them.
“Offense is never given, it is only ever taken.”