I had not really followed the happenings between Xiaxue (who is Wendy Cheng in real life) and Dawn Yang, but I did read a little about what happened. Apparently, Wendy had defamed Dawn in one of her many people-offending posts (perhaps she believes in being straight forward), which allegedly called bluffs on some of Dawn’s claims on the people she knew, amongst many other things. It was believed that there were also personal attacks on Dawn.

Striking back, Dawn engaged lawyers from Khattar Wong and filed a defamation suit against Wendy, demanding a public apology and a settlement of sorts. Wendy in return has hired her own lawyers and has until Tuesday to respond to the case. As this is going on, many people in the blogosphere are wondering if this is just a show.

So, if it is, how far should it go? If it isn’t, how far will it last before the public believes that it is for real? Personally, I think the line is drawn when either party brings it to the courts. You see, a lawyer’s letter is nothing yet until the case is brought into the courts. When this happen, the jurisdiction of the Singapore government (or for that matter, any government in most countries) is brought into place where the matter can be presented. Moreover, such details will be recorded in the courts officially and I think it’d be too high a price for either party to pay just to bring up their "entertainment value".

Moreover, either party runs the risk of being charged with contempt of court if the matter is not handled properly. That, becomes an offence so serious that it follows the affected persons for life. For entertainment, that is not worth it. Of course, if it really is an act, then the cost is obviously bore by the respective management agencies who will foot the bill (for the lawyers?) as "marketing costs".

Wendy had been a well-known blogger for about 7 years before Dawn broke into the scene some 3 to 4 years ago. These 2 were quickly reigned to be the queens in the Singapore blogosphere – both being involved in high profile TV shows and media coverage. Some might have thought that a recent slow-down in their profiles may have led to this defamation suit to be played out so as to put the names of Wendy aka Xiaxue and Dawn back on the lips of bloggers and blog readers.

As Stickgal aptly puts it:

Drawing copyrights of http://www.stickgal.blogspot.com. Go pop by her blog for more cute drawings! =)

Virtual catfight

Blogger Dawn Yang wants Xiaxue to apologise for defaming her; others see the spat as ‘entertainment’

By Debbie Yong

The bad blood between the two reigning queens of the local blogosphere has come to a boil.

Last Friday, blogger Wendy Cheng, who goes by the online moniker Xiaxue, received a letter from the lawyer of fellow blogger Dawn Yang.

It called on Ms Cheng to make a public apology for alleged defamatory remarks she made against Ms Yang, and to propose a settlement for damages.

‘We hope to seek an amicable resolution to the matter without going to court,’ lawyer K. Anparasan told The Sunday Times yesterday.

He is from Khattar Wong, the firm Ms Yang hired for the case.

Ms Cheng has hired a lawyer from Keystone Law Corporation but has declined to say what she will do next. She has until Tuesday to respond to the letter.

Ms Yang is currently on holiday in Sydney and could not be reached for comment.

The legal action stems from a blog entry that Ms Cheng, 23, made on June 30.

In a lengthy post, she wrote, among other things, about Ms Yang’s entertainment contracts and endorsement deals.

She also baulked at being compared to Ms Yang, 23, in a June 25 article in the Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao.

Ms Cheng has since removed this entry from her blog, but screenshots of it can still be found on the Internet.

Her blog gets about 50,000 hits daily while Ms Yang’s gets 30,000.

Ms Cheng said yesterday that the day after she wrote the post, both bloggers’ managers spoke over the phone on the matter. Ms Cheng is signed up with an entertainment agency and Ms Yang with a modelling agency.

She said she was ‘surprised and quite shocked’ to receive the lawyer’s letter.

The simmering discord between them can be traced back to November 2006. The two were compared in an online forum’s ‘hottest bloggers’ ranking, and have been making comments about each other on their blogs since.

Most of the other popular bloggers interviewed dismissed their spat as ‘entertainment’.

Mr Benjamin Lee, also known as Mr Miyagi, said the dispute ‘probably enhanced both parties’ site traffic and attention, which is what the blogging business is about’.

Polytechnic student Esther Chia, 18, who blogs as Ice Angel, concurred.

She was involved in a ‘flameball’ – or virtual mudslinging – with Ms Cheng last year over comments the latter made about her looks and dress sense. The episode boosted Ms Chia’s blog readership from 1,000 to 4,000 hits a day.

‘As long as she doesn’t criticise my character, I won’t be seriously offended,’ said Ms Chia.

Law undergraduate and co-editor of The Online Citizen website, Mr Choo Zheng Xi, said that defamation is an ‘occupational hazard’ for anyone blogging about society and popular culture.

He said that the tussle would at least remind other bloggers to be careful about any personal accusations they wish to make.

He also hoped that more bloggers will be ‘more focused on issues and less on people and personality’.

debyong@sph.com.sg

Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/News/Home/Story/STIStory_259485.html

Article extracted on 20th July 2008



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