Deconstructing Dasmond Koh’s Words: What Does He Really Want?
Dasmond Koh’s episode of The Inner Circle followed Elvin Ng’s which sparked a lot of conversation surrounding entertainers Elvin Ng, Angel Lin and
Despite his most recent public allegation of Ng bullying a NoonTalk artiste Angel Lin, Koh’s episode was surprisingly tame and rather muted in its juicy factor in light of the scandal involving him and Ng.
On 11 Apr 2021, Koh released an Instagram post asking Mediacorp artiste Ng about his bullying of Angel Lin, an artiste managed by NoonTalk Media, Koh’s celebrity agency.
In the lengthy post, Koh cites a previous incident in which Xu Bin, another NoonTalk artiste was bullied by “Mr Li” on a film set in Malaysia, to which Koh evokes a Chinese proverb, which meant that they had “let it go with the wind” and thus forgotten about it.
However, Koh turns his attention in his Instagram post caption to Ng’s interview with The Inner Circle host Guo Liang, to whom Ng shared that he had been treated unfairly and rudely by an unnamed veteran actor.
While Koh claims that the parties involved in Xu Bin’s bullying incident have allowed the incident to “go with the wind” and move on from it, Koh directly addresses Ng at the end of his post, evoking yet another Chinese proverb.
“What you wish for yourself, do not impose onto others”, implying that Ng was behaving hypocritically during the interview and that he had enacted similar unpleasant treatment unto NoonTalk Media artiste Angel Lin, or “bullied” Lin.
“I would like to look back on past events and ask Elvin Ng, the year in which Heart to Heart was filmed, what had exactly happened onset while filming with Angel Lin?”
Social Media Reception of Dasmond’s Post
Netizens flocked to Koh’s comment section to participate in unfiltered discourse about Koh’s public statement, many of which expressed disappointment at his choice to air their dirty laundry on a public platform and drew attention to the hypocrisy of his statement.
“You don’t actually have to write this and post it online, it feels like you are trying to stir the pot and are trying to garner attention. Surely by posting this online, you have the intention of bullying someone else? There is meaning in words.”
While the netizens share their various comments on the situation, the consensus of these netizens is that Koh should have taken his issue with Ng, to Ng, instead of a social media platform, providing a one-sided statement that could potentially tarnish Ng’s reputation, and negatively affect his career.
The comments also point out the hypocrisy in Koh’s words: he claims to have let the bullying incidents go and forgotten about them, yet brings up another bullying incident involving Ng and an artiste managed by him, questioning his intentions on doing so.
Is it really not that deep?
The popular Internet slang “it’s really not that deep”, is used to describe a situation that generates a significant amount of controversy, but is not serious enough a matter to warrant the amount of controversy generated.
Is the scandal between Ng and Koh really just an unpleasant, petty spat between two entertainers who have nothing better to do, hence in other words, “not that deep?
Superficially, it may seem that this is the case.
However, upon deconstructing the labels “entertainer”, “bully” and “Instagram”, buzzwords that have peppered this scandal, what we see is an unwitting person going about his day and doing his job which includes answering questions during an interview, which subsequently led to a colleague releasing alleged material which threatens the prospects of his career.
Koh’s Instagram post may have seemed like a petty attempt to stir the pot, but as many netizens have pointed out, is both “unprofessional and “unnecessary”.
Dissecting Koh’s Instagram caption, the thing which stands out most is the hypocrisy, which many netizens have identified as well: his claim to have forgotten about other bullying incidents, yet alleging that Ng had bullied his artiste in the past.
His hypocrisy leads into his overt virtue-signalling: where he evokes Chinese proverbs to preach moral superiority over Ng, and thus place himself on a moral pedestal, taking the moral high ground compared to Ng, who had not let his unpleasant brush with the actor “go with the wind”, even bringing it up on a broadcasted interview.
“There is meaning in words.”
This netizen’s comment especially resonates well with the current scandal at hand. Koh’s words seem to be strategically chosen and seem to place both Ng and himself at opposite ends of the moral spectrum.
Koh situates himself at the positive end for letting the Xu Bin bullying incident “go with the wind”, and hence Ng at the negative end as he has not let his unpleasant episode with the other actor go.
As we increasingly identify the strategic word forms and positive portrayal of himself in Koh’s Instagram caption, this dissection of his Instagram caption would thus pose a question to us, the modern-day consumer of digital products and content.
It is no surprise that the entertainment industry is a dog-eat-dog world, where it is every man for himself.
People are always looking out for the next “Hot, Young Thing”, which puts an immense amount of pressure on the incumbent entertainers, as they consistently have to either improve themselves to keep up with ever-changing standards or knock out their rivals who could threaten their professional status.
With Koh’s seemingly calculated word choice and positive framing of himself in comparison to Ng in his Instagram post caption, it is likely that this scandal may have been an attempt by Koh to discredit Ng.
At this point, questions about Koh’s intentions inevitably surface, especially with the impending arrival for the Star Awards 2021 ceremony on 18th April, for which Koh is due to receive the All-Time Favourite Star Award, and Ng to receive the Best Actor Award.
Both Ng and Koh excel in their respective fields, but Koh could have perceived Ng as a threat to his veteran status as a celebrity, seeing as both stars have relatively similar levels of achievements and accolades under their belts.
However, in a time where information is easily publicised, much of the consequences hit faster than one would realize. In the case of Koh’s allegation towards Ng, the strategicness of his words identified by netizens have instead bit him in the back, inviting a significant amount of criticism onto his character and causing audiences to doubt and question his intentions.
Article written by Michelle Ang