Photos: Internet, Audrey Ooi, YouTube, Crazy Monkey Studio, Audrey and Tim
For weeks, blogger Audrey Ooi’s life hung in the balance, as did the life of her unborn baby.
While she was pregnant, the 28-year-old was plagued by pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening condition related to high blood pressure. When she gave birth in August to her son Jude Maximus Tiah – two months premature – she got more than just congratulatory comments.
Two netizens, whom she did not know in real life, left comments on her baby’s photos which she posted on social media app Instagram. Calling him an alien, they wrote that they would “pray for his soul”, and would go to the hospital he was in to “apply euthanasia”, among other things.
Ooi, who blogs at fourfeetnine.com, is no stranger to online criticism, having received countless comments about her height, looks and her motivations for dating hubby Timothy Tiah, a founder of blog advertising community Nuffnang.
The couple attracted global attention when Mr Tiah’s wedding proposal video went viral.
But it was different this time. She tells The New Paper on Sunday: “I’m not very superstitious typically, but in this case I was very angry and upset, because saying that you’re going to pray for someone’s soul implies that he is either dying or has done something very bad.”
Ooi explains that she wrote the blog post on them, titled “how two girls I don’t even know harassed us and our prematurely born baby”, to remind people that their actions may cause more damage than they think.
“Bloggers write about their lives and put themselves online, so some may say these attacks are a risk we take. But that doesn’t give people the licence to say things that may be potentially very harmful. “What if my baby had died, imagine the mental anguish I would have gone through, imagining he died because of what they said,” she reasons.
Netizens began tracking down the bullies and scolded them. Ironically, the bullies, whom she says are close friends with each other, wrote to her asking her to stop the flood of hate directed towards them. “Of course, I didn’t tell my readers to stop. The bullies wrote those mean comments with their own accounts. People could decide what they wanted to do,” she says.