'Foot-in-mouth' disease spreads online

'Foot-in-mouth' disease spreads online
The latest infection took place two weeks ago - according to Facebook, Patient Zero was beauty queen Jesslyn Tan, 25.

We are writing to report yet another outbreak of foot-in-mouth disease (FIMD) in Singapore, which may have reached epidemic proportions.

The latest infection took place two weeks ago - according to Facebook, Patient Zero was beauty queen Jesslyn Tan, 25.

The Miss Singapore Universe 2013 finalist was said to have been on an MRT train when she snapped a picture of a man with a hole in his T-shirt. She was infected after she posted the photograph on Facebook.

Her caption - "Holey moley. Sibei trendy worzxxz" - was her final utterance before she was found to have her foot in her mouth.

All known sufferers of this disease have been users of online social networks with a propensity to click faster than they think.

It is now known that FIMD is brought on by virulent attacks by a species of netizens who appear to seize on any post, photo or comment that offends moral sense. These keyboard warriors are quick to judge, insensitive towards their targets and do not seek clarification before launching their attacks. In short, they seem to behave in the same way as their quarry.

In Miss Tan's case, her condition erupted from 160 rapid-fire comments that ironically slammed her for lacking sensitivity.

In fact, experts have said that graciousness is one antibody against FIMD infections. Unfortunately, the health authorities have not been able to manufacture this antibody outside artificial settings.

Otherwise, Mr Anton Casey and Ms Amy Cheong might have been allowed to recover from their infections after a brief bout of the illness. British expat Casey had complained about the "stench of public transport" on Facebook, while Ms Cheong, an Australian and Singapore permanent resident, had posted an expletive-filled racist rant.

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