A Singaporean Suria actress-turned-social media influencer, Ateeqah Mazlan, has come under fire from the Malay-Muslim community in Singapore.
This was after she posted a video on her Facebook page of herself making calls to the Singapore authorities asking for a definitive answer as to whether home-based businesses were allowed to function this tightened circuit breaker period.
She subsequently managed to ascertain that home-based businesses were not allowed to continue operating, and urged others who were concerned to call the authorities if they need further confirmation.
Her video appeared to have been shared widely over the weekend, despite it being taken down by Ateeqah from her own platforms, as duplicate copies thrived.
Home-based businesses ordered to stop because of her video?
However, it is not exactly clear if her video was the actual cause of the authorities stepping in to stop home-based businesses from operating, or it so happened that her video started making the rounds before the announcement from the government, and she inadvertently ended up looking like she caused the confirmation to come to pass.
Ateeqah has received massive backlash online over the weekend and on Monday.
Sought interview with prominent video creator, Sujimy Mohamad
In a bid to address the backlash and put out her side of the story to a wider audience, she approached video creator and personality Sujimy Mohamad to be part of his live show, which went on air at 9:30pm on Monday, April 27.
The full live show lasted more than one hour and 34 minutes.
Ateeqah's segment lasted roughly 11 minutes.
Start: 11 minutes 30 seconds
End: 22 minutes 19 seconds
The video has been watched 250,000 times within seven hours of its publication.
This is an indication of the extent of the controversy in Singapore, the likes of which have not been witnessed in recent memory.
In the interview, which was conducted in Malay, Ateeqah appeared sombre throughout and spoke mainly in Malay interspersed with English.
The questions that Sujimy posed attempted to allow Ateeqah to explain herself and the things she did, as well as speak to her detractors directly.
Ateeqah said her video was made and posted primarily to satisfy her own curiosity and help other home-based business owners out as they were also confused about the existing regulations regarding their right to continue operations.
The questions asked did not appear to be spontaneous.
At the live video's peak, some 43,500 viewers tuned in to watch at the same time.
For a fuller background context about this story, you can read, "Actress-influencer Ateeqah Mazlan apologises after being accused of causing home-based businesses in S'pore to shut".
Here is the full transcript of the interview.
Question: What's your motive for coming forward?
Ateeqah: My intention to make the IGTV (Instagram TV) was initially to clarify and find a solution for home-based businesses. I feel that your platform shares the same objective as mine. I want to get my truth out from all the rumours and accusations, but I don't want this thing to be about me. The bigger topic that we have to highlight is how HBBs can operate and earn during this CB period.
Question: Do you know or expect the impact of your video?
A: First things first, I'd like to apologise to all that have been affected by my video/ actions. As I said, it's not my intention to make you stressed and angry. I called HDB to clarify my own HBB that I was going to venture into.
However, I didn't expect the video to go viral to the point it got out of control. No matter what, I'd like to apologise. The past few days, I got to read the comments and reflect and I realised that my presentation could have been better. Perhaps in my intonation or in the way I made my video. Despite all that, I'd like to apologise.
Question: How do you feel about the criticism you have faced?
A: Some of the comments said they wanted to throw acid on my face, attack my house, attack my family. Some have shared pictures of my child, so we don't feel safe. Especially now since we can't leave home. I have so many feelings. Sometimes angry, other times I feel sad and tired. Overall, I feel exhausted because we haven't had much sleep. Even when trying to have our pre-dawn and break fast meals, we don't have the appetite with all of these things happening.
Question: Why did you try to find the truth regarding this issue to the point you made a video regarding your call with HDB?
A: During this CB period, my family is also affected financially. I'm also trying to find additional income by selling brownies as an HBB. At least there will be some additional income during the month of Ramadan and the Hari Raya that follows. However, when I've already bought the ingredients and packaging, the extended CB was announced.
Most of my followers are HBB owners so I asked on IG Story if we could still operate or not. The results were 50/50. Most of whom said 'yes' received half-baked sources or via hearsay. Some also asked me, especially HBB owners who don't know whom to reach out to. Some of them are senior citizens who run the business who require the help of their grandchildren to run an Instagram account.
So I tried to help all these people. Instead of answering them personally, I thought it'd be better for me to create content as a piece of educational information for them.
Question: Did you think your approach was appropriate? Do you have any regrets?
A: I do have regrets because when I posted the IGTV, I didn't really sit through and check. I immediately uploaded the video because I thought the faster I upload, the more people would know and not receive a fine. But I regret doing so as I should have thought it through and let someone review the footage before uploading the video. I didn't expect it to go so viral, I wanted to just do it for my followers.
Question: Why did you want to clarify through my platform?
A: Honestly, I have thought of pulling out from doing this (live interview) as I didn't want to affect Sujimy and his company's reputation. I sought permission if I could use Sujimy's platform because I know that he will bring in relevant parties into the conversation.
Question: What message do you hope to send?
A: I want to clear my name. First of all, I didn't call HDB to complain about HBB. I called for my own knowledge and to help (clarify for) the other HBBs. I did an IGTV with the intention to help so they don't get fined and stay up to date and be responsible business owners.
It's not because of me or my video that caused HDB to change their rules (in light of the extended CB). I don't have that strong of a network or profile for HDB to do so. When I made that video and it received a mixed response, I took it down. I took down the video because the next day was Ramadan and I didn't want to start off the month with negative energy. I wrote an apology post but it has been misinterpreted and the video that went viral was just part of the full video. It's not my intention for it to go viral that way.
Question: Do you want to clarify about your ad charges?
A: I have charged S$600 for advertising. At that point, I didn't have any work. That was my one and only source of income. I just bought a house, I have a child. The price was negotiable. So when people asked for a review, I said S$600 for advertising, not review, it's negotiable. You can pay me with whatever amount you're comfortable with. But if people ask for a review because it's an HBB, I'd definitely say, "Why not?"
Since 2016, I have reviewed many HBBs that didn't pay me. It's a review, not advertising.
Question: Do you have anything else to say?
A: I hope you'd explain and clarify the rules clearly as some are still unsure about it. And perhaps if HBBs can't resume operations now, someone will come forward to help them.