In the wake of overwhelming disdain and condemnation over what appears to be an attempt to pimp out wannabe social media “influencers” in exchange for monthly handouts, SgInstaBabes — or rather, its founder — has pushed back against critics and doubled down on its recent endeavor.
The social media “influencer” collective recently launched a Patreon campaign, in which subscribers are invited to pledge a monthly donation to a rather vacuous cause: the sustaining of their content creation. Which seems to be a lot of thirst trap photo shoots and basic AF videos. Depending on the amount of money they dole out each month, subscribers get to enjoy an array of benefits, including access to exclusive photo albums, vlogs and getting to spectate shoots. Those who hand out S$1,000 and above even get to have these ladies over for private hangouts and parties. On something called a “yotch”, even.
Clearly, one can see why its such a distasteful venture. But not SgInstaBabes founder Lai Wee Kiat though, who defended the campaign and (tried to) justify the logic behind his decision in an Instagram post. Which has since been taken down — but here it is reproduced in full.
Thank you all for your attention! Even though most of it is hate, I’m seriously used to it already. In fact, I would like to take advantage of this attention to share with you all something which I have kept in my mind and heart for a long time and I think this is the perfect time to share it.
Firstly, Singapore is a very women-friendly country. And that’s awesome! The police are efficient and effective, the Women’s Charter act is protecting our lovely ladies and women have access to education and income opportunities as much as men.
But unfortunately, on the dark web, it’s a totally different scene. You all know what I mean. Don’t act innocent. The sex Tumblrs, Sammyboy and now, even sex discussion Telegram groups. And through the power of anonymity, members on these platforms do things like share photos from girls’ Instagram without their permission, take upskirt videos, plant hidden cameras in public toilets, widely share girls’ sex videos which were leaked without her consent, etc.
And all these are accompanied by crude and degrading discussions about the girls involved, judging their body parts, disregarding their modesty, making lewd comments, all in celebration of humiliation and amusement. And it HURTS these innocent girls. It hurts them bad. It saddens them that an innocent action on their end can bring so much judgment and humiliation. Is it right for a girl to fear that by just posting bikini photos of herself online, wearing a skirt (or even shorts) in public, using public toilets that her privacy will be invaded and her modesty disregarded? Is that the culture you all want to live in?
Unfortunately, this attitude towards women is brought over to mainstream social media. Even for non-sexualised content, I see degrading and lewd comments. I get accused of objectifying women but I see that in fact, many of you WANT to objectify women for your own amusement. Women can’t be themselves because of the fear that social media will pervert even the most innocent things they do. Why can’t you all let women dress however they want and do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t mess with you or the law? And please don’t say, “It’s the Internet, it’s my right to say whatever I want”. Yea, you could, but do you know how it affects others?
My team and I aren’t trying to objectify women. When I started SgInstaBabes, it was to bring out the vibrancy and the beauty of girls in Singapore, and yes, sometimes being sexy and cheeky too. When I started our Patreon, it was to give a chance to our followers to be more involved in our activities and to fund us. We share more photos, we organize photo shoots and we party. And we’re thankful for all our subscribers, not think that we’re so great and they should feel privileged to join us. That’s it. Anything beyond that is your assumption and extrapolation. Unfortunately, I see that our innocent intentions are being perverted, just like how the dark web would.
Funny thing is, those who are perverting my intentions aren’t the girls I work with and see me and know me. Heck, they aren’t even people who follow SgInstaBabes and have seen the stories and posts we made. They are people who are here because of drama and made assumptions based on shallow judgments. And they don’t care about the accuracy of what they say. They just wanna jump on the bandwagon. Hence, empty vessels make the most noise.
I’m not trying to be a hero, but I think that in our very connected society, we’re sometimes too quick to judge. And unfortunately, we usually choose the worst possible judgment. And yes, content on SgInstaBabes can be sexy sometimes. But I hold true to my belief that every girl/woman has her right and choice to portray herself as sexy but still be respected. And don’t you love sexy too? Yes? Then stop degrading girls who post sexy photos of themselves online. I hope that we all can have more respect for each other online and always remember that behind every screen is a real human being.
Sorry if I’ve offended any of you and unless it’s an empty insult and hate, please feel free to DM us any feedback you have for us to improve our content. We’ll be sure to reply whenever we can.
Putting aside the blatant misunderstanding of what the Dark Web actually is (it’s definitely not Tumblr), Lai doesn’t get that what he’s doing is objectifying women. If the purpose of giving money monthly is to ogle at their pictures and get on-demand companionship, isn’t that degrading the girls to the status of shallow objects?
Lai Wee Kiat
No matter how it’s sugarcoated and spun as a way to empower women, it looks to be a shady exchange. It could even be argued that Lai is using these ladies to rake in monthly monetary endowments (which probably can’t be taxed), and these ladies are willing to take part for the slightest chance at social media fame.
Then of course, there’s Lai himself, the Malaysia-born 28-year-old entrepreneur who founded SgInstaBabes to provide digital content and promotional services for brands. In its heyday, it worked with the likes DBS, Ultra Music Singapore, the now defunct local branch of oBike, according to Marketing Magazine. But it was in July last year that Lai landed in trouble after he was accused by former under-aged members of the SgInstaBabes community for sexual harassment.
The matter was serious enough that SgInstaBabes went on a hiatus while undergoing a supposed revamp that makes it a platform for “babes, beauty, above-18 events, nightlife and relevant issues and brands”. Models had to be at least 18-years-old.
What actually took place involving Lai’s alleged sexual harassment is unclear, but the founder tried to explain things from his side of the story in a blogpost, in which he brings up racy text message screenshots, anecdotes and, uh, the time when he had his nudes leaked.
There’s also the issue about Lai being very pressurizing to models. Radio and YouTube personality Dee Kosh recently leaked screenshots of alleged text messages between Lai and an aspiring “influencer”, who actually didn’t seem interested in partaking in showbiz. We’ll let you judge the exchange for yourselves, but Lai doesn’t look too good in them.
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