Nonplussed Judge Choo adds richness to any Insta post.
A bemused Singapore High Court judge has poured scorn on a pair of bickering influencers - and their lawyers - after one sued the other for suggesting she cheated on her fiancee at her own wedding.
After Rachel Wong split up from her husband, Singapore footballer Anders Aplin, in April 2020 after just four months of marriage, Olivia Wu posted a series of Instagram stories about Wong titled "Cheater of 2020".
The stories accused Wong of being unfaithful to Aplin with Chen Han, Wong's personal trainer, and Alan Wan, the Master of Ceremonies at their wedding.
Wong sued for defamation, and then sought to prevent Wu gaining access to her private correspondence with the gym instructor and her diary entries covering her courtship with Aplin and their marriage annulment.
Considering the appeal against disclosure, Judge Choo Han Teck attempted to grasp the relative positions of the parties in his judgment. 27-year-old Wong "describes herself as 'a full-time social media influencer, actress, model and host'", he said, who "maintains an Instagram account that she claims has 41,400 followers. That, I suppose, entitles her, in her estimation, to be a celebrity". Whereas Wu was a part-time nurse with under 2,000 Instagram followers, making her "a lesser light – by numbers".
However, 68-year-old Choo J was left baffled by the evidence, for which be largely blamed the lawyers. "The narrative is not clear. By a combination of Instagram-speak and the utter failure of counsel to translate that into English, the Statement of Claim is filled with chaff", he complained.
By way of example, Choo J cited one of Wu's posts which Wong's lawyers had presented without explanation as evidence of defamation: "OH PAISEH, #BEDOKOLIVIA GOT IT WRONG FELLA @AWANSAUCE HERE’S AN EMCEE. LAGI WORSE. YOU SHOULD ENGAGE @DEEPSEAN OR LITFAM @GOBEWL @BENJAMINMAH OR ME INSTEAD. AND YEA, FELLA REALLY SEIZE ALL THE MOMENTS…W HIS GENITALS HAHAH BRO CAN TEACH????????? @MEDIACORP YALL GOT CHARACTER CHECKS ONE OR NOT UH?"
When Wong's lawyers were asked what exactly was defamatory, they "referred to a line in paragraph 12 of the Statement of Claim which states as follows: 'WHICH KIND OF BEAST FKS THE BRIDE ON HER WEDDING DAY?????'".
Piecing together what he could, the judge surmised that Wu's Insta stories were understood to mean that Wong cheated on Aplin on their wedding day, had sex with Han, and that she was "promiscuous, mentally unwell" and "shameless".
Wu's lawyers presented what they alleged were lurid texts from the personal trainer, a page from Wong's journal professing her love for the wedding MC, and a photograph of her lying across his chest. Wong's counsel then somewhat undermined her claim that she was "financially and emotionally invested in her wedding and had fully intended to see it through" when he revealed that she went to India by herself immediately after the wedding, and applied to annul the marriage when she got back.
The judge dismissed Wong's appeal against the disclosure demands, commenting that "It is not a mere fishing expedition if fish has [sic] in fact been spotted".
In an Insta story (naturally) responding to the ruling, Wong said that she "leaned into the judicial system for support in honouring my truth", and that "regardless of the results, my truth remains unchanging and it'll always be weaved in the message that I hope to share [heart emoji]".
'WHICH KIND OF BEAST FKS THE BRIDE ON HER WEDDING DAY?????'"
Singapore's official Jock Warlord, apparently.
We mere mortals can only look upon his works and despair.
"the Statement of Claim is filled with chaff" - go that man!
Worry is, it's only older lawyers (like me) who care about this. In the future, perhaps we'll be able to file entire depositions in emoji.
I'm baffled [heart emoji]
Wow, fair play for [sic]ing the judge. Excellent pedantry.
Leaning into the judicial system for support in honouring your truth sounds expensive.
Metaphor pushed to failure:
"It is not a mere fishing expedition if fish has [sic] in fact been spotted"
So, out by the lake, once you've spotted a fish, your fishing expedition turns into a... what?
What does she mean by "her" truth?
I'm not correcting very elementary grammatical errors can be described as "pedantic".
Good to see some pushback on the moronification of society. I am disturbed to learn that this sort of thing has spread as far as Singapore which was one of the last bastions of civilisation.