It’s been more than a week since the #GreatRebtirementSaga. The riots that followed have left the country in turmoil with the death toll rising… waitaminute, that didn’t happen. But judging from the Internet, and its alarming number of pitchfork-carrying netizens, it sure seemed like all hell had broken loose after Rebecca Lim’s confetti-filled faux-retirement controversy.
A recap: On the morning of Feb 12, Becks posted this now-infamous message on her Instagram. “I’ve decided to do something that will change my life. I have been thinking about it for a while now as I know it has to be done. I’m retiring. I know you may have questions for me and I will answer them real soon. Meanwhile, be happy for me.” The post went viral almost immediately with many followers expressing their sadness, and a small number, skepticism.
A number of news outlets also ran stories about Becks’ ‘retirement’ with matter-of-fact seriousness. By then a media storm had brewed and a press conference was hastily put together that very night. It was there we learnt that Becks was not retiring, but rather, part of an NTUC Income campaign to remind young Singaporeans to plan financially for retirement. (We initially thought she was endorsing a mattress brand ’cos she was retiring… to bed?) That revelation led to an avalanche of backlash from netizens, most of whom felt personally “betrayed” by Becks and NTUC, some of their comments unprintable for our magazine (don’t act like you haven’t scrolled through all of them). If you didnt know what was going on, you might have thought the actress had drowned a puppy. Or absconded with everyone’s CPF.
If anything, this episode has taught everyone to not underestimate the power of social media and the importance of semantics. Oh, and don’t anyhow bluff people or mess with the English language. ‘Retiring’ means “a journey”... not a destination?
So when we urge everyone to move on and to retire this saga, we’re really telling everyone to go on a journey. (Of forgiveness? Of enlightenment? The definition, apparently, is “generic”.) As for Becks, surely she’s been punished enough? This will hopefully be a footnote in a long and storied career, though she might never announce anything major on Instagram ever again. After all, brickbats and scandals are part and parcel of being a star. And this incident has, in a way, shown how big a star Becks is. It’s unfortunate that such a major PR boo-boo had to happen to possibly the nicest girl in showbiz. While this incident has probably made everyone a little more cynical, we only hope Becks will still sparkle on her journey back to the public’s good graces.