Singapore’s Salvation Sam Situation
Locally born, Sacramento based superhero Salvation Sam has been having some run-ins with the local media recently, and in term even making the jump to being mentioned by Bleedingcool – except by local media what is actually meant is that Salvation Sam was discovered at the Salvation Army (no less) by a local, who went on to submit his findings directly to STOMP, our very own citizen run journalism website.
Sadly, his enthusiasm for our very own local hero was met with derision in the comments, complaining about the quality of the comic, his race, and why he wasn’t based in Singapore. Seeing that, a full one week later Razor TV jumped onto it with a report.
RazorTV continued with part 2 of the interview below.
Then The Straits Times summarised the story with the report “Singapore’s own superhero slammed” (They got the names of the people of the photo wrong, if you’re wondering.)
For those of you who’ve been following the story, doesn’t something strike you as really odd? I’m not talking about strange accents, for sometimes there can be explanations for that, like being born in a foreign country. But, all this smacks of really making a story out of nothing. It’s cool to know that someone found out about Salvation Sam by accident and was excited enough to spread the word about it, and it’s par for the course that we have people who meet excitement with cynicism. But if you look at the STOMP article you’d realise that the “hot” article attracted a total of 5 comments (or 6, as I suspect at least 1 got deleted for mentioning race). RazorTV jumped (very slowly, given that they took a week) on the very first comment on the article, which criticised Salvation Sam for not being based in Singapore, and thus having no reason to be proud of him (that comment got his race wrong, and it was quickly refuted in the next comment that he was actually Chindian (but then got the location of the story wrong)).
This resulted in the video interview with the creators, Aravind Menon and Alexander Zhao by Sara Ann K., which was then resubmitted to The Straits Times as breaking news by Sara Ann K. herself, mentioning that the race of the character was a huge issue, except the quote used was regarding his location, and not his race (and the article got the names of the people wrong). The second part of the interview moved on to the inspiration of Grammar Nazi, linking him to the Speak Good English campaign. Except RazorTV had misinterpreted Aravind Menon’s comments, firstly saying Grammar Nazi was loosely based on Menon, when Menon had mentioned he was actually more of a “vocab nazi” (loosely indeed), and even going as for to write on the blurb “Find out how the government’s efforts at re-inforcing the Speak Good English Movement inspired two Singaporeans to create a villainous character in the Salvation Sam comic book.” The answer? As the creators themselves put it in the interview “it’s possible” and “subliminally”, before moving on to grammar nazis on the internet. Great way to title the video “Speak Good English campaign inspired comic character?” – sensationalising the effects of the campaign, when in actual fact it… wasn’t that much of a strong influence.
To summarise, a 6 month old local comic book gets found and “reported” on STOMP, one whole week later, RazorTV, just based on a total of 5 comments, decides that the story is really exciting since race issues are mentioned releases an interview, gets The Straits Times to report it as breaking news (one whole week later), and then misunderstands their comments and attempts to draw in the Speak Good English Campaign. All this based on 5 comments on a STOMP story. I know STOMP gets a lot of flack, as RazorTV some too, but… all this is rather disturbing.
And… they’ve already covered and interviewed the Salvation Sam creators before. I’m not sure what I can say about all this.
Still, a local comic appearing attracting enough attention to garner an appearence on RazorTV! How cool is that!
Finally, if you’re interested, you can read the entire comic, for free, below, and follow Salvation Sam on Facebook. Tell us if you like it!