How a Hong Kong cyberbullying victim came back to the web
Blogger remembers the video she uploaded, the storm that followed and the life she rebuilt
Ruby Tang Hoi-man stayed at home for a month after she was cyberbullied at the age of 16, when she was sitting for the now-defunct Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination.
“I was frightened,” the 23-year-old blogger on beauty and lifestyle matters recalled. “They didn’t only insult me but my family.”
The incident happened in 2010 when Tang uploaded a video to YouTube of her delivering a monologue complaining about the English skills of the exam’s administrators. The video quickly circulated online and drew hateful comments.
Some even sent offensive messages directly to Tang, saying her English was imperfect and blasting her for being arrogant.
“The messages were really mean,” she said. “One asked, ‘why did your mother give birth to a girl like you?’ I never thought the reaction would be like that. I was just doing the video for fun.”
Although Tang later took down the video and quit social media for a time, she was still afraid of being recognised on the street. For a month she refused to go out, relying on her mother to get her lunch daily.
Her family was worried about her safety, but ultimately chose not to report what was happening to police.
Tang said she only resumed a normal social life after being encouraged by a group of new friends.
In her life as a blogger, Tang encourages those facing similar predicaments to stand firm in the face of cyber bullies.
“Haters are going to hate,” she advised. “But there is always someone who supports you.”