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NUS Law professor breaking the law?
Turns out that one of the people doxxing me by revealing and circulating my legal name on Facebook is an NUS Law professor...
My latest posts have, of course, drawn lots of attention, with melodramatic responses from some people on the web. They have, also, attracted many trolls. Now, I typically ignore or ban them - particularly recalcitrant characters who come here to spam under fake names rather than have an actual conversation.
Some of them, however, intend to do more harm, without contributing anything.
Word has reached me that my legal, Polish name is being circulated online - and one of the trolls has made it to my page in recent days to quite persistently taunt me.
You can Google all you like for my name, there's nothing to be found there since I haven't been using it for much in years. As I explained some time ago to curious readers here, in 2015 I have adopted this pen name, as a de facto my real name for everything. I.e. outside of my family and a bunch of childhood friends almost nobody knows my legal name. I use it only when I am legally required to.
There are a few reasons:
It's hard to pronounce - and in the world of the internet it's a death knell (particularly as I intended to do some videos back in 2015 - and even I would struggle to introduce myself in English).
It adds a certain layer of privacy against various trolls. It's not much but something.
My first name doesn't have the letter "e" - it's Michal, what is also known in Hebrew as a female name. And I have encountered many people who assumed I was a woman seeing my name in emails.
Proper pronunciation of my first name is very close to "Ni hao" - which used to cause A LOT of confusion in Asia. It's actually a great ice-breaker - until you've done it 16754 times.
There are many public figures who use stage names so why would I be stuck with mine?
So, yes, since my name is out there already - it's, in full, Michał Piotr Pietrusinski. Michał is Polish for Michael and Petraeus is simply short for my last name, that I wanted to cut to make it easier to read and remember (Pietrus.... Petrus... Petraeus).
🔴 That's the story - now, back to the troll.
Seemingly faceless Paul Urgh, as he calls himself on Facebook, has been shadowing me quite intently for the past few days, making lots of troll comments to me and to my followers. Including - repeating my full name several times, in a clear attempt to reveal personal information about me to everybody to cause me some distress. Here are a few examples:
In the list of offences under the amended article 3, subsection 1 c) of POHA:
Intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress
3.—(1) An individual or entity must not, with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress to another person (called in this section the target person), by any means —
(c) publish any identity information of the target person or a related person of the target person, and as a result causing the target person or any other person (each called in this section the victim) harassment, alarm or distress.
I'm no legal expert but it seems to me that this description matches Paul's behavior to a T - what would mean that he has, indeed, broken the law.
Now, while he may have changed his display name, he hasn't changed his Facebook handle, revealing his full name.
And two photos which he published publicly, enabled me to, beyond doubt, confirm his identity (one reveals his face and another reveals the identity of his son, or another relative, I believe, confirming the name - so it's not some troll who stole identity from someone else, as I experienced with another guy about 2 years ago).
That said - since it is all public information (unlike my real name), I do not believe myself to be doxxing him (particularly in self-defense against harassment).
Turns out that, lo and behold, Paul Urgh is actually Paul Myburgh - a South African lawyer (of all things) who is now Associate Professor and Deputy Director in the Centre for Maritime Law at... National University of Singapore, where he was employed 6 years ago after spending over 20 years in New Zealand.
Prof. Myburgh has been teaching law for 35 years but somehow doesn't seem to be acquainted with the laws of the land he is now employed in - not to mention that his repeated taunts (with no actual substance) belong in a high school yard not in one of the world's leading universities.
But I am grateful for his visit to my page, as I think it perfectly explains my long-standing disdain for academics - most of them have deep-seated insecurities about their chosen career path which is very comfortable but doesn’t really lead to much accomplishment in life. They believe themselves to be the "intellectual elites" and then do something this low.
(Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh accused me of "anti-intellectualism" for deriding academics - well, this is the "intellectualism" I'm ridiculing, in all its glory.)
Thank you prof. Myburgh for coming here to provide an illustration to all I have been saying for years.
PS1. I'm not planning to involve lawyers, of course - it would be a waste of time for everybody. Nevertheless, law is law, and I thought it shows just how weak people who think they know better how Singapore should be governed are.
I know I often come off as abrasive and aggressive - but I always do it on the basis of actual, factual arguments. And yes, duplicitous, manipulative people piss me off - but I never go to other people's pages or walls to just call them names. I ask tough questions, I bring up unflattering examples of what they said or did. And, yeah, then I label them parasites ;) Btw. I'm personally not bothered by any names people call me or my family - I just find it ridiculous.
PS2. I am also quite grateful for this episode as it proves that the accusations of authoritarian repression in Singapore are, again, completely false.
Here we have a foreign-born (perhaps still an actual foreigner) professor, working in the leading public university in Singapore - openly displaying support for sociopolitical causes (Pinkdot) on his FB profile and then coming here to vocally side with the critics of the very authorities that, de facto, employ him.