My new piece for Thai Enquirer:
It was a strange digital flareup. Ceaselessly, and seemingly inexplicably, over an entire night and day, Thai and Chinese netizens took to Twitter to rain insults on each other.
Ostensibly, the issue arose over a hapless Thai photographer who, in Thai, wrote that Hong Kong is a “country”. A Thai celebrity, Vachirawit “Bright” Chivaaree, shared the photos, sparking outrage from his Chinese fans. Both men apologized, but comments that his girlfriend had made three years ago about Taiwan were dug up and interpreted as a challenge to Chinese sovereignty.
Thus the Twitter conflict commenced. For these keyboard warriors, there was no online code of chivalry; it was a war to be fought without mercy. Chinese and Thais rushed to hurl abuse on each other. Under the hashtag #nnevy, hundreds of thousands of tweets were hurled, lobbed, shot and spat across the South China Sea aimed at hurting each other’s feelings. It even became an international conflagration, with other nationals joining in as well.
Read the full piece here.