Qiu Qiu slammed for asking for help with legal fees
Pregnant blogger turns to crowdfunding to raise money for legal fees, draws ire from netizens
She poured her heart out on her blog, asking netizens to help her pay her legal fees.
What she got instead was abuse on her crowdfunding page, with one person even asking her to miscarry or abort her unborn baby.
Local blogger Bong QiuQiu, whose real name is Ang Chiew Ting, said she faced up to $250,000 in legal fees in her ongoing dispute with a social media advertising network.
The network claimed two months ago that she had breached her contract with it by entering into commercial agreements with other brands and companies without its knowledge or approval, leading to a loss in fees for the network.
Ang counter-sued, denying entering into the commercial agreements and saying the company had defamed her by posting about the suit.
She also said she was no longer under contract with the company and that the latter had failed to promote her website, resulting in losses for her.
Now, the 28-year-old expectant mother is taking heat from netizens.
Ang wrote a lengthy blog post last week, asking her followers for help.
"There's no good way to put it but I am going to need your help with my legal fees," she wrote on her blog and on the GIVEasia crowdfunding site.
She said she had used up her personal savings and also received some monetary help from family and friends, but she was unwilling to take more from them because "some are bleeding themselves so that I can survive this lawsuit".
Ang, who is three months' pregnant, told The New Paper last Friday: "My friends shoved money into my bag but I returned it when I still had savings.
"But it has come to a point where I am no longer able to keep up."
She also mentioned on her blog that both her sisters took out their savings to help her, especially when she needed to pay a deposit after being served the writ of summons.
Ang declined to reveal the exact amount provided by family and friends.
Her husband, Mr Joshua Tan, a 44-year-old commercial photographer, wanted to sell their three-room flat in Punggol, which is being rented out.
But the proceeds from selling their flat may not fully cover the legal fees because of the current market sentiments.
So Ang has turned to crowdfunding on GIVEasia.
"Crowdfunding was something suggested by my friends and readers who know about the case," she said.
At press time, about 250 people had contributed more than $17,000.
Before she set up the page, Ang knew that she would face backlash.
She said: "Mean comments are just something that I have to deal with. Not everyone is open to the idea of what I'm doing and I respect that.
"But I would really appreciate a little sensitivity from netizens towards my family.
"Someone left a nasty comment on my blog, asking me to get an abortion or hope for a miscarriage, suggesting it would help lighten my burden.
"This really opened my eyes to how malicious some people can get."
The comments are so "scary" that Ang avoids looking at her blog and the crowdfunding page.
"The comments can get very scary. If people don't wish to help, I totally understand," she said.
"But kicking me when I'm down really casts a dark shadow on how I understand life and humanity."
Many netizens were quick to attack Ang, questioning her recent trip to Bangkok, which she posted on her Instagram page.
"Travelling to Bangkok was for work. These work trips were planned beforehand, way before I was served (notice)," she said.
"Since I got served, I have not made big purchases or travelling plans other than what was already booked through low cost websites."
Ang also said on her blog post that the money raised would never be for her own personal expenses, only to pay off the legal fees.
When TNP asked Ang what would be the next step if the crowdfunding goal cannot be reached, she said: "I have no plans, to be honest.
"Once I am able to keep up with the legal fees or once the case is settled, I will immediately take down the page.
"If there's remaining amount after the case ends, I will donate it to Community Chest.
"I will continue to work, as this is the only thing I know how to do."
Despite the situation she is in, she said: "I am touched by the kindness of my fans and it's heartwarming to know I have touched the hearts of many people over the years."