By DENIELLE LEONG and IAN YEE
THE guy behind HUCP, the unofficial HELP University Facebook confession page, is virtually the most popular guy on campus – and yet no one seems to notice him in real life.
Over the past few months, hundreds of people on campus have been sharing their deepest, darkest secrets with him while being entertained by his wit and humour in response.
But in person, the man himself admits to being quite socially awkward.
“It’s quite funny, because I was updating the page alone at college, and at the table next to mine was a group of students talking about it. They had no idea I was just right there!” he said.
Browsing through the HUCP confession page has become one of the favourite pastimes in the university – as it has in many other schools, colleges and universities.
Students have spoken about how addicted they are to reading the anonymous confessions approved and published by the admin.
But being an admin is a huge responsibility, something which the HUCP admin has had to learn quickly.
“I’ve received quite a few suicide-related confessions,” he said. “These people have no one to tell, so it’s good (that they have the confession page). They can get advice, get some help.”
The HUCP admin takes his role quite seriously, and does his best to filter out confessions that are defamatory or offensive. These days, he gets over 20 confessions a day.
“I would personally take responsibility if there are any posts that are defamatory,” he said.
For the most part, he believes confession pages – if moderated well – can act as a “stepping stone” to help students express themselves.
“We tend to be afraid to speak up, which is a product of our upbringing,” he added.
While the HUCP admin works alone, the CHS (Catholic High School) PJ Confession Page is handled by four admins.
“We started out as just two of us, but we were receiving 200 to 500 confessions a day! A couple of friends figured out we were the admins, so we asked them to join us,” said Ng, 19, the page’s founder and a former student of Catholic High School.
Part of the excitement of having a confession page is the mystery of the admin, said Ng. “I think 10% of the posts are related to the admin, and who it could be.
“It’s fun for me too, because the way I comment on the posts is exactly the same as how I talk in real life. But in real life, I never get much of a reaction from people. On the confession page, suddenly everyone’s so excited about what I have to say.”
Unlike the HUCP admin, Ng is less concerned about the page getting him in trouble.
“I’m not worried, because I don’t even study at the school any more. And I don’t think they can take legal action.
“We’re just moderators! We’re taking what other people are saying, and posting them on the page. Plus, we filter out any inappropriate messages,” he said.
Unfortunately for Ng, that’s not true at all. The admins are actually liable for any offensive material they publish (more on the story below).
According to Ng, the school’s headmaster criticised the page during a school assembly the week after the page was created, saying that it tarnished the school’s reputation.
“I don’t see what’s wrong! They’re already out off school (when they submit confessions). What they do in their own free time is up to them.”
When asked what he’d do if the school asked him to shut down the page, he said: “I don’t think we’ll do it. No matter what their reasons are.”
For the admin of the INTI International College Subang (IICS) Confessions Page, upholding the best interests of the college is her priority. “We can all have fun but if it affects the name of the college, then it’s wrong.”
The finance student learned the hard way how important it is to filter the confessions. Some users started verbally attacking another active user on the page, and things started to get a little out of hand.