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Heroes in our midst

An aerial view of Muslim worshippers praying at the Grand Mosque in the city of Mecca last Tuesday. Snapchat users were able to get a glimpse of Ramadan prayers during a live-stream by the social media giant last week. Over one million mentions of "M
An aerial view of Muslim worshippers praying at the Grand Mosque in the city of Mecca last Tuesday. Snapchat users were able to get a glimpse of Ramadan prayers during a live-stream by the social media giant last week. Over one million mentions of "Mecca_live" were made on Twitter alone.PHOTO: REUTERS
Mr Fais Al-Hajari's post on his ties with phone seller Desmond Mok resonated with many after the Low Yat Plaza riot.
Mr Fais Al-Hajari's post on his ties with phone seller Desmond Mok resonated with many after the Low Yat Plaza riot.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/FAIS AL-HAJARI
Mr Muhammad Hanafie Ali Mahmood, seen here with girlfriend Nabilah Nasser, drew praise for standing up to a bully on the train.
Mr Muhammad Hanafie Ali Mahmood, seen here with girlfriend Nabilah Nasser, drew praise for standing up to a bully on the train.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

With close to two billion users every day, social media is by far the biggest platform on which the world interacts in real time. Every week, The Sunday Times' Social Media Editor Daryl Chin picks the topics that have set social media alight.

LOW YAT PLAZA RIOT

Several images stood out amid the scenes of racially charged violence that took place last weekend at Low Yat Plaza, a popular mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

One such photograph was that of Facebook user Fais Al-Hajari and Chinese mobile phone seller Desmond Mok from a nearby mall smiling at the camera. Mr Fais, who has known Mr Mok for eight years, praised him for maintaining a good working relationship.

"The secret? They don't cheat me and I don't steal their goods. We have mutual respect for each other," he said.

The other notable image depicted Sin Chew Daily crime reporter Chan Woei Loon holding up his bandaged hand.

Mr Chan, who was beaten up while covering the riots, said he was helped by many Malay compatriots. The main cause of the incident was not race, but stupidity, Mr Chan added.

  • NOTABLE HASHTAGS

  • #WORLDEMOJIDAY
    The word emoji combines two romanised Japanese words: “e”, meaning picture, and “moji”, which stands for letter or character. It took place on Friday, July 17.

  • #OHNOLOUIS
    Fans of boyband One Direction went into full meltdown mode when they heard English pop singer Louis Tomlinson was going to be a dad. One fan even wrote a song called “No Birth Control”, teasing the boy band star.

  • #2YEARSWITHOUTCORY
    It has been two years since Glee star Cory Monteith died at age 31. Fans took to Twitter to pay tribute to the star.

WHEN GOOD MEN DO SOMETHING

Standing up to a bully was probably the last thing on Mr Muhammad Hanafie Ali Mahmood's mind as he took a train from Orchard earlier this month.

But he felt he had to act, when an older man scolded and threatened a younger man for wearing a T-shirt that said, "I'm F--king Special". The video, which had close to 300,000 views, even caught the attention of Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam.

Said 25-year-old Mr Hanafie: "Life goes on still. I just want to say that we should help each other."


This tweet on Nasa's New Horizons feed attracted over 51,000 retweets. -- PHOTO: TWITTER/NASA

#PLUTOFLYBY 

After a decade-long journey, a US$700 million (S$957 million) piano-sized spacecraft finally closed in on Pluto.

Nasa's New Horizons, which came within 12,552km of the dwarf planet , was the first space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.To bring science a little closer to the common man, the scientists behind the spacecraft took to Reddit to answer hundreds of questions.

Many earthlings also followed its journey on its Twitter feed, and through the live coverage provided by various news outlets.

The tweet, "Hello #Pluto! We're at closest approach", had more than 51,000 retweets.

MECCA 'LIVE' A HIT

Snapchat users would have been able to get a glimpse of Ramadan prayers in Mecca as it happened when the social media giant live-streamed it last week.

This live-stream feature was a continuous stream of footage that was stitched together using different short video clips made by users in Saudi Arabia.

Digital analytics site Topsy recorded more than one million mentions of "Mecca_live" on Twitter alone.

THIS IS A COUP

The hashtag #ThisIsACoup was born in Spain, reportedly at the hands of a physics teacher in Barcelona. But it did not take long for the tag to become synonymous with the Greek bailout. The hashtag, of course, was a reference to the Egyptian hashtag #NotACoup which trended in 2013.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 19, 2015, with the headline 'Heroes in our midst'. Print Edition | Subscribe