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Kancheong over Amy Cheong

Poor Amy Cheong. Said something silly. Got flamed. Apologised. Got sacked. Now got police report against her. Plus two Cabinet ministers weighing in; one Indian, one Chinese. I am now waiting for a Malay politician to do the same to give it some racial balance. Then again, maybe not. Best to let those of other races tackle this young woman who takes offence at the noise emitted at Malay void-deck weddings.
Now, I am speaking for myself here, let me make this clear. I am not speaking for the Eurasian community; any organisation past or present and I am not a member of the NTUC although I shop at its supermarket. This is me being supremely kiasu, which these days seems a prudent thing to do. I mean, I don’t know who’s reading me. But if Amy Cheong is, this is what I will say to her.
Dear Amy, (you don’t mind me calling you Amy do you? I don’t know your Chinese name)
Bet you regret what you said eh? Wait…I mean, did you regret the responses you received or did you really, really regret what you said? I mean, did anyone manage to change your mind about Malays and weddings or are you simply apologising because you didn’t realise what sort of flak you’d attract? Or is your line really: I regret it happened. It should not have happened…
Anyway, here’s something I’ve learnt from long years in journalism – engage brain before keyboard. And keep your opinions to yourself or at least to your own circle of friends. Remember Facebook friends aren’t really friends. You do realise that don’t you? Maybe you did but didn’t think the message would go viral. And the response would be so vitriolic. Here’s the thing girl, your post is a “public’’ post.
There’s this piece in the Wall Street Journal that talks about coming studies on why people are so rude online. You should read it. The Straits Times re-printed it today. It’s especially hard on FB users. Apparently people like you and me can’t get ourselves under control and derive esteem from the number of “likes’’ we get. Our “sense of entitlement’’ makes us upset when people don’t agree with our views….so we blow a gasket. Wait a minute, I should be talking about you …not the people who responded to you. But you were quite rude you know… I can take the guys being vulgar coz of NS and all that but a sweet-looking thing like you from a politically-correct organisation like the Singapore labour movement?
I’m sorry you got sacked. Really. I think the NTUC has better things to do like championing the needs of workers and wondering how come the wages of our lowest paid are, well, so low. I don’t think anyone thinks you were speaking on the NTUC’s behalf. I guess you were just an embarrassment to the establishment. As it said, it’s supposed to be “inclusive’’, so how can it have you championing “membership’’? You do see the irony right?
I wonder though if you can take your employer to court… Did you have a look at your employment contract? Does it say: Thou shalt not cast aspersions on the other race or risk dismissal? Don’t try going to MOM. Its minister has already spoken against you.
What would I do if I were your employer? Maybe a suspension without pay, to allow you to go on holiday and out of everyone’s sight. We can’t have you wandering around HDB void decks. Or maybe you should, just to see if Chinese funerals are noisier.
Maybe you should face your accuser from Hougang’s racial harmony circle and engage in a two-hour discussion on the use of void decks, whether for weddings or funerals or Meet-the-People sessions. Maybe you should ask him what sort of crime you’ve committed and whether community service would suffice as a sentence. Pledge to attend every Malay wedding ceremony in the vicinity, for example. Do it as part of Singapore’s experiment with different rehabilitation processes. They are said to be better than jail-time.You can pay your way; consider it a fine. I’m sure it costs less than $50 per wedding. Oh, was that bad of me? It just came out. You know what it’s like.
In any case, I don’t think you should be lynched. I’m sure several of us have our share of racist jokes and stereotypes. Just that we’re not silly enough to have it broadcast. So we exercise self-control. It’s this thing we call tolerance.
You know, we don’t have to like what other people do. We don’t even need to understand the whys and wherefores. We just have to remember that other people may not like the things we do, too. That they may have even more colourful expletives for us. So we rein ourselves in. We treat other people the way we’d like to be treated. It’s this thing we call good citizenship.

Written By

An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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