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Kancheong over Amy Cheong Part 3

I repeat: Go buy TNP. It’s got Amy Cheong again. Except that it looks as though some deal has been struck with her to give her a platform for her side of the story. I wish the TNP would get tougher with her. It might actually do her some good because what she told the newspaper doesn’t do anything for her. It doesn’t excuse nor explain her intemperate words. In fact, her words don’t match her past actions.
She claims to be sensitive when there is a need to be. She claims to be open-minded after having been exposed to many different cultures. She says she sees everyone as the same, regardless of race colour.
I don’t understand then, why she said the things she did about Malays. If it’s just about noise, then there was no need to link Malay weddings to divorces. No need for that cheap shot about cheap weddings. She claims to be a private person but makes her feelings public and describes herself as outspoken. She wants to “make it clear’’ that she was speaking about “the situation and not about any racial group’’. Eh?
The only thing that made any sense was what she said about how everyone has, at one time or other, said things without thinking. I just think she should stop thinking and stop talking.
While it was good that TNP got an exclusive, it let her get away with words. There were just that, words. In fact, they were words that would irritate any reasonable person further.
Never mind all that then. What’s more important is this “witch hunt’’ for a certain Eve and a certain Ivy. For crying out, can we please stop this? Can we stop to think that the bigger problem is how people use social media? Not just that, but how people VIEW social media as well.
So there are plenty of unthinking people who spout whatever they want on the spur of the moment, revealing deep-rooted prejudices that had hitherto been concealed. And there are malicious people who hide behind funny names who deliberately stir trouble. The second type is worse than the first, I think. I would write off Amy as the first type who are plain stupid and careless. If she thinks that Malays hold “cheap’’ weddings and therefore have high divorce rates, there’s not much that can be done to change her mind – no matter how many Malays show her their wedding bill. I view the second type, however, as terribly dangerous and deserve to be shouted down and even locked up.
Then there is the question is how we manage our own reactions to those people who abuse social media. How much vitriol to pour on their heads? How to distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2? Do we really want to be the first to throw stones at others for thoughts that we too might be holding deep down inside? What line should we draw around what is politically acceptable and plain outrageous?
There are reports today about a local film that has had its film classification revoked because it was “demeaning and offensive to Indians’’. The interesting thing was that the G allowed the screening but a panel of members of the public said no. This, the panel says, is the “community standard’’ – no matter how well-intentioned the motives of the film-makers were, or how sharp and witty the script, or how many foreign accolades it has won.
Clearly, the panel was thinking about the sensitivities of a minority community. If a Malay castigates the Chinese and call them names, would the reaction be as bad? A majority community can afford to be magnimous. It’s like how we get angry when we think foreigners here are poking fun at us. It’s because we’re beginning feel like a minority community here…
Clearly, the people behind the film aren’t happy, especially with the late notice. But the film went through the usual process – a local process by locals here. The panel might have been ultra-cautious, but maybe it was right to be given how we can’t control our reactions to one Amy Cheong.
Time for that newly convened Media Literacy Council to do some work.

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

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