Wednesday, 10 October 2012

What Goes Online, Stays Online

There an old adage "What goes online, stays online" and once you have written something on Facebook or dispatched a 'rant' via email its is forever in the public arena.

This is a hard lesson that Amy Cheong, a swiftly sacked assistant director of NTUC membership, has just learned.  When she vented her spleen in a derogatory Facebook posting about Malay wedding on a void deck I doubt that she realised the full implications of what she had just done.

Singapore is very determined to maintain racial harmony and the lessons of past history have not been forgotten.  A racially cohesive society that welcomes diversity is a more productive, happier and more governable society.

The Police have subsequently issues an arrest warrant for Ms Cheong on the basis that here comments "promote ill-will and hostility between different races in Singapore".  To her credit she has at least apologised for her insensitive post.

So why was she motivated to make the comments in the first place?  Apparently she found the noise for the HDB void deck where the Malay wedding was being held, too much to bear.

Communal living in HDB blocks does mean you are in close proximity and affected by the actions of others. When these intrude on one's own peace and calm then it can be stressful.  Ms Cheong has belatedly admitted that this is no reasonable cause to be derogatory about another race.

Harmony has to be continuously worked at; it could well mean putting up with food smells, celebrations and customs that are alien to one's own culture.

But I would also like to think that there is a quality of mercy in any civilised society and that this serious indiscretion will not forever ruin a life of someone, who had presumably up until this point been a contributor to the greater good through employment with NTUC?

Channel News Asia report the Director of Singapore Internet Research Centre at NTU, Professor Ang Peng Hwa, as saying: "In this case because the community reacted, in a way she has been punished. Because people sort of know now, this lady probably wouldn't be hired for a front-line job."

He went on to say that such incidents will likely occur again and this is probably correct.

...and on a different tack entirely I came across this satirical cartoon which poked gentle fun at the need to build up Singapore's population.

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