berthahenson

Kancheong over Amy Cheong Part 2

In News Reports, Politics, Society on October 9, 2012 at 1:22 am

Go buy TNP. It’s the only newspaper this morning with an interview with Amy Cheong. Seems she’s no spring chicken (she’s 37) and she’s flown the coop (to Perth). Seems also that she can’t understand the fuss – she was just irritated by the noise not just of Malay weddings but funerals, karaoke sessions and her neighbour’s drilling. Seems she had a hard day at work and wanted to rest when the din started. Seems she regrets not being better at Facebooking – she should have set her account to “private’’.
Seems she meant everything she said but expects everyone to understand that it was a mis-step borne out of noise irritation.
Oh dear.
I’m glad she left the country.
Face it. We all have stereotypes about community groups. When people look at me, they assume I studied at a convent school (I didn’t); I like partying (used to, but getting old now); I sing (I can’t, but my brother can); I can’t speak Mandarin (hey, it’s my mother’s tongue!); I can cook feng (peranakan dishes more my taste). So I do take offence when people presume to know me when they don’t. Doesn’t mean I mind the jokes: 1 Eurasian is a solo performance, 2 Eurasians is a band and 3 is a lawsuit. That came from a fellow Eurasian, by the way. I heard a tonne of jokes about Sikhs – from a Sikh undergraduate who tells me he’s allowed to tell me such jokes because he’s Sikh. Quite different coming from me, or a non-Sikh.
I’ve always loved this ability to laugh at ourselves.
Thing is, it’s laughing even though there might be a grain of “truth’’ in the jokes. Not disparaging. Not putting the other person down.
I suppose it’s too much to expect Amy Cheong to change her mind about her stereotypes about Malays, linking them to high divorce rates and “cheap’’ weddings. I wish TNP questioned her on this. As Law Minister K Shanmugam said, it’s not just racist but showed contempt for the less well-off and those who don’t wish to spend money. So it’s a class thing as well. So it’s a race thing coloured by class, or a class thing coloured by race?
Interesting that she doesn’t see her comments as racist. If she takes aim at the Chinese for holding funerals at void decks instead of a funeral parlour, would she be considered racist? I think people would start looking at it from a religion point of view. That she can’t understand Chinese traditions because she belongs to some church group. Hey, things could get really really bad…
Would it have been more acceptable if she just took pot shots about noise? Condemn both funerals and weddings of whichever ethnic group. Castigate RC block parties with loud karaoke sessions. Call for senior citizen’s corners and kindergartens to be moved because the old people and the kids are too noisy. I suppose that’s just being a bad neighbour – and not too bad. She might even have people flocking to her cause – can we have a void deck that is void please?
I am going to cut Amy Cheong some slack – and ask that others do so too. It’s good that the online community weighed in against her, but there’s really no need to go post pictures of her family online is there? And why be as foul-mouthed as she was? She has been sacked – and hounded out of the country. Being a national pariah is enough punishment I think, more than anything the legal system can mete out. Enough already. No need to exact pound of flesh.
I’m glad the Malay community has kept silent. Thank you for your tolerance.

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