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Posts Tagged ‘Amy Cheong’

Kancheong over Amy Cheong Part 3

In News Reports, Politics, Society on October 10, 2012 at 5:52 am

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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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.

Kancheong over Amy Cheong

In News Reports, Politics, Society on October 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

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.