Home > Uncategorized > The Curious Case of Amy Cheong

The Curious Case of Amy Cheong

When I logged into Facebook yesterday (8 October, 2012) I read with horror Amy Cheong’s posting. Her comments were vile. Obviously angered by the noise of a Malay wedding, she made her contemptuous posting on FB. Not only did she complain about the noise, she mocked the Malay community for being too cheap to hold their weddings at hotels. She bandied about a $50 dollar wedding figure and insinuated that Malay divorce rates were high because of their low-cost weddings.

I could not believe what I read. Especially when she retorted in later comments that whoever did not like what they read could just buzz off her FB wall and read something else.  At first I was riled. Then I felt sorry for her. She was recklessly stupid. How could someone her age not understand that Facebook is public domain, no matter your security settings? How could she have so little self-control and let her fury blind her to the consequences of her words?

 Note to self- remind my children not to make stupid, unnecessary comments on Facebook.

What troubled me even more was the swift baying for blood.  Yahoo article The Amy Cheong Saga  outlined the unfolding of events. I tried to understand why it was so troubling – after all, I was offended by her comments too.

My son got married exactly a year ago. I cannot imagine such a joyous occasion to be celebrated silently. In fact, I had a little party for my neighbours at my end of the corridor – and they were so happy, decorating the lift landing, offering their tables and chairs and having so much fun. The rest of the neighbours smiled, even though they were not invited, and waved their congratulations.  No Amy Cheongs in my neighbourhood.

So no, I cannot understand nor excuse her tirade. Still, the attacks against her trouble me. Why???

Perhaps this song (“Everybody’s a Little Bit Racist Sometimes from Avenue Q”) helps explain part of the reason why. Thanks Donaldson from New Asia Republic for posting it. It answers part of my discomfiture. We ARE all a little bit racist. I mean, especially living overseas, I have been called unsavoury names. I have also made racist jokes. So who am I to judge?

I also felt that the demands for her to be fired, and for that demand to be so swiftly met, extremely perturbing. She made a terrible statement online, doubtless, but to get the sack so swiftly? There was no denying she wrote horrible comments – but was she a regular racist? Did she discriminate her staff based on race?  Or was this a one-time whopper of a blooper?

Surely to condemn someone so publicly, the investigation has to be more thorough than that? I mean, I agree that there should be some form of disciplinary action, but public sacking? Hey, warts and all, she is a human being. Must we step on her face and then push it further into the dirt?

I also found it highly unusual for ministers to jump on the bandwagon so quickly.  There was even a police report. Goodness. One would have thought she was inciting racial war! The truth was her statements drew flak from the Chinese community as well. We all thought it rotten of her to speak so poorly of our Malay compatriots. Especially since her statements were unsubstantiated. So there was no danger of any racial disharmony through her words. Our Malay friends were clear too – they condemned her, not the rest of the Chinese Community. So what racial disharmony? It was the case of one stupid girl getting flamed for her own comments.

Contrast this to previous elitist comments from the likes of Wee Shu Min. The reaction from the MIW was so swift and uncompromising here. Have they learnt to be on their toes? Is that why? Really?

Then there were her apologies. And boy did she make many. Again contrast this to previous elitist statements. Hardly any apologies were forthcoming then. I did not read them in detail – I just did not have the stomach to. Some said her apologies missed the point – perhaps so. But the number of apologies that she made in one morning told me something. Sorry or not, she was a terrified girl. Despite that, the onslaught came fast and furious. Made me wonder, have we all gone so cold? Hadn’t the punishment gone as far as it should? Was it not time to stop?

Granted we need to practise racial tolerance and acceptance. We need to accept religious differences. We even need to take in our strides noisy renovations without lashing out at our new neighbours. Still, don’t we have the occasional frustrated outbursts that are far from tolerant, that make us seem racist or practising religious bigotry?

There is something else about this whole matter that troubles me. Is vindication so swift because it is easier to attack one rather hapless individual? That there is pent up anger elsewhere that cannot be released, so we let loose here? That we have found a common “enemy” , so ministers feel safe to condemn?

My next question – will the actions taken eradicate racism? Or are we just building an environment of fear? If the latter, there will be latent resentment. And what does this mean for the future of social media and the penning of our unreserved thoughts? Will policing be the natural consequence given this very unfortunate event?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. joyce
    October 9, 2012 at 4:17 am

    I totally agree with you however the graveness of her comments to the extent of cursing is something uncalled for. If she want to rant then do it else where where there is more privacy but in this social domain where it allows everyone to have a voice, and opinions, she must have known that what she said has wider implications. If the govt does not take action, or react, it would mean they are not taking a clear stand and social harmony is what our govt should be a reflection of. The govt is in other words forced to take action because of her ignorance or whatever state she was in when she typed those remarks

  2. yin
    October 9, 2012 at 5:32 am

    this is what we call the mob mentality….most would jump in almost immediately if there was an impromptu leader, never mind if we know the person or not. not just in this particular case, but many other kind of cases. even i have been guilty of such actions. as for being racists, you are right, there will always be a lil of that in all of us, just like everything else. don’t get me wrong, i have nothing against other races, but i have come across very unsavory people of certain races thus that brings out that side of me which i would end up cussing silently going “bloody (insert race)” just cos of that unsavory character. in fact i had once so vehemently commented to a friend about how a certain race cannot be trusted due to the ones i had met while living overseas, mind you, my friend was of that particular race and that had ended up hurting my friend >.< end of the day we all really need to engage our brains in gear first before engaging mouth. easier said then done at times, but we have learn to exercise caution on so many other matters, why not exercise caution too on making such a remark where it could rile up tempers? all in all other thing we need to learn is, some comments are best left unsaid and kept to one self, and facebook or twitter is really a social media app for socializing and keeping in touch with friends. yes given once in a while we do rant and vent but keep it general and make it funny 😛

    and one last thing, this is not about freedom of speech here, if freedom of speech is to be exercised, it needs to be exercised with great responsibilities.

    • SpeakSpokeWriteWrote
      October 9, 2012 at 5:43 am

      Yes – i agree …esp about responsibilities…so there is no way i support her comments. In fact, there is absolutely nothing wrong for NTUC to sack her either – it’s the way the whole thing unravelled that made me feel very uncomfortable

  3. ape@kinjioleaf
    October 9, 2012 at 5:46 am

    If the sedition act is to be invoked, who will it apply to? Amy Cheong or the commenters who flamed her post?

    NTUC sacked her publicly. Why? Only NTUC knows but I guess it’s because of her position, the department she is supposedly assisting to heading and her fb references to NTUC.

    I have the same reservations as you on the possible outcome – eliminate racism or building environment of fear. Looking at the comments in 9cag fb (where I first spotted this issue) by and large, I see comments were generally towards racial harmony. So I remain positively confident that most people are working towards racial harmony, defending our fellow Singaporeans regardless of race, language or religion… instead of taking the offensive.

  4. melandra
    October 9, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Notice how swift and hard they came down on Amy Cheong but it was definitely less swift and harsh when it was Sun Xu making disparaging remarks on Singaporeans in general. The disparity is a little obvious. I wonder if it is because she is a Singaporean and Sun Xu is a foreign student, hence there is less repercussions in meting out the punishment on her, OR is racism a more intense issue than someone dissing our entire country? Is there some kind of bias here?

  5. ObserverOne
    October 10, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Dear Speakspokewritewrote,

    You did not write on this blog for a very long time. Now you are back. I am very happy.

    One word to summarize all: maturity.

    We lack of maturity in many aspects of our society. Including our current leaders at all level, their maturity is not comparable to previous generation.

  6. April 10, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this
    website before but after reading through some of the post I
    realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

    • SpeakSpokeWriteWrote
      April 10, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Thank you for the kind comments. Been rather lazy lately to blog. haha..so don’t hold your breath for new posts!

  1. October 13, 2012 at 2:56 am

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