Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Amy's Story

Seventy cents is really too much to pay for a trash tabloid like The New Paper (TNP), but it carries the only recorded quotes from someone hounded out of the cowboy town. Joining in a virtual gang bang reminiscent of the thrashing rained on Rodney King in Los Angeles, the shocking list includes Tan Chuan-Jin (1.30 pm), Tharman (4.30 pm), Shanmugam (5.30 pm) and Lee Hsien Loong (6.30 pm).  Even Pol Pot was offered a chance to tell his story to an international tribunal before he died, Slobodan Milošević actually had his day before the International Criminal Tribunal. So why was this woman condemned so swiftly without being heard? The excepts are from the TNP telephone interview:

It was a bad hair day. For past weeks the noise pollution at a typical Singapore congested neighborhood had worn her down,
"It never stopped. There were funerals, karaoke sessions, and weddings.  Not to mention the fact that my neighbors' flats were undergoing renovation. There were loud drilling sounds as early as eight in the morning."

On Saturday, the decibel level was raised,
"I wasn't sure exactly what it was, but I saw a lot of Malay people dressed-up, and they were heading to a void deck where banners had been set up.
I knew it was some sort of celebration, so I assumed it was a wedding."

It was a Malay wedding, with a slight difference.  Instead of the traditional soothing rhythms of the "kompang", modern equipment was there to amplify her pain,
"I was really cranky that day because all week long, I had been looking forward to the weekend to get some rest. There was someone screaming into a microphone and I tried closing all my windows and doors, but it was still very noisy."

It was not her first. She claimed that she had previously made a Facebook posting questioning whether there were more appropriate places apart from void decks to hold events like weddings, funerals and karaoke sessions.
"I've always been very blunt and vocal, but what I said had nothing to do with race. It was about the situation.  At that time, I didn't think carefully about what I was saying because I was venting my frustration."

Nobody paid attention to her previous rant. This time was different. Within hours, a reported 12,000 converged on  the NTUC Membership Facebook page. It goes to prove, membership has its privileges.
"I was just shocked.  I totally didn't expect something like this to happen and when I saw the petition to get me fired, I was astonished at how far people would go to get back at somebody."

How far the nice folks went to get back at somebody.
"When they were abusing me, that's fine.  But when they started posting pictures of my family members and verbally abusing them too.  I felt it was really uncalled for."

There are two sides to a coin. Noor Mohamed Marican, legal adviser and council member of the Inter-Religious Organisation Singapore could empathise with her plight, "It happened when she was frustrated and emotional.  Although we cannot take her action lightly, we also cannot over-punish her."

Her fan club (see below) got their pound of flesh, and Amy got out before they confiscated her passport. As in the Tale of Two Cities, she can now say, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." Perth is very nice this time of the year, especially when the wild flowers are out at King's Park.

Also from Charles Dickens,
"Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend," observed the Marquis, "will keep the dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof," looking up to it, "shuts out the sky."

34 comments:

  1. Thanks for giving us a different perspective. Politicians should just shut up and leave the poor lady alone.

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  2. Regarding the noise, she should have just called the police or make a police report as what that wise, retired, lowly ranked policeman did.

    The time of the excessive noise complained of is immaterial. When the police are called, they have to turn up to moderate the exuberance.

    But then, yes, that day was a bad hair day and she didn't think straight.

    For me and for all who wishes to express their frustration in this pressure cooker little, heterogenous island, this sorry episode is a valuable lesson. Don't take it off your chest and rant online because you may never know when you might step on a nest of venomous vipers in the jungles of the internet.

    Just call the police.

    No one can fault you for that.

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  3. What seems to be overlooked in all this noise is the following: She is a malaysian by birth. She is a Australian citizen. She is here as a PR.Why are NTUC hiring PRs who cannot appreciate our customs and traditions. Has her PR been revoked? Why is a foreigner allowed to interfere in Singapore. Can NTUC tell us how many foreigners are they employing and in what positions? You mean they cannot find a Singapore citizen to be a Asst Director in membership??

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    1. Gahment definition of a PR is local, FT turned local- More hard-driving and brash as commented by a former colleague.Pappies love them.

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  4. See how the crowd can be unleashed to feed on frenzy? This is reminiscent of Maoists red guards unleashed to bite at designated target for maximum political effect - commander in chief shouted "at your own time, fire at will"! The powers that be must be feeling like Mitt Romney, their PR machine took full advantage of the mass (and social) media fully, AND BEFORE YOU BLINKED TWICE THE EMPIRE HAS STRuCKED BACK. They must be feeling the Intrade polls on ascent, closing the popularity gap. Next up, the PR machine will fully exploit the "episode" in msm editorials, talk shows on tv - this will conclusively prove that singaporeans are intolerant, that they shud repent, and accept all FT. Bravo, the table has been turned, and mti would have license to import more than 100k (this year-to-date, already exceeded 80k for whole of last year), all is happy and GDP bonus is still on track. And be prepared, they will change the law on anonymity of bloggers before the next election. Red dot is no Korea, social media will not be allowed to change status quo, its too lucrative for them.

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  5. we all are doomed then....

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  6. Call the police for help?
    Why not also try asking your Millionaire in Parliament for help.

    Both are just as effective and quick in their action and response.

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  7. The case has been blown out of proportion. Yes, she made a mistake but she has apologized. I thought we wanted to be a more accommodating society...

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    1. I dont think so. It take a spark to cause a fire. When it involves race and religion, we have to be very careful, mindful of the sensitivities.

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  8. I am shock to see the rather quick sacking of Amy. Granted, her "crime" is serious but does our law allow judgement before a hearing? Is the acused not allow to explain before a decision is made? I would think NTUC should first suspend her position and conduct an inhouse inquiry. Only they are satisfied that she is indeed violated the house rule, then remove her.

    Is NTUC reactive and panic easily? What do you think?

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    1. It is too much for NTUC - a PR disaster not to sack her.If we are facing pressure from all sides arising from the FT policies, our Malay brethens had it worse.

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  9. Who is the greatest culprit when it comes to destroying people's life's and careers over the slightest mistakes or indiscretions than anyone make? What kind of society do we want to live in? Compared to this, some people are downright ruthless in their remarks and deeds and yet nobody make any police report!

    We are human beings after all, why can't we just live and let live.

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    Replies
    1. You mean like suing for bankruptcy? He who can talk about venomous religion owns this place!

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  10. Alan, agree with you. Think top offcials must show good example. Punishment without letting acused a chance to tell the truth is high handed and being scared. Not good reflection of leedership.

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  11. I don't think the punishment is severe. She is Malaysian PR working in SG in NTUC who is supposed to represent the workers. And here she is a (i) foreigner who cannot appreciate our culture (ii) she did not just complain the noise -- please read her post about Malay weddings are not "real" weddings and will lead to divorce and not forgetting calling the bride and groom ass holes etc. If you are a boss at NTUC, would you still keep an employee like that? She is after all a Assistant Director at NTUC and the moment she opens her mouth is F here and F there and make racist comment? And did you know that she said such racist comment is "generic"? Just put yourself into the shoes of the boss. Would you keep an employee like that, esp when she is supposed to work for NTUC and have some compassion? No matter what, your employees represent the company.

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    1. You have your point and I am not defending Amy too. My point is that she should be fired but not until she has a chance to clarify. NTUC can always suspend her first and sack her later.

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    2. I believe she had a chance to explain to NTUC before being fired. Just that her explanation is probably not good enough and that interview obviously not broadcast to the public. What makes you so sure she wasn't given a chance to explain to her employer?

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    3. What ever her side of the story is irrelevant to the management of any company or institution.

      The decision had been made, if any "hearing" is conducted its purely for show and for the record that due justice was given.

      Do not believe this human resource shit about having your say. If I am the boss, I am the boss, I hired you, I can fire you.

      Even by proxy.

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    4. When do we have a case such as this, when it warrant 5 ministers coming within a span of hours commenting? I dont think it is wayang, probably anxiety that it may evolved into something disastrous if not nipped.

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  12. And did you realise the recent complaints about
    noise during our cultural activities are usually made by foreigners, e.g. curry saga and now Amy Cheong (Australian)? We also need to send a message to these PRs and foreigners that when they come our lovely country Singapore - they have to learn to appreciate our melting pot of culture, e.g. getai during hungry ghost month, Malay weddings, Chinese funeral and burning of incense etc. And her FB post is a PUBLIC post BTW, so it was her intention for her views to be heard by the public. I find it ridiculous foreigners coming to my country and saying our culture is not "proper". I think Singaporeans are kind enough and did not ask our government to revoke her PR. And if I were her boss in NTUC, I would have fired her too. Its not just the noise, its about her attitude and beliefs that is rather dangerous and should never be promoted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once upon a time, we were the masters of our land. Then someone decided to bring in many more foreigners without any limit. Now we are no more masters but mere servants in our own land. Many of us have foreigners as bosses. That is not bad if they are really clever but are they?

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    2. Yes yes, you are certainly entitled to fire anyone as long as you are the boss; however, in a more open society with some form of protection for labour, you would have to explain why you think an employee's beliefs and attitude would warrant her/his dismissal. You would be speaking not only to the Union but also the jury or the judges and most likely you will end up having to pay dearly for your decision, but yes, apart from this little legal detail, as long as you are the boss, you have the right to fire anyone.

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    3. Workers are workers... they work.

      Please do not be deluded that democracy, unionism, and all this humanity shit is the way to go.

      I pay, you work.
      I dont like you, I fire you
      Got a problem with that?

      Your Unions are mangers in disguise.

      Delete
    4. We were told by government that we are in the First World. We expect accountability and proper process be it sacking or demotion.

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    5. Amy could have been a Singaporean. Why all these rantings about foreigners? Cool down.

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    6. I see such outbursts as the result of pentup frustration of people. Not about racism but over crowding, lost of jobs to FT, hight housing, unable to afford to buy cars, low pay and long hours. Will the PM sack the ministers responsible?

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    7. We might claim that Amy Cheong was a foreigner by default and hence added to the racial insensitivities in Singapore, but that aside, there are definitely local Singaporeans who believe the same things as her, or at least have a denigratory view of Malays. I used to have a friend--a female at that who was educated in the UK--who actually claimed as a preschool teacher that "Malays are full of drama and I do not stick around with them"! That is a sweeping generalization on her part, but attests to the prevalence of some prejudices existing among some Singaporeans as well. I am not sure that by meting out this so-called punishment on Amy Cheong to sack her, that things are any better. Singaporeans need to first deal with the ones among themselves who have these racist attitudes towards minorities instead of just getting riled up over Amy Cheong alone, as much as it is valid and understandable to do so.

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  13. "I pay, you work.
    I dont like you, I fire you
    Got a problem with that?
    Your Unions are mangers in disguise."

    Hey Tattler, LKY has joined your forum, welcome Yoda!

    ReplyDelete
  14. "1976: A motion for explusion of the PAP was placed before the Socialist International conference. The goverment announced that 50 alleged communist suspects had been arrested in recent months. Several days later the PAP withdrew voluntarily from the Socialist International.
    LawyerSubhas Anandan was detained for 10 months without trial under the Criminal Law(Temporary Provisions) Act. Further arrests of alleged pro-communist fromwide-ranging backgrounds included several critical journalists. The editor of "Nanyang Siang Pau" was rearrested in December during the general electionsin which he was a candidate for the United Front Party. He remained in detention until 22.1.79 after being deprived of his Singapore citizenship underthe Banishment Act in October 1978." unquote.

    [PDF]Report of the International Mission of Jurists - WordPress.com
    http://remembering1987.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/1987-07-05-report-of-the-international-mission-of-jurists-to-spore.pdf

    (Feed Me To The Fish Amy Cheong is not Lee Kuan Yew)
    http://feedmetothefish.blogspot.sg/2012/10/amy-cheong-is-not-lee-kuan-yew.html#links

    Joshua Chiang

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  15. Amazing how one FB post can cover so many issues: Ranting in public, the level of racism, void deck activities and weddings in particular, divorce rates, retribution, punishment, the involvement of one's employer and the govt in such matters, the distinction betw private and public "space", the hiring of foreigners, sedition, face, crowded spaces, noise levels, clash of cultures etc etc

    It is excellent that we are having a "national conversation" on such issues. These are things which really matter and need to be discussed.

    It is also obvious that being able to "Chill" is something which is becoming rare and endangered in this country, together with Integrity and Tolerance. As blogger Gintai would pronounce, "Lsnggar"! And big time too.

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  16. Many rats and much wayanging.

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  17. Perhaps NTUC must come out and explain why they do not employ local for the post. We have many world top universaties and yet NTUC which is suppose to "fight" for our rights, refuse to employ locals. Why?

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    Replies
    1. The locals have a "fight" risk, while with PR/Singaporean, there is no risk on the next "flight" out.
      Can anyone explain why there are no locals for MPs job?

      Delete
  18. No To Unethical Chinaism

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