Since Sunday evening till this afternoon, there has been a huge outcry from the public towards the issue of Amy Cheong, former Assistant Director of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) in Singapore and her racist status update and remarks on Facebook.

Amy Cheong’s Racist Remarks on Facebook

The rage started from her racist remarks, to the improper action/words from a personnel holding an important position in a corporate organization, and slowly moved towards the issue of online privacy.

Now Amy Cheong had a taste of her action. Since Monday morning, here are updates following up to her post:

Firstly, a member of the public – Lionel Jerome de Souza, who is the secretary of Hougang’s Inter-Racial and Confidence Circle (IRCC), which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports – had filed a police report towards Amy Cheong’s Facebook status post. (More details can be read from Yahoo! News)

After that, NTUC with immediate effect  fired the services of Amy Cheong. (More details can be read from Yahoo!News , TodayOnline, StraitTimes & AsiaOne )

Secondly, it is clearly stated in The Sedition Act which is in Chapter 290 of the Statutes of Singapore and was last revised in 1985:

Sedition Act (Singapore): Seditious tendency.

Subsection 3 of the Act describes the types of publication that have seditious tendency and these includes publication that promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes. (Information credited from Sedition Act (Singapore))

So I guess it is pretty clear to all, she will have to face the music for her own act sooner or later.

Thirdly is online privacy, which everyone is concerned about. Currently there are social media  platforms that act as tools for each individual, group and organization to be connected in one way or another. Through the Internet, we communicate and share through the use of words, pictures, videos and many others. These binary information are shared worldwide as long your setting is programmed to be Open to the Public.

Amy Cheong’s racist remarks is not the first case in Singapore, so there shouldn’t be any issues or disclaimers with regards to online privacy.

Here are others similar cases that happened previously:

  1. In September 2005, two men were charged with making seditious and inflammatory racist comments on the Internet forums in response to a letter printed in The Straits Times.
  2. On July 14 2005, The Straits Times published a letter from a Muslim woman asking if cab companies allow uncaged pets to be transported in taxis, after she saw a dog standing on a taxi seat next to its owner. She said that “dogs may drool on the seats or dirty them with their paws”, which her concerns had a religious basis. Two days later, on Singaporean dog lovers, a posted response was construed as anti-Muslim, according to the charges. The author pleaded guilty and served one day in jail on top of a $5,000 fine.
  3. Another man was accused of making similar racist remarks filled with vulgarities insulting the Malays and their religion. He also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one month imprisonment.
  4. On September 16 2005, a third person – 17-year-old Gan Huai Shi – was also charged with the Sedition Act for making racist remarks on his blog site titled “The Second Holocaust”.
  5. In June 2006, it was reported that a 21-year-old blogger going by the moniker of “Char” was under police investigation for posting cartoon depictions of Jesus Christ on the Internet.
  6. On April 15 2008, the Straits Times reported that a middle-aged Christian couple, Ong Kian Cheong and his wife Dorothy Chan, were charged on the same day under both the Sedition Act and the Undesirable Publications Act with distributing seditious publications to two Muslim women in 2007.
  7. on June 28 and 29 2006, police have arrested two male 17-year-olds for posting racist remarks online which it said ‘could promote ill-will and hostility between different races in Singapore’.

These case studies are enough to demonstrate and showcase to everyone that information shared on the Internet – regardless whether it is on Facebook, personal website, blogs or anywhere else – is basically open for all to read and see.

On the Facebook User Agreement, I read:

Facebook Agreement for User

Facebook Agreement for User

I guess all the information provided above are clear enough to show that Amy Cheong is at fault, and no matter what happens, she will have to bear the consequences.

Lastly, I would like express my opinion towards the problem of racism in general. Singapore is a multi-racial country. Our population is formed with 4 main races – Chinese, Malay, Indian & Eurasians. All of us learn the art & culture of one another; we learn to appreciate and understand one another. We live together on this small island, and naturally we have friends, perhaps even good friends who are of a different race from us.

But from my observation, it seems like Malay-Muslims are the ones that are always being targeted with such racist remarks from the other races. Browsing through the Internet, most netizens should be able to understand and agree with me on this.

Personally, being a Chinese, I have very close friends who are non-Chinese. To me, there are not much differences between us.

If you are reading this post until this point, I guess you should have the same thought as mine: does race, religion, color as well as nationality make any difference between all of us?