A woman, Tan Beow Hiong, 57, is charged with one count of public nuisance and two counts of knowingly committing an act that is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious or racial groups and disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquillity.
A YouTube channel that purportedly belonged to her was terminated for violating the platform’s harassment and cyberbullying policies.
She also got fired from her job at Knight Frank Singapore.
Yes, you can get fired for being racist. Just ask the Ngee Ann Poly lecturer, Mr Tan Boon Lee.
So what do you do when you believe that an incident is racist in nature?
Make a police report.
Make a police report so that a thorough investigation can take place.
It is quite clear in the PA saga involving the use of Sarah Bagharib’s wedding photo without permission and using it for the wrong occasion that it is a case of cultural ignorance and not racism.
A police report would have allowed for a thorough investigation of how it happened. Did the photo belong to the vendor? If not, how was it sourced? Was copyright infringed? And so on. There are existing laws to deal with copyright issues.
This would have saved a lot of people a lot of angst. A mistake by an individual should not be projected onto a whole organisation to tarnish the image of thousands of volunteers who give of their time to serve in the community. They come from a cross-section of people from all races.
The PA saga highlights how we not only do not know each other well enough. We don’t even know ourselves well enough.
A few years ago, during the debate on the Reserved Election for the Presidency, Singaporeans were loud about how we were a post-race people.
Even then, during the debate on the amendment to the Presidential Elections Bill, we know that people do make distinctions between the races and sometimes, who your family members are, appear to matter.
For example, during the debate, WP Pritam Singh asked:
“In the case of an inter-racial marriage, what if the spouse of the applicant does not see himself or herself to be a part of the Indian community whereas the aspiring candidate does?
What if the spouse has converted to Islam in order to marry but does not partake in the practices of the faith?”
Fast forward to today, we now know how wrong we were to think that we were a post-race people.
We are always work-in-progress. We will do well not to weaken the social fabric of our society but to treasure what we have built over the years.
There are laws to deal with racism. You can even go to jail for racism as “SharonLiew86” (or real name Zainal Abidin Shaiful Bahari) found out.
Make a police report. Let there be a thorough investigation. And let the culprit be dealt with.