Facebook comment confirms "deep fault lines" in S'pore society: K Shanmugam
Updated 06:11 PM Oct 08, 2012
SINGAPORE - Ex-NTUC staff Amy Cheong's Facebook comments have confirmed that there are "deep fault lines" based on race/religion in Singapore society, said Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam today.
Writing in a Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam said Ms Cheong's comments and conduct "are shameful and completely unacceptable".
"This confirms what I had long suspected and said: there are deep fault lines in our society, based on race/religion," he wrote.
Ms Cheong had posted a comment on Malay weddings at void decks on her personal Facebook page on Sunday. In response, the NTUC today said it terminated the services of Ms Cheong, who was an Assistant Director in its Membership Department.
Noting that the emergence of the Internet and social media "frees some people to say what is really in their hearts", Mr Shanmugam said: " Her comments reflect a deep seated racist attitude coupled with contempt for those who are less well off, or who wish to spend less."
Referring to a 2002 speech he had made in Parliament, where Mr Shanmugam urged Singaporeans to reflect on the attitudes of non Malays are towards Malays, he added: "We will be a truly civilised society only when we deep in our hearts accept everyone as equal."
"I am glad that NTUC took swift action to terminate her employment. This should send a message that such conduct will not be tolerated," he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam today also commended the NTUC for its quick action in terminating Ms Cheong.
In a Facebook post, Mr Tharman said her comments were offensive not only to Malay-Muslims, but to the rest who value Singapore's multi-racial spirit.
Earlier today, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin wrote on his Facebook page that he "embrace(s) and celebrate(s)" Singapore's diversity.
While many activities, such as the burning of offerings, void deck funerals and weddings, could seem to "intrude into our personal space", Mr Tan urged Singaporeans to "give and take".
"Many are proud of this colourful tapestry that we have here. This is part of what it means to be Singaporean. The reaction of some individuals do not reflect the values that the rest of us hold on to," he said.
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