Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Irrational? Not So

Member of Parliament (MP) Baey Yam Keng recent defense of Chinese scholar Sun Xu is still making the rounds in Singapore. Chinese scholar Sun Xu's remarks that "there are more dogs than humans in Singapore" has caused outrage in Singapore and Mr. Baey had to apologize for his defense of Mr. Sun. Now it seems some people are unhappy with Mr. Baey’s apology.

Ng Bin Hong, in a letter to the Today newspaper on 5 March, expressed disappointment at Baey's apology saying that, "Mr Baey, in urging us to examine if our society is walking in a healthy direction, was one of the few voices acknowledging the social problem we face today…His comments did not undermine Singaporeans but, rather, cautioned against discrimination and bigoted behaviour. It is unfortunate that he ultimately apologised because of irrational, populist sentiments."

Now I have said before the outrage over the comment by Mr. Sun is a storm in a teacup. I don’t truly understand why Singaporeans are outraged about it because to me, it seems pretty clear both foreigners and Singaporeans dislike each other. Singaporeans do not like foreigners as they are competing for jobs and housing with Singaporeans. Most foreigners in Singapore have little to no desire to integrate with Singapore society as most of them have no intention of staying here long-term. Most of them want to return to their home country once they earned their money.

Basically, I don’t quite understand why there’s an outrage because the comment by Mr. Sun is so expected. So what if he’s a scholar, I’m quite certain Mr. Sun is not the only foreigner in Singapore who has said disparaging things about Singaporeans.

However I have to say Mr. Ng’s criticism of Mr. Baey’s apology is so strange it seems to be from another planet. Mr. Ng said that Mr. Baey had bowed down to irrational, populist sentiments from Singaporeans.

Now I don’t know much about Mr. Ng but I have to say I don’t find Singaporeans’ reaction to Mr. Sun’s comments to be either irrational or populist. If Mr. Ng goes to China, India, Australia or any other country and called the people living in that country “dogs”, what do you think it’s going to happen? Mr. Ng must have a very rosy tinted view of foreign countries if he thinks people will not react the same way Singaporeans did.

Just as I think Mr. Sun’s comments to be expected from a foreigner living in Singapore, I find Singaporean’s reaction to his comments to be expected as well! If some foreigner comes to your country and call your countrymen “dogs”, you will react. I don’t care which country you’re from; it’s common human reaction.

For Mr. Ng to say find Singaporeans’ reaction to Mr. Sun’s comments to be irrational; well…that’s just out of this world..

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