Tuesday, 1 December 2015

‘Killing Children’ remarks ‘Insensitive and Inappropriate’: MLC chairman

Update 16 Dec 2015: Police report filed over ex-NMP Calvin Cheng’s ‘killing children’ remarks

A police report has been made against former Nominated Member of Parliament Calvin Cheng, over his Facebook comment about killing the children of terrorists.

The report was filed by a member of the opposition People’s Power Party (PPP).

On Nov 17, Mr Cheng posted a four-line comment online, which suggested killing the children of terrorists “in case they grow up to take revenge”.

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Killing Children
Calvin Cheng was a former Nominated Member of Parliament. He blogs on socio-political issues concerning Singapore here

That’s as stark as a title gets.

A few days ago, I wrote on a thread about liberalism and security that Devadas Krishnadas started on his page. He asked provocatively  “Where have all the liberals gone?”. A few liberals, including the Singapore Democratic Party-linked ` journalist’ Kirsten Han went to his page and started talking about amongst other things, the death penalty.

I waded in and said, “The terrorists are not common criminals, it's not about crime punishment and deterrence. They are a mortal enemy intent on killing and destroying. So you kill them before they kill you. And their children too in case they grow up to take revenge. It's as simple as that. Please don't complicate matters.”

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Calvin Cheng’s Facebook on Nov 25 at 7:53am Singapore

Over the last 48 hours, I have been the victim of a hate-campaign by the usual Opposition-supporting socio-political websites like TRE, WUS, ASS, TOC, as well as opposition-linked activists.

This hate campaign was galvanised by Kirsten Han, a treacherous 'journalist', who DURING Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's wake wrote to UK Newspaper The Guardian to criticise Singapore and Mr. Lee.

She wrote, "It’s hard to say where Singapore would be if it hadn’t been for Lee Kuan Yew. I’m not convinced that we would definitely have been worse off. I’m not even persuaded that the arrests and detentions were wise, much less vital to our survival. Knowing what I know now, I feel uncomfortable calling him the “founding father of Singapore”. I believe Singaporeans would have been capable of finding ourselves even without him."

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Calvin Cheng’s Facebook on Nov 28 at 01:31am Singapore

My final thoughts on the ISIS matter.

"To cut a long story short, the MLC agreed with me that I did not engage in hate speech, but that as an MLC member I must practice higher standards of sensitivity than private citizens. I should not have started off with that comment and opened myself up for attack by people waiting for the opportunity to do me in.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to my fellow MLC members, the MDA and my supporters for not having been more careful as a public figure who has made many enemies online in these 5 years."

related: Final Thoughts On My Post on ISIS

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Calvin Cheng's comments on 'killing children' insensitive, but not hate speech, says Media Literacy Council

Media Literacy Council (MLC) member Calvin Cheng has apologised for controversial comments he made online about killing the children of terrorists.

The comment that he made on Nov 17 appeared on a thread on the Facebook page of Mr Devadas Krishnadas, chief executive officer of the Future-Moves Group.

The four-line post by Mr Cheng seemed to advocate killing the children of terrorists "in case they grow up to take revenge".

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Calvin Cheng’s ‘killing children’ remarks ‘insensitive and inappropriate’: MLC chairman
Mr Calvin Cheng. TODAY FILE PHOTO

Recent remarks made by former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng online were “insensitive” and “inappropriate” for a member of the Media Literacy Council (MLC), said the council’s chairman Tan Cheng Han in a statement today (Nov 27).

“I have spoken to Mr Cheng and counselled him that as a member of the Council he will be held to and judged by a higher standard compared to a private citizen,” Professor Tan said.

On Nov 17, Mr Cheng posted a four-lined comment online, which seemingly advocated killing the children of terrorists “in case they grow up to take revenge”. Mr Cheng had been responding to a thread about liberalism and security started by Future-Moves group chief executive Devadas Krishnadas.

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Calvin Cheng’s ‘killing children’ remarks ‘insensitive and inappropriate’: MLC chairman

On Nov 17, Mr Cheng posted a four-lined comment online, which seemingly advocated killing the children of terrorists “in case they grow up to take revenge”. Mr Cheng had been responding to a thread about liberalism and security started by Future-Moves group chief executive Devadas Krishnadas.

After receiving negative feedback, Mr Cheng took to his blog on Nov 24 to elaborate further on his initial comment.

According to Mr Cheng, his initial comment was meant to be “provocative and outrageous” to spark deeper thought into a “complex moral issue”.

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I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that killing children is okay

Calvin Cheng makes it seem like an all-out extermination of an entire race is necessary for peace. Perhaps he chooses a less “complicated” world view that is congruent with his shallow understanding of Middle Eastern politics vis-a-vis the West. I’m afraid it is such banal reasoning that is the cause of most of the conflicts in the world we see today.

It is beyond me how someone of his prestige could make such a remark. I cannot imagine such words coming from the mouths of our ministers or other personages in high office. I am glad that none has surfaced.

It does not matter that Calvin Cheng is a member of the Media Literacy Council. He could very well be a part of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, or the Singapore Armed Forces for that matter, it does not matter.

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Cheng makes allegations against TOC; MLC chairman disagrees with Cheng

Former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) and current member of the Media Literacy Council, Calvin Cheng, has made an allegation against the editors of The Online Citizen (TOC).

In a Facebook post on 25 November, Mr Cheng charged that Ms Kirsten Han, who is a freelance journalist and who is also a member of the TOC editorial team, was a “treacherous journalist” who “galvanised” a “hate campaign” against him.

Mr Cheng charged Ms Han for being “unpatriotic… who DURING Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s wake wrote to UK Newspaper The Guardian to criticise Singapore and Mr. Lee.”

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Media Literacy Council: Calvin Cheng’s “kill children” comment is not hate-speech

The Singapore government’s Media Literacy Council’s chairman Professor Tan Cheng Han defended his council member, Calvin Cheng, who recently made headlines for his comments suggesting to kill children, as “not a hate speech”. However MLC did say Calvin Cheng’s post is insensitive and inappropriate, and the chairman has since spoken to him.
“Taking everything into consideration, I am unable to conclude that what Mr Cheng said as a whole amounts to hate speech.”
Below is the offending post made by Calvin Cheng, a former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) appointed by the ruling party PAP government:
“So you kill them (terrorists) before they kill you. And their children too in case they grow up to take revenge.”
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Kirsten Han’s Facebook on Nov 25 at 11:13pm

It has been suggested that I have been "treacherous" and am a "traitor" for having critiqued Lee Kuan Yew's legacy shortly after his death.

Calvin Cheng has the right to have this opinion. He also has the right to express them.
He also has the right to say, "So you kill them [terrorists] before they kill you. And their children too in case they grow up to take revenge." (This is what he said in a thread on Devadas Krishnadas' page in the wake of the Paris attacks.)

I do not think Calvin should be arrested or taken to court for expressing these views. The principles of freedom of speech means that he has the right to say them.

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Right, or far right? The beef with Calvin Cheng’s comment isn’t what was said - it’s who was saying it
(illustration taken from Calvin Cheng’s facebook)

For a few days now there has been a war of letters against Calvin Cheng, the former NMP turned establishment socio-political blogger, over a Facebook comment - and a subsequent Facebook post - on killing children.

At least that’s what he titles his response to the controversy over the comment, made in the wake of the Paris attacks. The children in particular - Islamic State child soldiers, and the children of Islamic State soldiers.

The original comment, which Cheng later claimed was meant to be “seemingly provocative and outrageous”, was to a mini-essay by former civil servant Devadas Krishnadas - also in response to Paris.

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Council of Ex-Muslims of Singapore - CEMSG

To Mr. Calvin Cheng, It's come to our attention at CEMSG that you are advocating the killing of the children of parents who subscribe to an extremist ideology, more specifically the Islamist ideology.

Here at CEMSG, we understand the importance of keeping Islamism and other radical religious ideologies at bay and that children, especially young teens to early twenties are the ones that recruiters target because this is a vunerable age for a lot of people when they try to find a group to belong to, and Ideologues like ISIS offer this.

But even then,we oppose the killing of human beings, especially the youth who are seduced by Islamist ideology, they're still humans who have every right to live and with help and understanding, can be shown the errors of their ways, take a look at a person like Maajid Nawaz, when he was a young man he was seduced by Islamism, was caught and locked up in Egypt, during which time Amnesty offered him a helping hand made him a prisoner of conscience, he rehabilitated himself and now hes running the Quilliam Foundation, a UK based organization whose purpose is to challenge extremist ideology, making it unattractive to the youth and anyone vulnerable to such propaganda by appealing to their rationality.

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Troubling nonchalance from the MLC on “killing children” remarks by its member
The following is an email sent to the chairman of the Media Literacy Council (MLC), Professor Tan Cheng Han, and the MLC committee members, on 27 November by the writer

Dear Mr Tan and members of the MLC, I write to express my utter amazement and complete disappointment at the seemingly nonchalant manner in which the Media Literacy Council (MLC) has responded to the Facebook postings of one of your members, namely Mr Calvin Cheng.

Mr Cheng, I am sure you are aware, was a former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), a title which he publicly utilises to identify himself.

Although Mr Cheng did not serve his full term as NMP, it is a title which he is most recognised for.  The title thus lends him some weight when expressing his views.

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EX-NMP CALVIN CHENG: ISRAEL HAS RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF, PALESTINE DOES NOT EXIST

Following his earlier suggestion that the children of terrorists should be murdered to prevent them from growing up to be killers, PAP's former Nominated MP Calvin Cheng has words of wisdom related to the Israel-Palestine conflict:

Calvin Cheng called for children to be killed, saying that people should take the lead from Israel (which is well-known for 'accidentally' killing children in the ongoing conflict with Palestinians) Calvin Cheng openly sided the Jews, saying that the United Nations is a corrupt, useless organization and that the Jews and the US have been trying hard to educate the world that Palestine does not exist.

Calvin Cheng would also like to tell Muslims that Israel legitimately bought the land, so there is no country called Palestine. He said Netanyahu (current Israel PM) and John McCain (Republican war-monger) are admirable, great men!

related: COUNCIL OF EX-MUSLIMS: CALVIN CHENG'S COMMENTS ARE WRONG

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Former NMP Cries Foul Over Hate Mail Spam for “Kill Children of Terrorists” Comments
Only one former nominated MP could whip up a sh*tstorm of derision of this magnitude

Calvin Cheng, who’s now a businessman and member of the Media Literacy Council, has lashed out at cyber-bullies for spamming him and his staff with hate mail, following his insights into how to manage terrorism.

Commenting on Facebook, he said:
  • “I have been the victim of a hate-campaign by the usual Opposition-supporting socio-political websites like TRE, WUS, ASS, TOC, as well as opposition-linked activists.”
  • “In the US, similar tactics were used to bombard Mozilla with email, who was then forced to sack their CEO for donating US$1,000 to a campaign that sought to make same-sex marriage illegal.
They are now doing the same to my poor employees who are being harassed every hour by emails sent repeatedly by these people.” It is unclear for now how many spam emails Cheng and co have received.

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938Live: Interview with Calvin Cheng
"You need to stand up to bullies. If someone punches you, you may have to sometimes punch back."
Former Nominated MP and media entrepreneur Calvin Cheng's political comments have attracted a lot of attention over the years - both positive and negative. He has also been criticised for the way he deals with those he perceives as "online trolls". He speaks to Bharati Jagdish "

On the Record" about what shapes his political views and what he thinks of some netizens' calls for the Media Literacy Council to unseat him as a member.

Tune in to the full interview on Friday (Nov 27) at 7:30am and 2:30pm. #OnTheRecord

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Blogger Battles
– Banalysis: Calvin Cheng: Singapore’s Donald Trump
– Online Citizen: I don’t want my children grow up thinking that killing children is ok
– Yahoo! SG: COMMENT: Singapore doesn’t need a Donald Trump

– RedwireTimes: Nicole Seah: Calvin Cheng Would Have Been Silenced by Now in
– The Middle Ground: The counselling of Calvin Cheng
– Online Citizen: Cheng makes allegations against TOC; MLC chairman disagrees
– crazyrandomchatter: Calvin Cheng’s masterclass how to get away posting hate
– NewNation: Terrorists worldwide praise ‘kill children’ comment by S’porean man
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Why MLC has to talk about Calvin
– Everything Also Complain: Calvin Cheng on the killing of terrorists’ children
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: Calvin Cheng: I told you so lah!
– Jeraldine Phneah: 4 Things Which Annoy Me About Online Political Discussions

– Calvin Cheng: Over the last 48 hours, I have been the victim of a hate-campaign
– Kirsten Han: It's been suggested that I have been “treacherous” and am a “traitor”
– The Yishus: Right, or far right?
– 938Live: Interview with Calvin Cheng