Monday, 13 July 2015

MRT Hero Stood Up To Bully

Update 15 Jul 2015: Employer should take action against man who threatened teen on MRT, says Shanmugam
Mr Shanmugam, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs, also praised Elfy for standing up for the teenager. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

The actions of an MRT commuter who threatened a teenager who was wearing an expletive-bearing t-shirt was an act of "unacceptable bullying", said Minister for Law K Shanmugam on Tuesday night.

Last week, a video of a man who started threatening a teenager, who reportedly wore a t-shirt which had the words 'I'm F--king Special', on an MRT train circulated widely on social media.

In the video, another man named Elfy stood up for the teenager and confronted the aggressor.

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Readers Comments:
What action are you going to take if he is employer himself
Why is shanmugam asking the employer to take action? Why can't he, as minister, do so?
Now that our law minister has come out and commented that the ang moh was sick in the head, then we need to ask why the SOC police officers did not think so and allowed the ang moh to continue riding the MRT
He called for the man’s employer to take action against him, saying he “brings his organisation into disrepute”

Who's the real offender?
Are we practising double standards here when it comes to foreigners?

Are we quick to condemn them when they are out of line, but slow to check our own behaviour?

On July 7, a teenager boarded the train at Bishan station around 11pm with a T-shirt proudly proclaiming "I'm F****** Special".

An older man, obviously offended by the T-shirt, loudly berated the youth, challenged him to a fight and threatened to throw him out of the train at Ang Mo Kio station.

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In a shocking article which has attracted widespread condemnation from Singapore's netizen community, The New Paper (TNP) has released an editorial blaming the teenage victim of a very public and viral public spat on the MRT.

During the incident, a raging old Caucasian man had threatened to beat up a teenager wearing the T-shirt with the words, "I'm F--king Special" before Singapore hero Muhamad Hanafie and other commuters stepped in and forced the Caucasian man off the train instead.

In his article, TNP's Melvin Singh accused Singaporeans of being biased in their judgement against the Caucasian man because he is a foreigner, and further insulted Singaporeans by comparing the incident to an earlier one where a deranged Singaporean uncle yelled at a foreign Indian worker for accidentally brushing his arm against the former.


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The New Paper’s Melvin Singh personally defends himself using TNP’s Facebook account
The New Paper (TNP) has gone into defensive mode. Or rather, TNP veteran Melvin Singh has

This after the tabloid published an unwieldy, unpopular and poorly-argued opinion piece by Singh (pictured above right) that unnecessarily stirred the hornet’s nest after it was picked up by All Singapore Stuff, a website that has no qualms republishing unwieldy, unpopular and poorly-argued opinion pieces.

TNP’s piece, put out in the aftermath of the recent bullying incident on the MRT train, insinuated that part of the blame of the whole incident caught on camera lies with the victim, who was wearing a t-shirt that read “I’m F***ing Special”.

This, in Singh’s opinion, was tantamount to instigating the bully to behave in a threatening manner. Yes, this is coming from someone who has spent 20 years in journalism.

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Whence justice for douchebaggery?

The question is a serious one. Although Mr Shanmugam is free to suggest that any employer should take action, and it is encouraging that it both gratifies our bruised sense of justice and shows our intolerance towards twats, he does open up a can of worms. Why the employer rather than someone else? Are we making an assumption that the man is, first, a foreigner, second, here on a work pass, and third, that we want him to be deprived of his livelihood and get booted out of the country once his employment privileges are revoked? Does the punishment fit the crime?

How much should employers care about the personal lives of their employees? Was he pre-judging the situation, given that we know so little about this man’s mental health?

While it is gratifying to see an asshat suffer for what he has done, it is becoming increasingly common to ask employers to play the role of judge, jury and executioner, for example in the cases of Anton Casey and Amy Cheong (both of whom were fired but not charged with any crime) and further in the cases of Ello Ed Mundsel Bello, who was fired, then charged with sedition.

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K Shanmugam pass social responsibility to MRT bully’s employer

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam passed the bucket of social responsibility to the employer of the MRT bully who was caught on video heckling a young teenager for his t-shirt.

In a post on his Facebook page, Minister Shanmugam called the MRT bully “sick in the mind” and did not comment why didn’t the Police officers who attended to the incident issue a ticket for public nuisance. Under the Singapore’s Public Order and Nuisance Act, a person guilty of disorderly behaviour is liable for a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

However, even though there are legislated provisions to handle the MRT bully, Law Minister Shanmugam seems unaware and chose to comment that the troublemaker’s employer should act on the act instead.

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Shanmugam lauds man who stood up to bully
Mr Hanafie was speaking at an iftar session at the community club yesterday with young professionals and students. Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, who was at the session, said: "The bullying was unacceptable, and what Elfy did made me feel proud - standing up to a bully."

Mr Muhammad Hanafie Ali Mahmood, 25, had only one thing on his mind when he went up to stop a commuter from bullying another man in the MRT - to prevent a fight from erupting.

"I was worried that the bully would lay hands on the man," Mr Hanafie said.

Recounting the incident to reporters at Chong Pang Community Club yesterday, Mr Hanafie, who is unemployed, said he was riding the North-South Line train from Orchard at about 11pm last Tuesday with his girlfriend, Ms Nabilah Nasser, 23. Two men got on the train at Bishan, and out of the blue, the older man started to lash out at the younger man.

related: I just wanted to stop a fight: The man who stood up to the bully on the MRT train

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“Foreign workers help create good jobs for S’poreans: PM”

I refer to the reports “Foreign workers help create good jobs for S’poreans: PM” (Straits Times, 22 April) and “Foreign workers help to create more good jobs for Singaporeans: PM”.

The former states that:
“In his speech, Mr Lee [Hsien Loong] noted that six in 10 of the employees are ‘Singaporeans and permanent residents’. Singapore residents also take up two-thirds of the managerial and professional positions…”
Given the remarks at the end of the report – that the “Government’s foreign worker policy could emerge as a hot-button issue this election as some believe that it has hurt residents’ job prospects and depressed wages” –  I find it somewhat strange that even at this eleventh hour before the elections, the Prime Minister is still using “Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs)” statistics.

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Foreigners help create jobs for S’poreans: PM Lee
Contrary to the complaints of many Singaporeans, foreigners are actually creating more good jobs for citizens here, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday

Speaking at the opening of a S$3.7 billion wafer fabrication facility, PM Lee said that for every one foreign worker employed by the project proponent, IM Flash Singapore, 1.5 local jobs were created, The Straits Times reported.

The Intel and Micron-owned electronics plant in Woodlands boasts state-of-the-art technology, making memory chips used in popular electronic gadgets such as smartphones and tablet computers.

PM Lee cited statistics to rebut the notion that foreigners are competing with Singaporeans for jobs. He said that of the 1,200 workers at IM Flash Singapore, six in 10 employees are Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs), and four in 10 are foreigners.

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Why Did Other Singaporeans Not Speak Up Against The White Man?
The inaction of our Special Operations Command (特別行動指揮處)

According to the lady who uploaded the video, the police officers who appeared to be from the Special Operations Command merely asked the British man to calm down. They refused to watch the recorded evidence and even allowed the angry old man to take the same train together with them.

No effort at all was made to like bring him back for questioning or charge him for harassment and making threats.

I really wonder why so much resources was being spent prosecuting a 16 year old boy insulting Lee Kuan Yew but nothing much was done to a man who threatened physical violence and harassed an innocent commuter.

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The Singaporean blind spot that gets so glaring at times
Do you feel safe on the MRT?

That's what I wanted to shout when I saw the response by Singaporeans on this latest story about a white guy being abusive to a Singaporean young man on the MRT - the young man just sat there, passively receiving a barrage of abusive until this Malay man came to his rescue. The video is available here and it doesn't make for comfortable viewing. Now what truly pissed me off is the reaction I have seen from Singaporeans on social media because of their blind spot that is so huge, yet none of them seem to have spotted it. So please allow me to make the following points:
  • What is wrong with this young man?
  • What is wrong with the other passengers who did nothing, pretending not to see or hear anything?
  • What is wrong with the person who just stood there filming the whole incident?
  • What is wrong with all the Singaporeans who viewed the video but failed to notice anything wrong with their passive Singaporeans who stood by and did absolutely nothing to intervene?
  • What the f*ck is wrong with you Singaporeans?
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Always stand up for your rights

The video which showed him standing up to a Caucasian bully has gone viral and has chalked up a total of a million views on the original Facebook page where it was uploaded, and on The Online Citizen’s website as well.

The Malay man whom some have praised and called a hero apparently goes by the name “Elfy” or “Hanafie” and is known on Facebook as “Loony Gates“. Elfy was in the MRT train earlier this week when he stood up for a young man who was being verbally abused by a Caucasian man who took umbrage with the t-shirt the young man was wearing.
The t-shirt said, “I am f-king Special”
The video was posted online by Nabilah Nasser on her Facebook page.

related: Man stands up for another who was being abused in MRT train

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Man who insulted teen allowed to continue riding MRT: Commuter

The contributor, Nabilah, said on Facebook on Sunday that the man who threatened the teen had spoken to police officers at the platform.

According to Nabilah, the officers did not watch the video she recorded and told the man to calm down.
"When we tried to show what actually happened as (proof), they refused to watch. They allowed the angry old man to take the same train together with us,"
Eventually, the man decided to walk away after the police left, she said.

related: Commuter stands up to man who threatened teen on MRT train

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Brave guy stands up to old man who shouted at and threatened teen who wore offensive shirt on train

A brave man stood up to an unreasonable commuter who was threatening a teen for wearing a shirt with offensive words on it.

Stomper Nabilah witnessed the incident and alerted Stomp to it.

According to her, the T-shirt said: "I'm F--king Special”

In an email to Stomp she wrote:
"A teen was being insulted by a man because of what his T-shirt"
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Post-Casey, what expats must do

More and more Singaporeans are protesting against the influx of foreigners. What exactly is contributing to this xenophobia?

The Anton Casey saga spurred a public uproar with netizens responding angrily, displaying their unhappiness. A Singapore-based British wealth manager published a series of messages mocking ‘poor’ Singaporeans on his Facebook. The wealth manager eventually apologised through a PR company but his move was deemed insincere. He even received death threats made against his family, prompting him to flee to Australia after his firm fired him.

Not too long ago, Oliver Desbarres, a senior employee from Barclays berated, threatened and threw a metal sheet at a group of construction workers building a house next to his. He was immediately fired from his bank after a video of him went viral on cyberspace. Then there is the Australian expat cyclist who ran into a heated argument on two unrelated incidents. In one he was caught acting aggressively and spewing bile from his mouth at a female driver. He was captured on a camera footage shouting and banging on the lady’s car.

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British Expat Banker Apologises For Poor Judgment
A day after Mr Anton Casey left Singapore for Perth with his family, his company, Crossinvest Asia has announced that the senior wealth manager is no longer its employee. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF BERNICE WONG

In a statement on its Facebook page late Friday night, it said it is deeply concerned that Mr Casey's recent remarks on social media have caused great distress among Singaporeans. "Those comments go against our core corporate and family values that are based on trust, mutual understanding and are respectful of diversity," said the statement.

It said Crossinvest Asia is a family business and Mr Casey's comments "do not represent the culture that we have built over many years". "Accordingly, Crossinvest Asia and Mr Casey have parted ways with immediate effect," it added.

The Straits Times reported today that he and his family left Singapore for Perth on Friday. Mr Casey said it was because of "threats made towards my family". In an email response to The Straits Times, he apologised to the people of Singapore again and offered to do community work "to make amends for my mistakes".

Foreigners in our Midst
– TOC: Always stand up for your rights: MRT hero who stood up to bully
– Desparatebeep: It just takes a match
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: The Sporean blind spot that gets so glaring at times
– JeraldinePhneah: Why Did Other Sporeans Not Speak Up Against The White Man?
– My Singapore News: Is there a country called Singapore?

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Remember Anton Casey, he’s back!
Expats in the News

We can afford to forgive this arrogant twerp
Where has all our empathy gone?
British Expat Banker Apologises For Poor Judgment
MRT Hero Stood Up To Bully