Singapore is a multi-religious and multi-racial society. Its citizens cram themselves daily onto the public transport system, and HDB flats – the preferred public housing – ensure they live in close proximity to each other. Most public schools have a good mix of races. You would have thought that living day-to-day in close contact with members of other religions in the 21st century would be enough to force one to observe and question his/her own beliefs on faith. And in doing so, gain a measure of understanding – that we are not so different after all. Yet despite the best efforts of the administration, fundamentalism and bigotry raise their ugly heads all too often for anyone’s liking. We have so far been spared the likes of Pat Robertson and Westboro Baptist Church, but events in recent years indicate an undeniable streak of hard-line religious thought. The most vocal, repellent and worryingly active culprits are evangelical Christians (no surprises there), but this does not mean Muslims, Buddhists or Hindus can rest on their laurels. The latest episode of Christian bigotry occurred at the National University of Singapore, where I studied years back. Even back then, I knew the type of Christians affiliated with the now notorious Campus Crusade for Christ. I would have been heartily embarrassed if any of my friends were one of them. Take a look at this piece of mawkish propaganda that appeared on their notice board on campus.
and more of the same here:
Sadly in the furore that followed, all the CCC could offer in way of apology was this highly dubious piece of sycophantic, insincere official-speak:
“I am a NUS CCC representative from NUS. With reference to the closed thread:
[GPGT] NUS group “Campus Crusade for Christ” insults Thai Buddhists and Turkey – http://www.hardwarezone.com.sg
We would like to post an online apology as follows:
We humbly apologize for the distress we have caused you through the poster of ours that has gone viral online. We recognize that our choice of words used should have been more sensitive and tactful. We acknowledge that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and it is definitely not our intention to force anyone to believe in what we do. We have since removed our posters and websites, and will be watchful of future actions. Thank you for your understanding and our deepest apologies again for the distress that this incident has caused you.
With sincere apologies,
On behalf of NUS Campus Crusade
We seek your permission to post this up personally.”
The apology only made things worse as it had dismissed the central issues of religious bigotry, and passed them off as mere semantics, a matter of “choice of words”. When several people condemned the farcical apology, some went so far as condemn the condemnation, accusing people of “not forgiving”, “fanning the flames” and “causing unrest”. This was what really rankled me and prompted my posting the following reply on The Online Citizen.
“@Joanne: you say that, “it’s even more disheartening looking at the comments on this page. shame on your guys. do you know what starts an unrest? NO FORGIVENESS.. by condemning the students from NUS.. you guys are just flaming the fire.”
I find it more disheartening that you have completely missed the point of most of the comments made on this page. The fact is that the apology from the CCC revealed their complete ignorance of why people were offended by the posts in the first place. The apology skirted the central issues and came off as insincere, sycophantic and frankly demeaning.
It was not an issue of “choice of words used should have been more sensitive and tactful”. The obvious intention of the poster was, to convince fellow xtians, that there is an urgent and desperate need to convert people in these “heathen lands”. The fact that the poster linked Buddhism to a lack of true joy in Thailand, i.e. Buddhism makes Thais unhappy- not only demonstrates poor logic and bad judgment, but also a malicious intent to spread lies and deceit about everything under the sun, so long as Christianity prevails. You can sugar-coat the message and be as sensitive as you like, but with such a twisted, outdated and fundamentalist outlook, all the best PR agencies in the world will not be able to help you.
As for forgiveness, would you forgive someone who not only apologises insincerely, but for the wrong reasons? The CCC clearly has not acknowledged the error of its ways, and it is the duty of others to ensure the flames do not die down until a more convincing apology is issued at the least. Accepting the current apology and “moving on”, might sound like the decent thing to do, but it is in fact irresponsible. You suggest that “NO FORGIVENESS” starts an unrest? I argue that allowing unresolved issues to fester under layers of convenient forgiveness, leads to more unrest and hatred in the long run.”
In response to: http://pdfcast.org/pdf/the-young-singaporean-adult
I think the title of the article, “The Young Singaporean Adult”, already gives us a clue to what the contents are going to be like. It smacks of that arrogant, condescending and patronizing attitude I associate with un-innovative old farts and bigots who seek only to label and belittle “young upstarts”. And the article does not disappoint. What we read is not so much a stinging critique (because any coherent critique must be even-handed and explore the other side of the story), but rather, a grotesque caricature of young Singaporean working adults. If you replace all the terms referring to young Singapore adults in this article, with words like, Jew, Black, Moslem, Marxist, homo and faggot, you will instantly recognise the shadows of some pretty racist, homophobic propaganda – the type of media that we readily denounce today with good reason. Because we know better.
If the article was interested in being objective and even-handed, it would cover or at least follow-up with the other side of the story- namely, “The Singaporean Employer”. My own anecdotal experience with Singaporean employers has been anything but inspiring, creative, innovative, risk-seeking. In fact, the opposite is true. In the last year alone, I have attended 6-7 job interviews, all of which were dead-ends. In most cases, the employers said I did not have the required experience to do the job. Even when I replied that I was very willing and able to learn new skills on the job, the response was in the negative. I am not even talking about a complete switch in career fields – these positions required skills – 60-70% of which I already had 3 years worth. These employers just want an effective clone to replace the staff who just left; they are not interested at all in “taking a risk” with a new employee. As for venturing out of their comfort zones, need I say more? If young Singaporean adult workers really are as “risk-averse”, as the article claims, then surely it’s partly because they are following the shining example set by their bosses?
The article also alleges the prevalence of a mindset, where if young Singaporean employees are unhappy, they just quit and leave for greener pastures. This acute observation, while true, applies to the majority of employees all over the world today. In fact, the observation is belated since management gurus have talked about the phenomenon for at least 10 years. Fact: most fresh-graduates stay in their first jobs for an average of 2-3 years maximum. And with even government agencies doing away with life-time/ permanent employment, and resorting more to short-term 2-3 year contracts (yes the contracts are always renewable, but the threat of a terminated contract always hangs over an employee’s head), is it any wonder that young Singaporean adults feel unhappy, unappreciated or as if they are on permanent probation? Can you honestly blame young Singaporeans for not sticking it out with an employer that’s failed to secure their loyalty? Can you blame young Singaporeans for being human?
Feeling the “itch” to leave one’s job is not so much of a sin, as the article would have us believe. It could mean that the young Singaporean adult is itching to break out of their comfort zone and take a risk with their next job or business venture, which ironically is what the education minister and CEOs want after all. If the higher-ups are serious about addressing the issues of lack of innovation, creativity and risk-taking, then surely a similar performance review of Singapore employers in these critical areas is in due order. It’s high time that Singapore’s employers’ commitment to innovation, creativity and risk-taking were subject to serious, independent scrutiny.
After viewing these uber-unawesome introductions on PlanetRomeo, I am forced to conclude that evolution has not given me a forehead of sufficient thickness or strength to withstand the impending barrage of forehead-slaps.
“Hi me a indian guy in west, like to know and meet you me more to bottom and looking in safe and trust meet.”
I appreciate the fact that we live in a globalised world and not everyone speaks or writes perfect English. Bugger globalisation.
“Hi buddy, how are you? hope you had a fabulous weekend. Wishing you a splendid week ahead. I’m **** here and its a pleasure to have your acquaintance.”
Can you get any more presumptuous? We have not even chatted and you are assuming – or hoping – that I will be an absolutely delightful acquaintance. And did you stop to think if I would find YOUR acquaintance a pleasure? Or perhaps my own opinions of you are of no consequence? Your proposition would sound interesting – if this were an odious prelude to a business meeting.
“hi h r u?hp num pls”
Honestly, need I elaborate? I posted up my picture. He posted up nothing, left absolutely no clues as to his stats and if you please, demands my private handphone number. I should have responded immediately with the hotline to the mental hospital. Hmmm…yes I did need to elaborate.
“Attracted to mascular, sporty, healthy guys.”
Damn you Urban Dictionary! It’s not cool to foil my attempt at proving the non-existence of the word, “mascular”. (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mascular). NOT COOL.
“I am smooth. I live the hairy, friendly and fun loving guy”
You mean you somehow possess hairy, friendly, fun loving, not-to-mention unsuspecting guys’ bodies and live their lives for them? Or are you smooth by day and hirsute by night?
“Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock? Don’t be a chicken boy, stop acting like a biatch I’ma peace out if you don’t give me the pay off Come on baby let me see what you’re hidin’ underneath”
Urban Dictionary, I dare you to make sense of this.
“Im just a good guy trying to to know good guy somewhere out there.”
So just to clarify: YOU are not a bad guy, and you’re trying to know guys who are not bad? Are you an average guy then? Would average guys interest you since they are not bad?
“anyone interested to know me more..im ok of giving my digits..”
Hi I’m Dr Lecter, I’d be delighted to make your acquaintance, and yes I would love to have your digits too – all 20 of them. With salt and butter.