A.S.S. editorial was informed by our readers that The New Paper (TNP) has issued a response to our reaction piece, "TNP'S MELVIN SINGH SAYS TEENAGER IN MRT WAS AT FAULT, NOT THE ANG MOH BULLY" posted yesterday. A.S.S. thanks Melvin Singh for his reply and will feature a summary of his points below in line with our belief in freedom of speech and reply.
Briefly, Melvin took issue with our headline, saying that it misleads the public to think that Melvin pins the blame on the teenage victim instead of the raging old Caucasian man who threatened to beat him up. He pointed out that he had said that the Caucasian man's actions were "rude" and "cannot be condoned" too, although A.S.S. notes that he also proportioned blame onto the innocent Chinese teenager who was verbally abused because of his T-shirt.
He also explained that he had compared this incident between the Caucasian man and the teenager to an earlier incident where local uncle had raged against a foreign Indian worker "to point out that unfortunately there are not more people like Mr Hanafie — someone willing to step in to stop bullying behaviour, no matter who or what race is involved."
You may read TNP's full Facebook post here or on their Facebook page.
However, TNP's reply has unleashed another wave of angry responses from netizens. We feature one response from an eloquent netizen, Jessica, who slammed Melvin Singh for his sensational and flame-bait opinion piece in response to the above Facebook post:
"Lets see, maybe the author of that article stayed up all night camping to see who else is attacking him and thus within 2 hours posted this up?
As i replied to Melvin's comment on the original post. Quoting from the article.
1) "Is it because they perceive the bully, who is light-skinned and has blond hair, to be a foreigner?"
(What we saw: A strong, bigger built adult getting rowdy at a teenager who kept his mouth shut to try and avoid conflict but is exposed to threats of getting thrown off the train.)
2) "If others are to stand up to bullies, it may be useful to remember that idiocy is also a local affliction."
(So we are idiots because we find that standing up against a bully is right? And we should allow the teenager to be subjected to threats and verbal assaults because his t-shirt has a slogan, not directed to ANYONE, is "insulting"?)
3) "In June, a commuter uploaded a picture of a South Indian worker who had made himself as small as possible on a train from Jurong East to Marina South Pier.
A minute earlier, an elderly man next to him had yelled vulgarities at the foreigner for brushing against his arm. The older man proudly proclaimed himself a Singaporean and continued shouting at the migrant worker who sat quietly throughout the tirade."
(And you do know that in the video, the boy, a SINGAPOREAN, was the one sitting there quietly throughout THIS tirade too, until someone stepped up right? So a Singaporean scolding a migrant worker is wrong and racist but a foreigner scolding a Singaporean is right because the Singaporean kid "instigated" it by wearing a slogan t-shirt? Double standard much.)
Melvin brought racism and judgement (on locals btw) into the article, not the readers. This form of writing would only cause social unrest in SG when publishers are writing such junk. Maybe instead of backing your writer up, time to do some proofreading on the articles you publish."
Not content to let the matter rest however, Melvin issued this bewildering response, accusing Jessica of turning the argument into a personal one against him and his family:
"No, Jessica. I did not stay up all night. I went through proper protocol to let my supervisors respond.
Nowhere did i say those who stand up to bullies are idiots. I said Idiocy is Singaporeans being bullies too like when the foreign worker was yelled at by the local.
On the point of labels, I said if we are going to use labels, then the younger man's actions may be construed as the spark, instigation and therefore he is the instigator.
Your insinuations that i stayed up all night and your insinuations in an earlier post suggest you are not content to make a point but would rather turn this into a personal thing. I would like to keep the debate on the points.
Since your posting, my race has been ridiculed, my name and my family has been mocked. So bullying me is the response?
To those who asked: I am Singaporean, third generation from a family with a proud history serving in the Armed Forces and Police Force. I too served in the Police Force for six years. I am a Rajput hence I do not have a turban. My full name is xxxxxxxxxxx. Check online and you will find it is a common name. I am colour blind and embrace all. I am in a mixed marriage if you must know. My mother is half Malay so I am of mixed parentage too.
I take some risks giving these personal details but since my integrity is questioned, i need to respond. You may well criticise me again. That is your choice but refrain from dragging my family and race into this debate. Thanks. Peace, Melvin."
Jessica in turn replied that she had not made any personal attacks against Melvin (as readers can read for themselves in her reply):
"Melvin. Never have I, in any of my comments, launched a personal attack on you or your ethnicity. Just like your comment stating that comments in the post were using profanity and being racist, none of my comments had that. So enlighten me, how is my post the one that prompted racism and mocking of your name? How is me, speaking up my opinion against you putting blame on the teen for donning a slogan tee a mistake, became me instigating people to mock your race and name when i did none of what you mentioned, at all?
Should you need a screen shot of my comments to review my posting, i will gladly provide it, and before you start naming me as the instigator of causing attacks on you, you might want to double check the names of the so called people who posted on race and your name.
On your point that Singaporeans are bullies when the foreign worker was yelled at, there are many Singaporeans on the train that the teen was in, and all stood by but just one man who stood up. So how does it prove that Singaporeans are bullies only when it comes to foreigners?
I too, embrace my surroundings of mixed ethnicity and have good relations with my neighbors regardless of skin color. So your accusation of me turning personal because of race is offending when I did nothing of that."
A long string of back and forth replies between Melvin and Jessica ensued in The New Paper's Facebook page, which readers can read about it here.
A.S.S. wishes to state that our editors neither condone nor promote racist or threatening attacks against any person of any race in Singapore. All users are encouraged to refrain from issuing such threats or racist remarks.