Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why Amy Cheong proved PM right?

In his National Day rally, there was a mention by Prime Minister that people in Singapore are getting less tolerant of one another. I feel PM’s point was validated in the “Amy Cheong saga” now gripping Singapore.

Though many have expressed disapproval, displeasure and dismay at what they called a racist rant from Amy Cheong, I really believe the whole incident is about Amy Cheong getting intolerant of the music she heard which might be quite loud. As a result of the intolerance, she made that offensive remark on Facebook and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

I really think that Singaporeans are getting less tolerant. Whenever I am on the roads, I have to be extra careful even when using the designated pedestrian crossings as many times, I was almost knocked down by vehicles which simply just zoomed past red traffic signal lights or pedestrian crossing. These motorists could not tolerate having to wait for pedestrians to use the roads even though the traffic signals are in the pedestrians’ right.

So what causes people here to be less tolerant of one another and what has contributed to more cases of racist comments being made online? The answer, I believe is too much of the inroads that Technology has made in our daily lives. I believe people in Singapore are getting more and more intolerant as a result of the wave of IT, digital and multimedia engulfing us which cause us to expect instant gratification. Now information is in our hands, in our iphones, anytime and anywhere at the speed of just a “click” or a “drag”. As a result of this “conditioning” by technology, we expect instant access to information and also nothing slower for other things we want in life. For Amy’s case, she may want the “noise” she heard be over fast!

On the phenomenon of more racist comments made online, I believe it has to do with people in Singapore not knowing that Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums are not only private commodities also public channels of communication.

Singaporeans have to learn about and grapple with the fact that whatever comment you make online via any means is no longer private, it is public, meant for public consumption, meant for others - friends or strangers- to further disseminate via sharing, retweeting, reposting etc whether you like it or not, the minute you post them on the raft of social media platforms.

To be frank, I think Amy’s rant is racist, but it becomes more racist only after being magnified, shared and commented upon thousands of times by the online community.

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