Saturday, 1 February 2014

Independent Learning Log

Meredith Teo Shuyi (08)
S3-01

T1W4
07:42pm - 08:12pm
01/2/14

Source(s):
http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/where-has-all-our-empathy-gone-20140124
http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/scoot-takes-dig-anton-casey-20140126

What I did:
I read up on the recent episode involving the British Expat, Anton Casey, who made derogatory remarks about Singapore. While I found Mr Casey's Facebook posts slightly offensive, I felt that the comments made by some netizens were rather harsh and  insensitive.To maintain a wholesome and civil society, punishment should not be encouraged, let alone celebrated. 

What happened:
British expat Anton Casey, who sparked world headlines for his offensive posts about Singapore's public transport and citizens, recently fled Singapore, leaving for Perth with his wife and five year old son. The 39-year-old said he was leaving the country because of threats made towards his family. He apologized for his actions and asked the public for forgiveness. "Singapore is our home, and we hope to return when we feel safe,” Anton said.

Although Anton Casey's posts are indeed rude and derogatory, the sheer number of nasty comments made by some netizens is not something to be proud of. Even Scoot, our local Airline, took a dig at Anton Casey in its latest advertisement, mocking him, his wife, and his son. I can't help but sympathize with his wife and son who have been and will be despised by the public for the rest of their lives, even though they were barely involved in the entire episode. Such reactions definitely do not reflect well on the empathy of some Singaporeans.  
(Picture taken from: http://www.straitstimes.com)

To be fair, although a large number of the community felt good about Anton Casey's punishment, many also called for forgiveness, since he had already apologized. It is undoubtedly difficult to stay calm, empathize and forgive, especially when one gets deeply affected by the emotions stirred up by offensive conduct. However, we should at least try to do so, instead of gloating when others get their retribution. 
What I learned:
We should always react calmly and appropriately to offensive remarks, such as those made by Anton Casey. Even if such affronting behavior is not condoned, making rude and wounding comments in the heat of the moment is absolutely unnecessary. Kindness and graciousness are not only reserved for those who deserve it. Magnanimity should be practiced in all situations, and even shown to those who seem unworthy of it. We should be gracious and move on, giving Aton Casey another chance to show his sincerity and atone for his mistakes.

    Meanwhile, we can also learn another valuable life lesson from this Anton Casey episode. Even if we do succeed in life and gain wealth, we should always remain humble and share our successes with the community around us. There are plenty of ways to contribute back to society, and monetary donations are only one of them. Helping out at soup kitchens (Yes, they do indeed exist in Singapore) and volunteering at homes for the less fortunate are also wonderful ways to give back to the society that has cultivated us. 

    We should not despise or mock the poor or needy. In fact, arrogance and contempt for the less fortunate were the root causes of this entire episode. As I mentioned above, kindness and magnanimity should be practiced in all situations, and even shown to those who may seem unworthy of it. Hence, it is important to cultivate such values in the younger generation to avoid situations similar to Anton Casey's. It is only through this means that we can further improve our already harmonious society, making it an even more wholesome and uplifting one. 

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