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Monday, October 8, 2012

Amy Cheong from NTUC Saga

A wedding is supposed to be a happy affair and we all have different ways and traditions to celebrate it.

What this lady has done is really too insensitive considering her position as MED Assistant Director ( Partnership and Alliances) and the organisation she is working for.

I will post a proper summary later on this issue that is exploding right now on Ntuc Membership Facebook.

Please do remember that 2 wrongs do not make a right so please do not curse her or her race back.

However, NTUC seriously needs to do something about this. She is obviously not suitable to work in a place and position that will come in contact with people from all walks of life.

Blatant racism and disrespect should never be condone and frankly, I do not see any trace of humour in her posting and neither do I see her sincerity in her half baked apology, it was an extremely lame attempt at damage control.

Granted, her opinions do not directly represent NTUC but for expressing such racist remarks, she is a classic example of an ugly personality.

All pictures below can be obtained from google search or Facebook and are posted for the purpose of sharing the facts.

Credits to EDMW Singapore Facebook page for the consolidation of posts made by Amy:

Your comments weren't silly, they were hurtful, ignorant and downright disrespectful. Furthermore, you weren't remorseful until the massive backlash from the community towards NTUC. Putting a disclaimer of how your views are of your own and do not represent any organisation isn't going to add any brownie points to NTUC. Rather, it just feels like you are trying to brush it aside and make people feel that they are just making a mountain out of a molehill. Taking personal responsibility and honestly admitting that you have hurt the Malay Community by posting such unbecoming remarks in a fit of anger would have been a better way to go rather than using the words "I do not mean". You did mean to express your anger by posting the insulting remarks but obviously, you just didn't expect the backlash to be this huge.

EDIT: Based on Yahoo News :

UPDATE at 12:38pm: NTUC has sacked its membership assistant director after she posted offensive comments on her personal Facebook account.

In a statement sent to the media, its secretary-general Lim Swee Say said the trade organisation has "terminated with immediate effect" the services of Ms Amy Cheong, Assistant Director, Membership department after establishing with her that she did post offensive comments... on 7 October 2012".

"Regrettably and rightly so, her comments have upset members of the public, including many union members. We are sorry that this has happened. We have counselled the staff and impressed upon her the seriousness of her action. She is remorseful and has apologised for her grave lapse of judgement," he added.

He also reiterated in his statement that the NTUC "takes a serious view on racial harmony in Singapore", adding that it "will not accept and have zero tolerance towards any words used or actions taken by (its) staff that are racially offensive".

Edit 2: A police report has been filed. 

Singapore police are investigating the former NTUC staff who was fired on Monday morning for her profanity-laced post insulting traditional Malay void deck weddings.

A police report was filed against Amy Cheong, assistant director, membership department at labour movement NTUC, by a member of the public, Lionel Jerome de Souza on Monday morning.

De Souza is the secretary of Hougang's Inter-Racial and Confidence Circle (IRCC), which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports. In his report, he urged the police to take a serious view of Cheong's comments which "inevitably hurt the feelings of the Malays". 

EDIT 3: The efficiency of NTUC : Amy's job is up on Jobstreet 

To be frank, the reason why I am updating this post and not making a new one is to just consolidate the facts together with the relevant updates. I do believe that everyone should get a 2nd chance and she has indeed borne the consequences from her earlier thoughtless actions and words. Whether was it severe or justified enough, I think the impact can't be calculated in such a manner and neither should we continue to judge her like we are actually qualified to.

Let's all be gracious and have a common acknowledgement that this incident has shown that racism in any part of the world is not a light matter which can be explained off with an afterthought apology without consequences regardless of the person making the remark in whichever position.

EDIT 4: From Channel Newsasia (" CNA Singapore ") , Amy has issued a public apology statement to the Media. 

Good Read on Malay Weddings and their Traditions here :) It's always good to be culturally sensitive with a healthy dose of tolerance :

Where Bears Roam Free: Amy Cheong, Malay weddings at HDB void deck is an extension of tradition, nothing to do with affordability

From our Prime Minster, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong :
Several of you wrote to me through Facebook about the person who posted offensive comments about Malay weddings on her Facebook page. I was shocked to hear about this. The comments were just wrong and totally unacceptable.

Just last week I shared a WSJ Asia article on why people say nasty things online that they would never say face-to-face. I reminded netizens that we needed to be extra careful

and watch ourselves. I did not expect to see such a dramatic example so soon. Fortunately the person has promptly apologised for her grievous mistake. But the damage has been done, and NTUC did the right thing in terminating her services.

Let us treat this incident for what it is: an isolated case that does not reflect the strength of race relations in Singapore. But it sharply reminds us how easily a few thoughtless words can cause grave offence to many, and undermine our racial and religious harmony. Let us all be more mindful of what we say, online and in person, and always uphold the mutual respect and sensitivity that holds our society together. - LHL

Update 9 Oct 2012: Amy Cheong has left to Perth 

Last night, Amy Cheong left Singapore for Perth, Australia, where she had studied. This was after the former NTUC assistant director made a racially-insensitive facebook post on Sunday that drew flak from netizens, responses from five political leaders and got her sacked. 

Update 2: Amy's reason for lashing out on facebook 

Amy Cheong said one of the reasons why she took to facebook to vent her frustrations against a Malay wedding at the void deck was because she had been faced with a noisy neighbour for the past few weeks. She was flamed and subsequently sacked for her racist comments.

Ms Cheong said: "It just never stopped. There were funerals, karaoke sessions, and weddings. Not to mention that my neighbours' flats were undergoing renovation. There were loud drilling sounds as early as eight in the morning."

On Saturday, the former National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) assistant director of the Membership Department said she was "really cranky" and "there was someone screaming into a microphone". She had been looking forward to the weekend to get some rest.

It had nothing to do with race, but was about the situation, Ms Cheong claimed in the phone interview. She said she also didn't think carefully about what she was saying because she was just venting her frustrations. 

Last Update on this issue @ 10/10/2012 :

After sacking former NTUC director Amy Cheong in less than 24 hours following a racist post made by her on her personal Facebook, NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say now call on Singaporeans to spare a thought for her.

Speaking to queries from the media, Mr Lim said it was a ‘difficult’ decision for him to make to sack Cheong:

“For this episode, as an employer, it was not a decision [to terminate Amy Cheong's services] that we take lightly. To me, it was one of the most difficult decisions I have to make as SG of NTUC because it is going to have a tremendous impact on her – to lose her job in just over 24 hours.”

He urged the public to spare a thought for the ‘pain’ Amy is currently going through:

“This is a painful experience for NTUC to go through. Also, we should spare a thought for Amy and the pain that she is going through. Through some counseling, she has realised the grave mistake, apologised to the public and appeal to them to find somewhere in their heart to forgive her.”

A ex-Malaysian who is now an Australian citizen, Cheong has since left for Perth, most likely for good.

Reason for sacking Amy Cheong by NTUC :

NTUC said Ms Cheong had violated a clause in its terms and conditions of employment which states that staff must observe proper decorum in all forms of communication.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. 2 wrongs never makes a right ! At the same time, would like to point out to this young lady not to be so haughty. A noise which you may be annoyed by may be something someone you represent have to spend most of their lives with. Instead of being annoyed, as educated as you are, shouldn't you be the point of conciliation. Reflect !