Poor RonyWhat’s with the constant furore on the part of oppositional elements on the net with regards to Rony Tan’s discriminatory statement. After his apologising to the people, the leaders of the respective religious sects, stopping short of taking a trip to Dharmasala to kow tow in penitence to the Dalai’s Lama, people are beginning to call for his prosecution, starting up Facebook sites supporting such a stance, and a whole bevy of bloggers rising up to condemn the bloke - you won’t find such vociferousness amongst singaporean ‘netizens’ when the interests of ethnic minorities are compromised.
But I think I can understand the knuckle-dusting stance of these fellows and fellowettes. Feeling a sense of their new found prominence given the government seemingly giving in to the pressure of the sans culotte of the oppositional movement, aka, ‘netizens’, they want to feel as powerful as the government themselves by doing as the government does.
Strange, don’t you think. On the one hand, they present themselves as an alternative to the government, and on the other, wanting to prove their strength as an alternative, they become as draconian as the government with various sectors of the oppositional movement calling for his arrest by the ISD, and a host of punishments. It sort of reminds me of those Chinese dramas I used to follow enthusiastically as a child up to my early 20s (Huang Fei Hong, a Hong Kong serial in the 80s, was always my favourite besides other 80s local chinese productions which me and my mother used to watch together) where the errant official, teary eyed and kneeling in front of the emperor, is forced to undergo one punishment after another before swallowing a Chinese version of Hemlock to prove his devotion to the Son of Heaven.
But only a short time earlier, ‘netizens’ were speaking out against the arrest of the three Chinese teenagers on Facebook who spewed some racist nonsense. Magnanimity on the one hand, and vociferation on the other? Why? Well, one could say, for instance, that the 3 were casting slurs on ethnic minorities and the ‘majority’ defined along racial lines in the Singapore of today were unaffected. And given the relative and consistent silence on matters affecting the interests of ethnic minorities, that might hold some water. But one could also say that there is more credit to be gained in taking down the prominent, such as Rony, and especially when they have been let off by the government. That would be double the credit.
Can you imagine if Rony was to now be punished for his statements, how this might feed the already bloated sense of self-efficacy amongst oppositional elements as opposed to if he was a nobody like the three Chinese teenagers. But this goes well with the tendency amongst the oppositional elements to worship the prominent, just as those supporting the party in power rally around Hallowed be Lee’s Name. It is thus to be expected that the fascist mindset, trained to rally around prominence as opposed to insight, would naturally prefer to take down a bloke such as Rony as opposed to the 3 Chinese nobodies.
What is a constant in both cases is opposition. In wanting to validate themselves as ‘the opposition’, it seems that they are going against for the sake of going against and failing to appreciate phenomena objectively, the need to do away with the ISA altogether, and the need for common empathy to tackle bigotry as and when it rears its head. For instance, nobody seemed to appreciate the fact that whilst the three Chinese teenagers were arrested for racist slurs, the 2000 or so members of the site might have said nothing, and nobody seems to be paying that point any mind. And in that, they are abettors are they not? And in that, would it not point to some malaise amongst the population of Singapore itself, given that they’ve been socialised within half a century of fascist rule? Being conscious is not evidence of one’s not being a consequence. It’s only conscious and conscientious critical introspection that alleviates the latter condition.
But that’s quite the rare tendency amongst oppositional elements who get a thrill from feeling significant by acting with immediacy as opposed to proceeding with a caution incited by the knowledge that it’s easier to suggest a solution than to not be a part of the problem. For those wanting to punish Rony for his ridiculous stance against Buddhism, ask yourself if the great Buddha would support what seems to be your vindictive and politically opportune position given that this misguided individual has apologised quite profusely.
What we should be focusing on is the generic malaise of apathy and self-absorption that afflicts Singapore. When one looks at the monocultural stance of Singapore, the apathy of the majority, the xenophobia of oppositional elements, we ought to wonder if Rony is not a consequence of it all, and hence, a victim of the said generic malaise. In that, wouldn’t his bigoted stance be just another denomination of the bigotry that abounds in this nation, and which oppositional elements themselves constantly exhibit via their oversights. How about we practice some Christian and Buddhist magnanimity and forgive this bloke. But instead of doing this, along with questioning after the Sedition Act, everyone seems to be wanting to appropriate it.
I asked a Chinese mate last night, after an invigorating game of Xiang Ji, if he thought that Rony ought to be arrested for what he said. He responded, 'well, if they can arrest the 3 chinese teenagers, they should also arrest him'. I shook my head. A wrong isn't made right just because it is repeated a second time. My ability to do unto others that which is done unto me doesn't validate what is being done. What we need is common empathy, and a questioning after of the fundamentals of democracy. We ought not to confuse democracy for the right to subject others to the guillotine just as they had subjected those of our pack. It is the guillotine that ought to be done away with.
What the best minds amongst oppositional elements don’t seem to realise is that there is quite the difference between tearing down the Bastille and partaking in its management.
Rony, a2ed forgives you.