Workers’ Party secretary-general Pritam Singh has urged Singaporeans against being swept up by the extremist views that are circulating online from both sides of the Causeway, as tensions between Singapore and Malaysia heat up.
Recalling a rather warm exchange with a group of Malaysians he bumped into yesterday morning near Boon Keng MRT station, the opposition politician said that he was pleased to engage into friendly conversation with the four young men who were here from a sports event.
Calling the four men “great ambassadors for Malaysia,” Singh described their chance encounter as such:
“This morning, the Workers’ Party was selling the party newsletter – Hammer – at the Bendemeer Road hawker centre and market. By chance, a group of Malaysian boys exited the Boon Keng MRT station where a handful of my colleagues and I were stationed. We knew they were Malaysians as ‘Malaysia’ was prominently displayed on their shirts, except for one which rather unfortunately – given the current diplomatic circumstances – read “budak jahat” (which translates to “bad boy” in Malay)!!
“We got into a conversation and they shared that they were in Singapore for a Tri-Nations Netball tournament (Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore) which was held at the Singapore Univesity of Technology and Design.
“Jinn Wen, a lanky well-over six-foot tall player is the captain of the team. Like his colleagues Tamim, Muhammad Hafiz and Amirul, they were exceedingly warm, engaging and friendly. All in all, great ambassadors for Malaysia. They shared that Malaysia is working at building a competitive men’s netball team and their participation in the Tri-Nations was part of that endeavour.”
The WP chief proceeded to reflect that his encounter with these four men led him to contrast this “warm exchange” to the “shrill, jingoistic and racist online comments from some Singaporeans and Malaysians as a result of the security events of the last few days, which include a boycott of Malaysia and calls to cut water to Singapore.”
Noting that social media amplifies extreme views and that extremism is compounded “when certain personalities call for “pain by a thousand cuts,”” Singh said he hopes “Singaporeans don’t sink to such levels.”
He further appealed for “all extremists, whatever their flag, have a sense of measure and think of the reputation and example they create for their children and fellow countrymen and women.”
“I couldn’t help but contrast this warm exchange with the shrill, jingoistic and racist online comments from some Singaporeans and Malaysians as a result of the security events of the last few days, which include a boycott of Malaysia and calls to cut water to Singapore. The ecology of social media unfortunately amplifies extreme views, and it compounds extremism when certain personalities call for “pain by a thousand cuts”. I hope Singaporeans don’t sink to such levels. By the same token, I hope all extremists, whatever their flag, have a sense of measure and think of the reputation and example they create for their children and fellow countrymen and women.”
Several Singaporeans have expressed support for Singh’s views on the ongoing tensions between the two neighboring countries. His post has already garnered about 650 reactions and nearly a hundred shares on social media.