Singapore — While former Nominated Member of Parliament Calvin Cheng and blogger Michael Petraeus, aka Critical Spectator, both have decidedly pro-government views, one issue that the two men disagree on is that of race.
This has resulted in Mr Cheng banning the Critical Spectator account from his Facebook page, at least for now.
The two men have been writing posts that have touched on race for the past few days, sometimes even commenting on each other’s posts.
However, in a comment on his post on Wednesday morning (Dec 30), Mr Cheng wrote that he had banned Mr Petraeus from his page. Mr Cheng said “his idea that European civilisation is superior is wrong and reprehensible. He is a white supremacist”.
The disagreement started on Monday (Dec 28), when Mr Petraeus took issue with a Facebook post by writer Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, who had criticised a commentary in The Straits Times entitled Racism in Singapore: Time to Listen to Minorities Concerns.
Mr Vadaketh’s post, which was widely shared, seemed to have resonated with many.
However, it did not go over well with Mr Petraeus, who wrote, among other things: “There’s nothing that grinds my gears more than well-off (pseudo) intellectuals living comfortably in safe, prosperous, developed countries, trying to make a career out of incessant whining about how supposedly terrible life is in them”.
Mr Cheng, writing in response to Mr Petraeus, said that although he likes “Michael as a person” and agrees with his economic ideas, “he has weird anthropological and historical ideas”.
“Just because you support the PAP doesn’t mean you should blindly support every article or writer that defends or supports them. Even me.
“The Critical Spectator blog is propounding anthropological ideas that some races and civilisations are superior to others in governance and economic development.
“This is wrong and dangerous.”
At first, it looked like the two men would just agree to disagree and leave it at that.
However, Mr Petraeus took a screenshot of Mr Cheng’s post about him and wrote: “You’re perfectly free to agree or disagree with me — and I would never encourage you to take anything I say unquestioningly, at face value. Question everyone and everything, and make your own conclusions — I wrote about this before. If you agree with someone — know why you agree. If you disagree — know why you disagree (and if you hate me know why you hate me, beyond simply feeling upset about my opinions).”
Mr Cheng answered: “I am not disagreeing with you. I am telling you that you are wrong. And until you recant I have banned you from my page and have unliked this page too. And will not comment here any more.”
Will two of the most ardent supporters of the government “kiss and make up” in the new year, as the saying goes?
We’ll just have to wait and see. /TISG