Singapore—Economist and academic Donald Low took to Facebook to lament people who support the Government to the extent of considering anyone critical of it as “treasonous or traitorous.”
It seems that a Facebook friend of Mr Low, a netizen going by the name of James Ong, had left a comment questioning economist Lam Keong Yeoh’s opinions, which ended with this: “Get out of Singapore then.”
What an asshole this James Ong is. I deleted him as a FB friend and you may want to consider doing the same to people…
On Friday, Mr Lam wrote a Facebook post comparing Singapore’s Covid-19 response to Taiwan’s, which ended with these statistics.
“Taiwan 50 confirmed cases,
1 reported death
Singapore 200 confirmed cases
0 reported deaths
He then went on to write, “Which system is more effective ? The results speak for themselves.”
Mr Ong commented belligerently on Mr Lam’s post a number of times, as follows:
Including the one that Mr Low screenshot and put up on his page
His attitude got him blocked by Mr Lam
Mr Low has since unfriended Mr Ong, and wrote in his post, “you may want to consider doing the same to people who arrogate to themselves the right to tell people whether or not they belong to Singapore.”
The academic explained that he has supported the Singaporean government in how it has responded to the Covid-19 outbreak thus far “I feel they’ve been measured and that they’ve resisted the public pressure to overreact.”
He added that he respects others, including his fellow economist Lam Keong, who has advocated for a more aggressive response to the outbreak, because this challenges his perspective and forces him to question his biases.
Furthermore, he believes that it is healthy, even necessary, for Singaporean society to have discussions with people who disagree on issues “without resorting to name-calling and demonisation of others whose views differ from ours, even during (and dare I say, especially during) crises.”
This is important, he writes, during times of crisis, “when we may have to keep all options on the table because we don’t know in advance what responses may be needed later on.”
This is different from those who do not engage in a civil manner.
He writes, “What I find completely unhelpful and offensive are mindless supporters such as James Ong and IBs like FAP who view anyone criticising the Sg government’s approach as treasonous or traitorous, or they view this as a sort of vindication of authoritarian regimes. This is why you see some IBs singing high praises of China’s aggressive containment measures.”
Many commenters agreed with Mr Low
Others even said that this kind of “support” is damaging to the ruling party.