TL;DR – Singaporeans, like both Ramesh and Steven, deserve to live in our own country without fear or abuse — online or offline.
There was an incident of a resident losing his cool with the security uncle at his condominium unit over the weekend. Most of Singapore would have already watched the “f***ing $1.5 million condo” video by now, or at least have read or heard about the story.
And you probably already know that this resident’s name is Ramesh Erramalli and the condominium is Eight Riversuites. By the way, Ramesh has apologised and the security uncle (he’s actually the Senior Security Supervisor) Steven Heng, has also accepted his apology.
While this is not the first and only case of abuse of a security officer (remember that Briton who punched a security supervisor not long ago?), this is one incident where many Singaporeans have much to say or comment about.
From our senior minister Tharman, to Mdm Ho Ching, to local celebrity Tay Ping Hui, to Labour MP Patrick Tay, to ex-NMP Calvin Cheng, to opposition supporter Andrew Loh, to the Union of Security Employees (USE), to ex-ST editor Bertha Henson and to one of our writers, Smith Leong, nearly everyone has something to say about it!
And oh, how can I miss out this one by the King of Wisecracks?
Out of the many posts made of the incident, there was one particular post that was closer to a voice of reason. It was one by Ramesh, a different Ramesh from the resident Ramesh Erramalli. This one’s Ramesh Muthusamy.
Both men are Singaporean. One was born here,
And the other is a naturalised Singaporean.
Yes, the Ramesh from the $1.5 million Eight Riversuites condo unit is also a Singaporean. The 44-year-old Ramesh Erramalli had obtained his citizenship here after marrying his local-born Singapore Citizen wife under the Family Ties scheme. I understand that he has been living here for over two decades. This means he’s been living here even longer than my youngest colleague.
I wonder how many years a new citizen needs to clock before the whole of Singapore will be willing to accept him or her as 100% one of us.
Here’s the full Facebook post in case you cannot see it,
My comments on the recent incident of the Viral video of a man shouting at a condo security.
My views may be 🚨 unpopular and I will preface it by quoting one of my fav Aristotle passages where he said,” …It is right that we ask [people] to accept each of the things which are said in the same way: for it is the mark of an educated person to search for the same kind of clarity in each topic to the extent that the nature of the matter accepts it…”
We need to remain open to considering a different perspective on a topic that we may have strong opinions on.
We must never attack a person because of their race or country of origin.
Do you agree?
It should not be the main topic of Attack. Yes we can be deeply upset with a person because of their actions and words and for that it’s fair to criticise their choices.
But never their race or country of origin. It’s the toxic pool from which horrid racism breeds. It is the path of hatred.
I worked as a part time security in my early twenties and I have experienced such patterns of bullying from our local folks. From demanding that we open the gantry before they arrive, to not parking at their designated lots to insisting that their drunk guests use the pool after 11. The difference was back then we did not have mobile phones that could record.
Arrogance is neither a crime nor an FT exclusive trait. Let me make the point clear that just because we locals also behave poorly doesn’t absolve him of his idiocy.
I condemn his belligerent behaviour and yes their employer needs to consider his poor conduct.
I do however, urge everyone to consider for a moment that we do not understand the full context and how things escalated.
We watch what seems to be the climax. It’s not fair.
This online vitriol being aggressively stoked by people with political agendas serves to make us a more fractured society.
Once we are “done” ridding the people we self righteously decide aren’t worthy, who is next ?
Which community will we go after to appease our inner turmoils and anger.
Punish a person as fairly as we can based on law and sound moral principles.
Today while I was interacting with one of my clients (a local) he asked me if things would have been different if the house owner had been a local (perhaps a majority race member) and the guard a foreigner (minority) and the celebration CNY.
Would we have rallied behind the security person in this context ? A moment to ponder.
Yes, we do need a really serious conversation about immigration and concrete actions to either reverse or mitigate the socio-economic impacts. (I can sense futility in the tone of many that any change will happen. I wonder whether it’s this frustration that is getting redirected to other topics.)
Never go out to destroy a person.
In my view we have a terribly Long Long Long way to go to become a truly inclusive society in policy and practice and the sensationalising of such incidents distracts us from more pressing issues.
The way we have been treating this chap is like a blood sport and all that we so desperately seek is for his demise 💀 .
That’s morally wrong.
Teenagers and young people do have access our collective hate comments. Their mind gets radicalised and what’s next?
We cannot have this.
This is one local Ramesh speaking up for another who made a mistake. A shitty mistake. To equate a poor behavior as testament to his self worth just isn’t right.
I do urge everyone to elevate the conversation with compassion.
This is my Deepavali request from everyone and please do join me in support of a compassionate Singapore.
So, born-here Ramesh posted the above on Tuesday. His main point was really about how we should not be attacking someone based on their race or country of origin, and we should think twice before generalising everyone who comes from a certain group. He believes that will only bring us down the path of hatred.
Perfectly sound and very sane advice, if you ask me.
Now, the born-here Ramesh posted on Facebook again this morning. This time, a rather shocking and very sad post.
The born-here Ramesh’s wife and kids were assaulted yesterday.
Here’s the rather shocking and definitely hurting part from his post,
My wife and kids were about to cross a small road in our carpark at about 6pm yesterday when a sporty hatchback came hurtling down without warning made a turn without any signal.
My family was startled and my wife being the protective parent she is, shot a disapproving glare at the driver as things would have been very different if she had decided to step off the pavement 3 seconds sooner.
The driver stopped his car. Reversed quickly to where my Wife and kids were standing on the pavement, wound down his tinted windows and… hurled some racial slurs and said, “Go back to India.”
Hate is omnidirectional and always leads us to the same end. Decay and Death.
Shocking, no? What kind of person does something like this? And to a woman with young kids at that.
So, he cannot be certain that the verbal assault was due to his Facebook post on Tuesday.
But he asked, “Has the online frenzied Attack on him emboldened and invited others to now perhaps start directing viciousness to others based on race? Or was my family’s experience completely unrelated? The signal that if a person is “foreign” or “not one of us” it’s perfectly ok to Attack with the full fury of Hell?”
He has sought for support from everyone and he said,
I need your support and it’s just one small thing.
Participate in online conversations where you think useful to share the messages of unification and compassion. Where you notice people being cruel, Step Up. Speak up. Yes you might not win fans while doing this but it’s important.
To Find the Goodness In Others (F.G.I.O). It takes everyone to build a society. Society isn’t a commodity that is meant for consumption. It cannot be created without you in it.
It’s the very shared space and context we either thrive or die in. The scorching fumes of radicalisation takes the smallest of fissures to penetrate our way of life to make life as we know it acrid.
Please help me in counter balancing vicious online conversations with kindness where possible so that we prevent these spaces from becoming a cesspool for radicalised supremacy.
Voice out where you see unfairness.
Let’s help one another out.
Our society is really not just about the Government, the policies, the law or the CECA. It’ really more, if not all, about the people. We make the fabric of the society, so be the people we want to be.
Like what said Mr Raj Joshua Thomas, president of the Security Association of Singapore (SAS), said,
“Singaporeans, like both Ramesh and Steven, deserve to live in our own country without fear or abuse — online or offline.”