Lessons from the Eight Riversuites condo resident Ramesh vs security officer spat

By November 3, 2019Current

TL;DR – And let’s all move on already, lah.

It has been a week since the Whampoa Eight Riversuites condo incident blew up.

This incident has triggered more Singaporeans as compared to the Roxy Square incident, where a 60-year-old security supervisor was punched in the face by a Caucasian man.

Anti-establishment sites and political opportunists jumped at the chance to politicize the issue by putting blame on the India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). Gilbert Goh of Transitioning.org even went ahead to organise an anti-CECA rally at Hong Lim Park even after the Ministry of Home Affairs revealed to media that the resident, one Ramesh Erramalli, is a naturalised Singaporean and he has been living here with his local-born Singapore citizen wife for 25 years.

Online netizens were also pouncing on the condo resident like virtual hyenas. So much so he had to file a police report because of the harassment.

While there is no doubt that the condo resident Ramesh was in the wrong and he could have better managed his anger, this incident – that has been blown up out of proportion – has some lessons that we all can learn from as well.

Doxxing is a toxic practice, no matter who the target is

As soon as the news of the condo resident verbally abusing a security officer went viral, Ramesh became a target of an internet witch hunt.

The online hate mob began harassing him with threatening (and laced with unprintable expletives) calls, his personal information such as photos and details of his workplace has also been circulated on social media and online forums. Our sources even told us that his children were harrassed in school.

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These online ‘CSI’ vigilantes may enjoy the feeling of accomplishment for being the ones who exposed the identity and details of the said condo resident. They probably even pride themselves on executing “social justice”.

Unfortunately, they had also mistakenly circulated photos and details of a wrong Ramesh while at it.

Yes, Ramesh may be in the wrong, but just so you know, doxxing is a criminal offence as well.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. And doxxing someone who committed a wrong doesn’t make you a hero either.

And truth be told, he could have been any one of us

Ramesh’s treatment of the Senior Security Supervisor, Uncle Steven, was certainly uncalled for. The things he shouted at the security officer was rude. And that’s just his luck that everything was caught on camera.

But what if the positions were switched – the condo resident was a born and bred Singaporean, and the security officer was a foreigner struggling to make a living in Singapore? Would the online netizens react the same? With the same anger and vengeance?

And hand on heart, how many of us here can confidently say that we’ve never been rude or lost our cool to another human being? I don’t think so.

In fact, we have our fair share of rude Singaporeans. But does that mean all Singaporeans are assholes bad? No!

So, it’s not cool and absolutely not fair to merely just launch an attack on anyone who comes from a certain group and ask them to “go home”, just because of some bad eggs.

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And by the way, most of our great-grandparents, grandparents and parents weren’t born in Singapore either, should they all “go home” too?

We can all show appreciation for our unsung heroes

It’s easy for us to react to the things we see on social media, and to be ever ready to pounce on anyone for their wrongdoings – and like in this case, some want to seek social justice for the security uncle.

But when was the last time you greeted the cleaner who cleans your office every day? When was the last time you thanked the security officer at your office building for keeping the place safe as you work? When was the last time you treated a hawker centre cleaner as invisible? Have you ever thanked the bus captain? How about greeted the MRT station staff?

Instead of being a self-righteous vigilante in the virtual world, why not spend a little time to consider those closer to you and not treat them like “invisible” people?

I’m sure it doesn’t take more than a minute to write a simple note of gratitude or say a word of thanks. Why not we reflect and start with ourselves and start making Singapore a kinder place? Cut out the hatred. Our long-time naturalised Singaporeans, the new citizens and the foreign workers in our midst are people too.

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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