I’ve gone and made a complete raccoon’s breakfast of my finals. Might not be a bad idea to divert attention elsewhere for a bit.

In the short (well, not so short) space of time I’ve taken my foot off the gas there’s been three not-very-intelligent guys who all really should know better getting themselves into trouble of the most inane sort by making offensive anti-Islam statements and illustrating for us all why former MM LKY is more than merely mortal.

Christian Ratnam, Jason Neo, Donaldson Tan. A radical, a fool, and a vain, self-righteous, barely-articulate idiot of a pig.

This is going to be one of those times when I don’t bother reserving judgment. Let’s take it one at a time.

Ratnam struck this matter off with his hate-speech against Islam on his FB. I suppose he forgot FB walls are easily publicly viewable, and not really private space at all.

It is interesting to note that Ratnam is a converted Jew. That explains why he thinks of Islam the way he does and tells us a good deal about where he’s coming from, even if it does not make his actions excusable. It’s like PETA or Greenpeace storming KFC. We understand their intentions, but that doesn’t mean they’re not facing jail time for their actions.

Another thing I can infer, and from what I’ve seen of his FB Wall, would be that Ratnam sincerely believes in what he’s been saying. He definitely believes that Islam is a source of evil, and he’s quite simply (from his own viewpoint) just expressing his opinion. He simply didn’t quite realize that he was as good as shouting it from the rooftops.

Thus I call him a radical. His opinion of Islam is almost definitely wrong (I can’t strike out the ‘almost’ as much as I want to because I don’t like dealing in absolutes with regard to religion). Yet he believes fervently that he is right, and his FB activity (such as attempting very hard but not entirely successfully to draw a line against conflating anti-Islam hate with anti-Muslim hate) suggests he has thought about it, although probably in the usual unfathomable way of a radical, and has himself been wholly convinced of the anti-Islam.

None of that excuses him any more than delusions of grandeur and sacrifice justify suicide bombing on civilian targets. But is important to understand where he is coming from.

Jason Neo is a different sort of creature. He does not appear to be a thorough Islam-hater in the same vein as Ratnam. His offence appears to have its roots in a simple joke, which has since produced consequences far from simple or funny.

The terrorist reference is tasteless when viewed in the public eye (although I can imagine it being funny when shared between close friends as light-hearted conversation). I highly doubt Neo, unlike Ratnam, meant the post as an expression of hate. Nevertheless, it is still offensive, and an immense lapse of judgment on his part to have shared the material publicly.

From what I have gathered, the inappropriateness of the content had actually been pointed out months ago by Neo’s own circle of acquaintances. Neo both explained that it’s not meant to be taken seriously, then apologised. Then he made his mistake – he did not remove the post, presumably because his apology had been accepted by his acquaintances and no one thought to advise/demand the post’s removal anyway. Fool was he.

So when another FB denizen by the name of Firdaus chanced on the image some time later, a whole ruckus was sounded. Neo apologised again and took down the image. That could had been the end of it. It should had been, just as how it should had ended months ago with the offending image being taken down at the first complaint.

Unfortunately for Neo, Firdaus had the half-witted idea of making copies of the offending image and spreading it on the Internet even after the original has disappeared. That’s just jackassery. But that’s the Internet – if you can’t deal with the wilderness, stay at home.

In any case, Neo has been publicly shamed, and expelled by the YPAP. I frankly think that’s adequate punishment for someone who did not set out with the intent to harm or hurt. Whether he is deserving of forgiveness if up to the individual Muslim to decide. It’ll probably not end up as a police case, since in that case the cops will have little choice but charge Firdaus too, for incitement of hatred. Two fools then, one mindless and one thoughtless.

Donaldson Tan is the last one, and the one I have absolutely no pity for. I’m not too sure what he wanted to express with the pig and the Kabbah, but I’d take the Kabbah out of the picture and use what’s left for his FB Profile.

He has had the lessons of Ratnam and Neo to learn from. He chose not to. He chose, intentionally, to offend and had the cheek to tell Muslims to learn to live with it. He chose to exercise an individual’s liberty of opinion in precisely the sort of ugly, immature, disgusting, artless, impertinent, jarheaded scut that I detest so much. His move was calculated to diss Muslims, although believe me, it pains me to give him that much credit for thinking.

Ratnam was confrontational and provocative as a by-product of his radicalism. Donaldson is seeking confrontation and provocation as the main point. He is like that pribbling midget of a toad back in the PE. Even Ratnam went out of his way to say he hated Islam the religion, not Muslims the people (alright that’s bad enough, but at least he’s not playing lowball).

I knew of Donaldson before this shit hit the fan. He’s been trying to shape himself as a political commentator for a while now. I think he’s really too clumsy, conceited and stubborn for it, but he’s too conceited, clumsy and stubborn to see that for himself. That just worsens the matter – now Donaldson is trying to use whatever platform he has built for himself (no matter how rickety) to try and rile up a fight.

The little wannabe demagogue was expecting a scrap, thinking that oh somehow that would be a great advancement for civil society. That Muslims should totally loosen up, since the Internet is abound with unkind jokes about Christians and Jews and Islam shouldn’t be exempt.

Because he’s stupid, conceited, clumsy and stubborn enough to think Muslims haven’t got the presence of mind to figure that out for themselves and need some conceited, clumsy and stubborn outsider to tell them what to do, how to do it and when to do it. He’ll have plenty of time to experience that firsthand while in prison.

Besides, why are we all talking about this? Shouldn’t we be waiting for the police investigation to conclude first, before taking to the media? I suppose we’re all still terribly amateurish at this journalism thingy then. I too am guilty, and if there is a saving grace it would be the finals distracting me from commenting any more prematurely than I already have.

EDIT – Alright in hindsight I’m being too harsh on Donaldson. He’s written good stuff before, and I shouldn’t be sounding like I hate every word he’s ever typed. Intelligent people make mistakes.


Never give your kid an American last name for a first name.

Posted on November 23, 2011, in Singapore and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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