Sunday 26 January 2014

Why Singaporeans need to Revoke Anton’s PR Status

I was triggered to write this article in response to both Straits Times Editors Chua Mui Hoong’s appeal to Singaporeans to move on and also the Gen Sec of Singapore Kindness Movement to emphasize with Anton Casey. The point they were trying to make across is that he has apologize, (though insincerely through a PR firm) and that we should be more magnanimous and forgive him. Unfortunately, both of them have failed to grasp what is really transpiring here, and why we have to be unrelenting in taking the next step forward to revoke Anton’s PR Status.

(1) 2nd Class citizens in Singapore, where foreign talents can do no wrong and Singaporeans castigated.

Singaporeans recognize that we are an immigrant society and generally welcoming for tourists and foreigners who are respectful & contribute to Singapore. It is actually the indignity accorded by our own government who coined the term “foreign talents” and accuse Singaporeans who find green pastures overseas “quitters”. In our own country, we are disadvantaged in terms of National Service obligations, xenophile preference for high level jobs, e.g. SGX, scholarships for foreign students etc. LHL recently proclaimed that he will in no uncertain terms be welcoming of more foreign Billionaires in Singapore. This is a government that claims to be working for the good of Singaporeans, while in reality will sell out ordinary Singaporeans in a heart-beat for more Anton Caseys. Every time foreigners are involved in an incident, they will always find some excuses for them to mitigate their misdeeds. Little India Riot it was alcohol, and now the Straits Times articles ask Singaporeans to be forgiving. Tay Ping Hui has more sense of the ground swell unhappiness than the clueless government or state media. This is a case of the classic saying “give them an inch, they will take a foot”.

(2) Economic Inequality faced by Singaporeans

Now, if Anton Casey was a common blue-collar foreign worker in Singapore who posted those Facebook postings, perhaps in the form of complaining on the public transport, the netizens will be less enraged and probably ambivalent . The main reason why the postings went viral, was that it was a provocative slap in the face of many Singaporeans of the economic inequality between the haves and have-nots. At a time when, fare hikes have increased despite worsening service levels, Anton who WAS a wealth manager had the audacity to flaunt his expensive car and insulted everybody who has ever taken the public transport. It strikes at the heart of the value that Singaporeans uphold, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. He had benefitted from the policy exception that allowed a non-Singaporean to buy a landed property in Singapore’s Sentosa Cove, married a Singaporean woman registering with the Registry of Marriages, used the hospital facilities in Singapore to deliver his Singaporean son and worked in a safe and secure Singapore environment to make his money. Showing off his money to Singaporeans, is analogous to grabbing a handful of Singaporean homeland soil and rubbing into our faces.
(3) Flaw Permanent Residence Status policy

Why has a person who has a 12 –year Permanent Residency, continue to be a Permanent Resident ? Both his wife and son are Singaporeans, he has an expensive property and a successful Singapore career. Because the government allows him to do so. This is a major policy flaw that allows PRs to continue enjoying all the benefits of being a Citizen (except the right to vote), without actually committing to a country to grow their roots and defend their way of life. How long is enough? 5 years, 10 years, 50 years? The governments’ position is that they want to be flexible and allow PRs to decide when they want to become Citizens. But it just cultivates people who will flee when a crisis hits Singapore or themselves, such as Amy Cheong and Anton Casey. Do we really want these PRs ? Currently the criteria for issuing PR status are arbitrarily done focusing on job status, wealth, relations. Do we need a more transparent list of criteria that includes social and volunteer work?

(4) Strong Message needs to be delivered

We are continuously accused of being keyboard warriors, hiding behind the computer and ineffectual. But if Singapore netizens can force a Minister to issue a facebook statement on the matter, make a bigot get fired from his job and flee the country (in that chronological order), we actually punch way above what the government tries to portray us to be. We need to send a strong message to the Government and the foreigner community living in Singapore, that we reject such a foreigner and revoke his permanent residency. Singaporeans are tolerant, non-confrontational and generally accepting to new people, ideas and concepts. But never push us to the wall, good-will is finite and patience has a limit.


Singaporeans need to make a clear stand to purge the bad and keep the good. If our government behaves like a 51-year old prostitute, it does not mean that Singaporeans have to. We need to be more discerning and we have the power to do so.

My last parting remark for Anton Casey, is to wish him a Happy Chinese New Year, enjoy it in Perth, Singaporeans do not ever want a Reunion dinner with you.

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