A British expat has been forced to publicly apologise for a Facebook post that implied Singaporeans travelling on public transport were poor.
British national Anton Casey posted a photo of his son under the caption “Daddy where is your car & who are all these poor people?”
The wealth fund manager, who is married to a former Miss Singapore, had taken the train after putting his Porsche in for servicing.
When reunited with his high performance vehicle, a second post, which also drew scorn from Singapore’s vocal online citizens read: “Ahhhhhhhh reunited with my baby. Normal service can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me FFS!”
The comments are more damaging because of the timing. Singapore is renowned for its online takedowns of foreigners behaving badly, and the City State is currently grappling with a widening income gap – the rich get richer and the poor stay poor, and the latter would rather not be reminded of that fact, particularly by a British wealth fund manager.
An apology was quickly issued through Fulford Public Relations, after Casey received death threats. He said: “I would like to extend a sincere apology to the people of Singapore.
“In the past 24 hours due to a security breach of my personal Facebook page and the misuse of an old video by unknown sources, my family and especially my Singaporean son have suffered extreme emotional and verbal abuse online.”
He told readers of the blog The Real Singapore he wanted “to be given a second chance to rebuild the trust people had in me as a resident of the city”.
But not everyone was happy with the apology. “The damage is done! Leave Singapore, go back with your family to where you came from. Note to his Singaporean clients – stop dealing with him and close your accounts,” one comment read.
Casey’s Facebook posts were published on the Straits Times’ citizen journalism portal, STOMP, a site which specialises in public shaming.
In 2012 an FX trader called Olivier Desbarres was fired after he walked out of his large house and launched into an expletive-laden tirade against Chinese construction workers, who filmed his death threats and posted them online.
In the clip, Desbarres appears in his polo shirt and sandals, and screams at the workers, calling them “Chinese fucking animals.” It doesn’t take a genius to work out that these kinds of comments are not conducive to a working relationship with Singapore.
Online virality is guaranteed for foreigners who berate Singaporeans or their public services online. In 2011 Amy Cheong lost her job for posting disparaging remarks about Malays on her Facebook page.
When marketing executive Chris Reed got blasted for a blog post which heavily criticised Singapore’s taxi drivers, the New Paper ran a story headlined “Is this the most hated taxi passenger in Singapore?” with his photo beneath it.
Responding to Reed’s post, one netizen wrote: “He not happy he can **** off. We don’t need his kind here.”
As one local blogger succinctly put it: “there’s really little to be gained by being the center of a hate campaign in Singapore.”