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Executive fired for racist Facebook post defends herself on Twitter
Amy Cheong was fired for posting inflammatory comments about Singapore’s Malay minority.
A labor executive in Singapore who worked for a government-linked organization was fired after posting a racially charged and expletive-filled diatribe on her Facebook account.
Amy Cheong, an assistant director for the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), lost her job Sunday after posting a message on her Facebook account lambasting the Malay minority in Singapore.
Cheong, an ethnic Chinese citizen, criticized the community’s divorce rate and the length of Malay wedding celebrations in her rant. Her Facebook account has since been deleted.
“How many fcuking days do malay weddings at void decks [meeting halls in apartment complexes] go on for??,” she reportedly wrote according to a screenshot posted on Twitter. “Pay for a real wedding u asshole, maybe then the divorce rate wont be so high!”
NTUC released a statement on Facebook Sunday regarding her firing, saying the organization has a “zero tolerance” policy towards racially insensitive remarks.
“The NTUC takes a serious view on racial harmony in Singapore,” wrote the organization on Facebook. “We will not accept and have zero tolerance towards any words used or actions taken by our staff that are racially offensive.”
Singapore has maintained a strict stance against insensitive remarks since the racial riots in 1960s between the Malay and Chinese communities—especially considering the country’s precarious location between majority-Muslim nations (i.e. Malaysia and Indonesia) and China.
Cheong is doing some personal damage control on her own. She issued a four-paragraph long apology letter, writing that she is “terribly sorry” for her message.
“There was no racism intended in my post,” said Cheong. “I was trying to rest and the noise was affecting me greatly however I do understand that this is not a valid reason to post what I did. I was wrong and am repentant.”
Cheong didn’t flee from Twitter. She is using her account to tweet to reiterate her comment wasn’t racist, just stupid. She is writing apologies toward people who are accusing her of racism—and at times, getting testy.
“its people like you that makes this an issue about racism when its not. ITS A STUPID COMMENT BUT NOT MEANT TO BE A RACIST ONE,” she tweeted to @SG_Teens, who is encouraging people to retweet a photo of Cheong’s comments.
While Cheong might be out of a job, and in the limelight, she is learning that accusatory remarks on the Internet can be hurtful.
“after this episode, i have realized how one generic post can create so many hurtful and cruel posts from strangers,” she tweeted.
Photo via @SG_Teens/Twitter
A former editorial operations specialist and staff writer for the Daily Dot, Jordan Valinsky is a tech reporter and web culture commentator. His work has been published by the Week, Digiday, CNNMoney, Popular Mechanics, Vice, Mic, and Betabeat.