She is comel – 很 可 愛 – rather like a soft toy. Thus we see why Ong Sing Yee (Ong Xin Yi) has been speedily adopted as a mascot suitably representative of the DAP new vote bank — the young Chinese.
The 19-year-old who looks like an anime (Japanese cartoon: doe-eyed, pointy-chinned and pretty), apologized for stepping on Najib Razak’s photo at a press conference held in the DAP KL headquarters on Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday she had turned herself in at the Johor Bahru central police station accompanied by DAP state deputy chairman Norman Fernandez, who is a lawyer, to give her statement.
While I realise the gravity of Sing Yee offence, I’m also sympathetic to her ordeal and concerned that her predicament will be politicized like how DAP preyed on the Teoh Beng Hock tragedy for political mileage.
When I say exploited by DAP, I am not alluding to Norman. I’m instead talking about Dear Leader and his large crew of “social media strategists” as well as the inveterate DAP tweeting politicians together with their legion of twits.
Kim Guan Eng has been quick to capitalize already on the publicity. In the Beloved Chief Minister’s typical streetfighter-style, his press statement called on the Home Minister to “apologize for the police’s harsh and heavy-handed treatment”.
He described the handcuffing of Sing Yee as “nothing but an abuse of power and an act of humiliation”, and criticized the police as “insensitive, irresponsible and not making any sense” (compared to the kid-glove treatment of BN leaders when they are charged for corruption). See Malaysiakini, ‘Guan Eng: Handcuffing girl is double standards‘.
He further described Sing Yee as a “young, powerless and defenceless kid” who has been victimized by the “bullying and cowardly tactics of Hishamuddin [Hussein] that question his fitness as Home Minister”.
This is one of those rare occasions when I partially agree with Kim, at least insofar as the characterization of Sing Yee as a young, powerless and defenceless kid is concerned.
It is her very powerlessness that would make her more susceptible to manipulation by Kim’s coterie to score electoral points. For her sake, it should not be allowed that she be turned into a political football like Teoh Beng Hock.
Blogger Big Cat in her posting, ‘DAP’s latest cute poster girl’ sketched Sing Yee thus:
“She looks quite the blur blur type in this video as she joined the others to step on the PM’s picture.”
I agree. Definitely “blur blur” as can seen in her clueless demeanour captured on YouTube. In her press conference, the young lady said that “she had only followed suit when she saw others doing the same”.
Sing Yee is being investigated for committing an offence under s.4(1) of the Sedition Act which carries a penalty of maximum three-year jail sentence, fine not exceeding RM5,000 or both for a first offender.
She was driven interstate from JB to the Dang Wang police station in KL for questioning. The long hours spent in police custody would have been traumatic for someone not yet old enough to vote, and who had casually dropped by Dataran Merdeka on that fateful night it seems on a social outing.
S.3(1) of the Sedition Act defines “seditious tendency”; its clause (e) spells out “to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia”.
My own take is that the promotion of feelings of goodwill and amity between the different races cannot be legislated into existence. We can only try to build bridges, even if it is one plank at a time.
Charging this girl under the serious Sedition Act will in itself promote even greater feelings of ill-will and hostility than that she is alleged to have provoked, and can be seen that she did.
Guan Eng made a mention of Section 290 of the Penal Code — “Punishment for public nuisance” which carries a fine of up to RM400. I would urge the police in their discretion to settle for this lesser charge if they feel that an example must be made.
Why I would prefer to see this particular perpetrator merely slapped on the wrist instead of being bludgeoned with the Sedition sledgehammer is the worrying demography that she and “her friend”, a 20-year-old handphone promoter, belong to. It is this that is the overarching concern, and bigger than the individual.
A stepper, not a stomper
Reproduced below is a commentary by Norman Fernandez:
“It has now come to my knowledge that, prior to taking her to Kuala Lumpur, she was then taken to the Johor Police Headquarters where she was further questioned and this time without the presence of any lawyer.
“Ong Sing Yee hardly can speak a word of Malay or English. Apparently a statement was taken where she was being held at the Johor Police Headquarters, a police interpreter then translated her statement and she was asked signed her statement which she did.
“She certainly never had the opportunity to verify independently if her whole statement was translated to her or even accurately translated or the statement contained information which she had never said and those statements not read back to her. I stand corrected on this issue.”
The girl can hardly speak a word of Malay or English, according to Norman. It is a cause of concern that her generation of Chinese youth are so alienated from the national mainstream.
Before anyone starts pointing fingers at vernacular school, let me to reiterate that the Bangladeshi and Burmese guest workers who manage to speak passable BM never attended our sekolah kebangsaan and they’ve mostly only been here a scant few years.
The problem of non-integration is not just in language competency alone. I could say more but I shan’t for the time being, and admittedly too this write-up does not touch on the Malay youth who mooned Najib’s photo as his falling afoul of the law is a separate polemics.
Several months back I’d posted ‘Cina lagi benci kerajaan kerana kes Teoh Beng Hock’ which drew some degree of hostility from a segment of this blog’s Malay readership.
I was merely describing the situation as it is vis-a-vis TBH. I hope that Sing Yee will not present another golden opportunity among certain factions within the DAP for carrying out incitement, and resulting in greater numbers of Chinese resenting the government.
It would be sad to see Sing Yee – a light stepper (on the Najib photo) – eventually harden to become a stomper like the older adults caught in the act on the viral video if harsh punishment were to be meted out to her by the law.
Don’t lose her generation
The wording of Kim Guan Eng’s press statement on this case is a clear manifestation of the politics of hate.
In comparison, MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu, who is Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, in his statement on Thursday night adopted a more conciliatory tone.
He commented that “the people-friendly policing practised by the police, as well as their collaboration with local organizations and public in fighting crimes, have received positive feedback from the people”,
Gan hoped that the police would adopt “a more humane way when dealing with such cases” i.e. the manner of Sing Yee’s arrest. I hope so too.
There is no doubt about the estrangement of the Chinese community, which is the main reason for the opposition (read: DAP) riding on a crest today.
But I did not see hate in Sing Yee’s rude, defiant gesture. I saw only a display of naive bravado. However the clamour around her is surely aggravating “the feelings of ill-will and hostility” — the very symptoms that the Sedition Act is intended to forestall or douse.
This is a chance for the Najib administration to show the direction that it promises to take the country which is reconciliation, and to reject the politics of hate that fuelled the behaviour of opposition supporters on Merdeka eve.