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Value Your Job? 3 Singaporean Cautionary Tales on Why You Shouldn’t Say Stupid Things Online

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Jeff Cuellar

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If there’s one thing about social media you should never forget, it’s this – there’s no such thing as a “protected” or “private” comment or post. Everything that you post online is public. Even if you “restrict” the number of people who can view your posts, your comments can still reach a far wider audience than you realize.

All it takes is for one of your so-called online “friends” to take a screenshot of one of your comments, and it’s out there for everyone to see.

It’s tempting to voice your frustrations online. After all, many people have the misconception that you can say whatever the hell you want to online without any accountability.

However, if you make racially/socially insensitive comments or accuse a Singapore politician of wrongdoing without proof (or say things about a certain politician’s father or mother), you better start updating your resume – because you’ll be sending it out soon enough.

The following individuals prove if you value your job, you should watch what you say online:

 

Case #1 Anton Casey

Former Position: Wealth Manager

Fired From: CrossInvest Asia

Fired For: Insulting Singaporeans as “Poor” on Facebook and Then Calling Singaporeans “Wusses” on YouTube

Anton Casey, a former wealth manager for a local wealth management advisory company, symbolizes a persona that most Singaporeans despise – the wealthy and arrogant Caucasian expat who disrespectfully mocks locals. And it’s hard to argue otherwise.

After all, he single-handedly managed to insult every Singaporean with his Facebook comments about needing to “wash the stench of public transport off” after taking the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) because his Porsche was undergoing repair.

As bad as his social media comments were, what was worse was his reaction to Singaporeans taking him to task on his comments. Instead of apologizing, he antagonized Singaporeans further by putting up a YouTube video calling Singaporeans “wusses” for their reaction to his comments.

Needless to say, Singaporeans and even politicians weren’t amused by his behavior, and Casey was let go from his job and went into voluntary “exile” with his family to Australia.

There’s still no word yet as to when he and his family will return.

 

Case #2 Amy Cheong

Former Position: Membership Assistant Director

Fired From: National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)

Fired For: Making Insensitive Facebook Comments about Malays Regarding Void-Deck Weddings

Amy Cheong, the former assistant director of membership for the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), is another prime example of someone in an elevated position being brought down by tasteless comments online.

Ms. Cheong used Facebook to post disparaging comments about Malay weddings, remarking that they should “pay for a real wedding” and that society shouldn’t allow marriages to be held for “$50 bucks” at void decks.

She also implied that the Malay divorce rate was high because they couldn’t pay for a “real wedding.”

As you can imagine, her comments pissed A LOT of people off. But what was even more surprising was the fact that it wasn’t some faceless internet troll making this comments – it was an assistant director (membership) of NTUC!

To NTUC’s credit, it did fire Ms. Cheong the following morning. She also received a warning from the Attorney-General’s Chambers regarding her comments. Like Anton Casey after her, she went into voluntary “exile” in Australia.

There’s still no word yet as to whether Ms. Cheong and Mr. Casey meet for drinks to discuss their similar circumstances.

 

#3 Ridhuan Abdullah

Former Position: Security Guard

Fired From: Keith Morton Security Pte Ltd

Fired For: Saying Very Bad Things about the Prime Minister’s Mother on the Prime Minister’s Facebook Page

Ridhuan Abdullah, a former security guard, is a perfect example of why it’s better to invest in a notebook to write down all of your angry feelings about a certain person you dislike (and no, I’m not talking about a Death Note notebook!).

Anton Casey and Amy Cheong were both fired for making disparaging remarks about Singaporeans on their own Facebook accounts. However, Ridhuan’s chose to write some… not very nice comments about someone’s mother, on his Facebook page, on Mother’s Day of all days.

As you may or may not know, the person who he insulted just happened to be the Prime Minister (PM) of Singapore.

As you can expect, the PM wasn’t too amused by Ridhuan’s vulgar comments, nor was Ridhuan’s employer – he was promptly fired after the incident.

 

Honorable Mention: Roy Ngerng

Position: Patient Coordinator

Company: Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)

Fired For: Officially – For Misusing Company Time and Resources/Unofficially – For Accusing the Prime Minister of Misusing Central Provident Fund (CPF) Money

Roy Ngerng, a former patient coordinator at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and prominent social blogger, was recently fired for “conduct incompatible with the values and standards expected of employees.” Whether you believe his firing was performance related or politically motivated, one thing is certain – his social media activity definitely led to his dismissal.

Unless you’ve been living in the jungle the last few years, you already know the back story to the Roy Ngerng saga. Basically, he wrote an article on his popular blog, The Heart Truths, that drew parallels between funds “misappropriated” in the City Harvest case to the PM and his implied mishandling of Central Provident Fund (CPF) money.

Long story short, the PM wasn’t amused by Mr. Ngerng’s article, and is currently filing a lawsuit against him for defamation.

He was later fired by TTSH for “misusing company time, hospital computers and facilities for personal pursuits.” In short, he couldn’t focus on work because of his impending legal troubles (then again, who could?).

Still, there’s something to be learned from this case – if you make claims about someone online, you better have proof that what you’re saying is based on factual evidence.

As of now, it is not yet know whether the PM has accepted Roy Ngerng’s request for a “trial by combat.”

 

What are some ways these individuals could have avoided being fired? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more great articles and moneysaving tips!

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.