Last year, a woman with the online name “Sharon Liew” posted a series of offensive tweets:
As you can see, the woman made racist remarks about Indians and Malays.
Residents in Singapore were understandably outraged, and so were the authorities. I mean, why would this woman say such hurtful things?
Well, it turns out that Sharon Liew is actually a man, and he’s not Chinese.
Wanted to Mock Racially Insensitive Posts, Ended Up Being Racist Himself
The man, Zainal Abidin Shaiful Bahari, had set up a parody Twitter account in July 2018 with two friends to mock racially insensitive Singaporeans, according to ST.
The account had gained over 5,500 followers in just a month.
But in 2019, soon after his friends stopped using the account, Zainal took sole control and started posing as “SharonLiew86”.
Ironically, he then started publishing racist tweets aimed at minorities.
On 11 Oct that year, he claimed in a post that Malay students’ academic achievements were inferior to that of their Chinese counterparts.
On 18 April 2020, he also made fun of the pottu, which is the coloured dot worn on the centre of the forehead by Hindus and Jains, and others who practise Hinduism.
A day earlier, he had used a racial slur last year when tweeting a response to a CNA report that said most of the COVID-19 cases detected that day were in migrant workers’ dormitories.
He took down the post, but the damage had been done, as it had already sparked uproar among netizens.
The next day, a member of the public informed the police about the offensive tweets, and officers from Bedok Police Division soon established Zainal’s identity.
Sentenced to Three Weeks’ Jail
Nearly a year after admitting to his offences and getting charged in court, the 35-year-old was sentenced to three weeks’ jail today (8 June).
Zainal, a senior director of a computer software firm, pleaded guilty to two charges involving acts against racial harmony. Two other similar charges were considered during sentencing.
In his defence, Zainal’s lawyers claimed he was not racist and is “sincerely contrite”. They added that Zainal had “tried to be funny” but “overstepped the mark”.
Looks like his stand-up comedy career is over then.
Zainal may have gotten off easy, though, as those convicted of committing acts against racial harmony can be jailed for up to three years and fined.
Featured Image: Facebook (K Shanmugam Sc)
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