Does the term “MRT lady” ring a bell? How about “I am from Hwa Chong”?
Let me get you up to speed if you still can’t string it together.
Remember the lady who went viral on the internet last year for all the wrong reasons? Yea, she’s back, but this time with good news.
Well, sort of.
Hwa Chong Lady Given Stern Warning for Her Actions Partly Due to Delusional Disorder
Infamous for making elitist and racist remarks on the MRT, the woman, Ms Tan Beow Hiong, has had all three of her charges withdrawn. Why?
Apparently, she suffers from delusions. In other words, she thinks others want to harm her and hence behaved that way.
As such, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) granted her a discharge amounting to an acquittal.
Simply put, even if she repeats 2021’s behaviour, she wouldn’t be charged.
The AGC announced that Ms Tan has a delusionary disorder of a persecutory nature, the cause for her poor social judgement and fueling her ingrained prejudices.
Escalating the severity is the fact that she has no knowledge of the condition. Also, if she were convicted of her offences, she would be unwilling to receive treatment for her condition under a mandatory treatment order, said AGC.
Usually, for such offences, convicts would have to undergo treatment for their mental condition before heading to jail.
Luckily for her, Ms Tan need not suffer any consequences.
What Exactly Happened?
For those who don’t even know who I’m talking about, don’t worry.
In 2021, Ms Tan was filmed making derogatory remarks toward other train passengers based on their race. Also, she looked down on people for not being of the same intellectual caliber as her, claiming that her alma mater was Hwa Chong.
On Twitter, another video uploaded also showed her questioning other people in the MRT cabin about their education.
When a commuter identified herself as Malay, the woman condescendingly said: “Malay is it? Okay, no wonder.”
Also, she mistook a Filipino for a Malay.
In June that year, she was charged with two counts of acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different racial groups, as well as one count of being a public nuisance.
She was also remanded for two weeks at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for psychiatric observation.
Apart from videos recorded by civilians, the woman herself also voiced her sentiments on Youtube.
Her channel was taken down last year for violation of Youtube’s harassment and cyberbullying policy.
“We have strict policies that prohibit harassment on Youtube, including content that maliciously insults someone based on their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation,” a Youtube spokesperson said.
“We quickly remove content that violates these policies when flagged.”
After her court case was brought to light last year, she was also sacked by her company, Knight Frank Singapore. Ms Tan was an associate at the real estate firm.
“One of Knight Frank’s core values is to be a responsible business to people and the community.
“The company maintains zero tolerance for hate speech and racism that threatens the foundation on which Singapore is built,” it said.
Other than being sacked, she was delisted from the Council for Estate Agencies’ public register.
If She Were Charged
For each count of committing an act prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different racial groups, Ms Tan could have been jailed for up to three years and fined.
For being a public nuisance, she could have faced up to three months imprisonment and fined up to $2,000.
Last year, when her incident was brought to light, many were understandably outraged.
Users on Facebook criticised her for her insensitivity and indifference toward Singapore’s multiracialism.
Some asked for her to be severely punished. One user even asked for her to be caned (Singapore’s prison system doesn’t cane women).
In true Facebook fashion, some even poked fun at the situation, saying that she should be paired up with the Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer.
To contextualise, said lecturer was a 61-year-old man who made racist remarks against an interracial couple. In the video, the ex-lecturer said to the couple: “Such a disgrace, Indian man with a Chinese girl.”
“The only thing is when you’re preying on Chinese girl, I tell you the Chinese don’t like it.
“If you are proud of your own race, you marry somebody Indian.”
The best part? The “Indian” man involved wasn’t even Indian! He was half-Thai and half-Singaporean!
Now that Ms Tan’s charges are withdrawn, many are still disapproving. They argue that her mental ability wasn’t obstructed when she made those sharp comments, but is now factored in when she is being punished.
At the end of the day, Singapore is a multiracial society. Racism or the breeding of racial disunity of any kind should not be condoned.
Sure, you are entitled to your own thoughts, but just keep them within those boundaries.
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