Glenn Ong: Put mad dogs to sleep

From ‘Did Glenn Ong really say that?’, 19 Sept 2011, article by Gerald Goh, Teh Jen Lee, TNP

SHE couldn’t quite believe her ears when she was listening to the radio last Thursday. DJ Glenn Ong had related an encounter he had with a “crazy” woman who caused chaos in a restaurant a segment of The Morning Show on Class 95 FM.

The listener, a 33-year-old corporate trainer who wanted to known only as Sabrina, said Ong went on to say that the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) should be responsible in making sure “these people” are not out in public.

When TNP contacted Ong yesterday, and asked if he had used the sentence about “putting mad dogs to sleep” on air, he said: “Roughly.” But he clarified that he was reading an SMS response from a listener.

It’s hard to judge if Glenn Ong was discriminating against mentally ill patients from the report above, or whether it was a case of him using the overused and trivialised  ‘crazy’ the way most people would say it everyday, like ‘the weather is crazy’, ‘don’t be crazy’ or ‘ you’re crazy not to accept the promotion’ i.e on ‘normal’ people. If you think about it, we hardly ever call individuals with overt psychotic ailments i.e autistim or schizophrenia ‘crazy’, not to mention bring it up on national radio unless this woman’s behaviour was typical of a demanding, aggressive customer which angered the DJ to the point that he would resort to cursing euthanasia upon her. If you look at the spectrum of synonyms for a mad person, you’ll realise they become more euphemistic as the words get longer. Mad, crazy, psycho, lunatic, deranged, mentally ill, schizophrenic, neurotransmitter-imbalanced. Like Glenn, most of us pause to find the right word to describe someone who needs medical attention, but do not hesitate to call our boss, wife or teacher ‘mad’.

It’s likely that Glenn was using ‘crazy’ in the figurative sense, and mistiming the association with IMH and mad dogs to give the listener the impression that he thinks all mental patients who are ‘let loose’ in public should be put down, when it’s likely that the target of his rant isn’t a mental patient at all, but a difficult diner who displayed all the traits of a rabid, wild animal in heat. Nonetheless, any call to forcibly put to sleep any human, sane or insane,  on the air  (even if as a joke) would be taken as inciting discriminatory violence by sensitive listeners rather than a quick-tempered outburst by a radio personality whose impulsiveness is reflected in his serial marriages.

Not the first time of course, that this veteran ‘shock-jock’ got into trouble over the air. In 2007, Class 95 FM was fined $5k when Glenn and long time partner Flying Dutchman discussed if  men and women should make noise during sex on air. Early last year, the same duo remarked that the ‘top 10 most trustworthy’ Singaporeans‘ according to Reader’s Digest ‘could not be trusted’ at all. Glenn has always struck me as a no holds barred, unapologetic ‘wise guy’ known for his cynical barbs and observations, part of a Morning Show charm that appeals not just to his fans but specifically to certain females in the same profession. There must be something marketable about his scruffy attitude which makes Mediacorp stick with him all these years. Or maybe Class 95 FM is just ‘crazy’ not to let him go.

Postscript: Glenn later feigned amnesia about quoting the ‘mad dog’ SMS, with Vice President Sandra Chan clarifying that Glenn intended to say that IMH should ‘lock up these people for public safety’, based on an isolated incident with a ‘mentally unstable’ person in China. To elaborate (What DJ meant to say was.., 24 Sept 2011, TNP):

“He did not mean to link these individuals to ‘crazy dogs’. What he meant to say was that if a dog had attacked someone, measures would be taken, so in the same vein, mentally unstable people should be monitored to protect other members of the public from danger.

“He apologises unreservedly if his comments were deemed insensitive and might have caused undue distress to his listeners.”

It’s not clear what Glenn experienced at the restaurant, but if the ‘crazy’ woman had indeed gone ‘postal’ and tossed cutlery at random diners, he might have a point, but the change of tune from ‘putting down’ the mentally ill to ‘monitoring and locking them up if necessary’ is opening up another can of vitriol for critics to ‘go mental’ on him. A simple, personal apology would have sufficed, though the damage is done and we won’t see the likes of Glenn taking part in the President’s Star Charity anytime soon.


8 Responses

  1. I don’t listen to Class 95 FM but on 93.8 and 90.5, the banter can be pretty pathetic. From the account, this Glenn Ong is more likely to appear like IMH material than whoever he was ranting about. Frankly our so-called talk shows are often closer to turd shows. 😦

  2. […] envisioned having a nuclear power plant as far back as the 1960s – Everythign Also Complain: Glenn Ong: Put mad dogs to sleep – Making Light of Things: Universal – Rambling Librarian :: Incidental Thoughts of a Singapore […]

  3. For goodness sake..if anyone needs to be put to sleep is Glen Ong, and I am reading out am SMS too. This clown gives advice on family, woman, marriage and relationship and that’s based on this impeccable record in maintaining relationship and marriages. Honestly when I see him with his dark classes he looks like a retard, let alone a “wise guy”. sorry for using a politically incorrect term but that was reading from a SMS as well. Now that’s a no holds barred comment as well

  4. Don’t bother listening to him anymore, which is too bad as I liked Flying Dutchman. Glenn is just a superficial, egotistical, sociopathic, motormouth. My congratulations to Kate and Jaime for getting out of their marriages to him and I urge Jean to get out of it ASAP.

  5. I wonder what Singaporeans want. Just a radio that plays music, and where every radio guy speaks in PG13.

    No sense of humor at all!

  6. I enjoy listening to The Morning Show and am amused when Glenn Ong takes a shot at certain situations. If we are honest, we can admit that he says things on air out loud that are in our heads. However, this comment of his, if true, is over the top. There are enough safe topics to poke fun at. Making such comments about disabled people is insensitive, hurting and unfriendly. And also not funny at all.

  7. Glenn has an unapologetic acerbic tongue whose opinion (dare i say) is worse than that of a 4 year old). I do listen to class 95 every morning because of verneta and the flying dutchman as these two stirs your brain to think every morning and they are really what you would say as radio entertainment. While you can relate to what these two has to say, glenn seems to be in a constant brain fart and dishes cuss, rants relating to his own personal experiences whether arguing with a taxi driver or lousy restaurant with bad services etc. etc. etc. all because it happened to him. The worst part is he thinks he knows better and he is always right. He is a jerk, first rate pompous ass with a a mustard seed for a brain.

    Whether this is true or not (because for the record, glenn at 830am today excused himself and said he did not say such things), glenn is an insensitive fool who will get mediacorp in a lot of hotwater for years to come, i guess that’s what they all entertainment.

    next week as a form of protest, calss 95 will 1 less listener on the road.

  8. If you really feel strongly abt what he did, sign the petition : to get him suspended.

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