People are all ‘tulan’ with Anton Casey

From ‘We can afford to forgive this arrogant twerp’, 26 Jan 2014, article by Chua Mui Hoong, Think, Sunday Times

…To be sure, he sounded like an arrogant little twerp. But what accounts for such anger towards him? When I mentioned to a taxi driver that online reactions to Mr Casey were getting nasty, he nodded and said: “Yah, people all tulan” – a Hokkien word whose metaphorical meaning refers to being vexed beyond tolerance.

He went on to recount some of his own “Anton Casey moments”. In his case, it was expat cyclists: those who hog a lane, or two. Who expect right of way everywhere: pedestrians to make way for them on pavements, and motorists to make way for them on the road, who dart across traffic light junctions when the light isn’t in their favour, expecting cars to avoid them.

…In any case, if his latest apology is sincere – unlike the earlier one issued through a public relations company – he is having his own personal epiphany. What about us Singaporeans? Perhaps we too need to do some self-reflection.

Can we be a little less prickly when others poke fun at us? Can we learn to fight back online, without resorting to personal attacks, vulgarities or threats of harm? Do we have the grace to accept an apology and forgive?

And to say: This man, who is our guest, has returned hospitality with insult. He has done us wrong, but he has apologised and is paying the price. Enough is enough.


In 2012, PAP hottie and selfie king Baey Yam Keng had to apologise for a controversial remark he made about Singaporeans having to ‘reflect upon ourselves’ after PRC scholar Sun Xu said that ‘there are more dogs than people in Singapore’. Chua Mui Hoong is clearly living dangerously here, saying that Singaporeans can be over ‘prickly’ when foreigners mock us, and that we need to do some ‘self-reflection’. She has also jumped on the ‘spare Anton’ campaign bandwagon after SKM chairman William Wan called for tolerance and empathy, except using the less subtle approach of slamming the guy as an ‘arrogant little twerp’ (the kind of insult that Joe Pesci’s bungling burglar would use on Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone) and then calling for forgiveness later.

The strangest bit about her ‘opinion’ piece is describing Anton’s downfall as him ‘having a personal EPIPHANY’. Is he getting canonised in Perth as we speak or what? The worst thing that could happen now, with people wanting to make pandering statements by straddling the fence between condemnation and forgiveness, is if Anton Casey becomes not just a ‘poster-child’ of Singapore’s expat millionaires, as fellow expat and ST contributor Rob O’Brien put it elegantly (Anton Casey is not every expat, 26 Jan 2014, Sunday Times), but God forbid, victimised to the point of anti-hero and martyr. Enough is enough already.

But reflect I shall. Not if we’re being too harsh on Anton, but rather if this backlash that could be felt all over the world would mean that netizens and online vigilantes are creating a climate of social media phobia for themselves. Fear of saying the wrong things and losing your job over it because someone started a chain reaction of Facebook ‘sharing’. Whether the brouhaha has led to some form of self-censorship, where we’re afraid to touch on matters like race, religion, or class in a non-PC way because you never know when a random post gets blown out of proportion. We may be forced into playing it TOO safe, leading to an ironic state of affairs where the government could kick back and never need to monitor hate speech because we have inadvertently stifled our ‘freedom of speech’ ourselves, more wary of Stomp and Facebook users than the actual media police. Will social media be dumbed down because of the tyranny of the mob, that we’re so careful with being ‘responsible’ that we decide it’s safer to shut up than say something remotely provocative?

Then again, there’s always Perth. Scoot managed to take the AC case to new heights of absurdity. Once vilified as scum, he’s become a running joke. And his family isn’t spared. There’s no letting up on this guy is there? Curiously, this ad reminds me of the ‘Get Lost’ ad used by STB to promote our country in Australia. And get lost he did. He must be praying that no one in Perth says the same to him.

New scoot mascot

On a separate note, I’m rather taken aback that the ST allowed the word ‘TULAN’ in a national newspaper, while other times they’ve been known to censor ‘b**th’, a** and even ‘cr*p’. Tulan is a crude Hokkien term for ‘exasperation’, or literally ‘pig’s dick’. In other words, a vulgarity, like ‘Singaporeans very TULAN cos that ang moh Anton Casey SIBEI GUAILAN (very obnoxious dick)’. Similan (what the dick)?


5 Responses

  1. […] – Anonymous_X: Of Anton Casey and his greatest mistake – Everything Also Complain: People are all ‘tulan’ with Anton Casey – Singapore Notes: Something Is Wrong With William – [FB] Oon Shu An: Open letter to […]

  2. You know what?
    The Singapore mentality is to FOLLOW THE FATHER. Father LEE.
    What happens when someone says bad things (untrue or rude) to him? SM Goh? PM Lee? What do THEY do?
    They sue the pants off the guy.
    So monkey see monkey do. Gracious society is a nice buzzword.
    Singaporeans are just “brought up” this way, and they have become emboldened in the last 10 years using Internet to threaten anyone who “gets in the way”. All of us detest Anton Casey but the sheer force of the blood seeking witch hunt is reflecting on Singapore society on the whole. (or is it only netizens?)
    Singapore is doomed unless someone can try to reverse the damages already done by ultra competitiveness (kiasu), high population density (too many immigrants) and wealth divide (Singaporeans pay for casino building costs and cannot visit, what a joke).
    Sad. To the ONE, who can make a turnaround, pay him BILLIONS. He is worth it.

  3. I like this part: “online vigilantes are creating a climate of social media phobia for themselves. Fear of saying the wrong things and losing your job over it because someone started a chain reaction of Facebook ‘sharing’.”

    Those actively condemning others on social media may one day get a taste of their own medicine. Social media justice is scary. The accused are not much better off than politicians sued for libel.

  4. Someone should create a wikipedia page about Anton Casey so that people would know who he is when they google search him.

    What Anton Casey has said about Singaporeans is totally unacceptable. These types of expats should be rejected by Singaporeans. If these expats do not behave themselves here, then they can go home to their own country.

    From my experience, quite a large number of expats here do not possess any particularly special skills or “talents”. Their skills are quite generic. They would not be able to compete in their own countries and enjoy the same lifestyle they have here. They enjoy lots of economic and social privileges mainly because of their “assumed superiority”.
    In fact these are just ordinary joes taking advantage of opportunities here that they cannot attain in their own countries.

    People like Anton Casey should be taught a good lesson and this should act as a warning to other expats who “cross the line” of decency when living in Singapore.

    Singaporeans must make it loud and clear that people like Anton Casey are not welcome here if they do not behave themselves.

  5. […] a greater good’, even if that evil deed means forcing the enemy to flee the country, like Anton Casey did. In Jover’s case, he got pranked with 3 large Pizza Hut pizzas delivered to his home.  ONLY […]

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