The original debate with a friend of mine on FB, was in Chinese. I’m blogging about it in English so most of my friends and followers can understand. Folks who know me often find me to be quite a forgiving guy who would normally accept sincere apologies and move on. I also don’t think that “####ing populist” is a big deal. However, if I get lame excuses and victim-blaming, I’ll definitely follow up with a debate (since I can’t POFMA).
Over the weekend, a friend told a story about him breaking wind inside a lift full of strangers. He felt embarrassed and started sympathising with Mr ex-Speaker. As any reasonable person can see, there is no basis for comparing a physiological process with someone who is wide awake, consciously muttering something under his breath, oblivious to the presence of a hot mic. The explanation given for this comparison is that they are both “unintentional”. That of course, goes without saying. But do you mean to say:
“Sorry, the insult was not meant for your ears. I didn’t know about the hot mic. I should have insulted you behind your back or made sure that the mic was turned off.”
Most appalling, however, is the argument that the target of this insult is obliged to ignore it and if the target chooses to pursue the matter, then it shows a lack of refinement 涵养 on his part. Yao mo gao chor ah? The one who uttered profanity must be forgiven and if not, the insulted party lacks refinement?
As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, Tan Chuan Jin’s profanity is really not a big deal (until someone tries to justify it). It’s the revelation of his arrogant, elitist disposition and his disrespect for his peers in Parliament through the hot mic that is noteworthy. Even when I’m vehemently disagreeing with a peer, I would never think of him as a ####ing idiot unless I’m an arrogant bastard who has no respect whatsoever for him. And I’m just a nobody. Shouldn’t the Speaker of the House show more refinement than that?
Some of us are afraid of talking in our sleep, but what we say in our sleep cannot be held against us because we are not necessarily saying what we mean. What a hot mic captures when we muttering under our breath, however, is a good indication of what is really going on in our minds. Unintentional revelation? A revelation nonetheless.
For me, it’s quite unfathomable how some people can fail to see the arrogant and elitist disposition of our “ruling class” in the face of glaring hot mic incidents. In an earlier hot mic incident, some members of the ruling class had failed to identify a fellow alumni and asked which “lousy school” he’s from. Unintentional? Sure, but the insult is completely genuine and the revelation of their character quite irrefutable. I’m thankful for the hot mic incidents. It’s not that I don’t already know what kind of characters they are, but hopefully, the less well-informed can see it too. The trouble is, even in the face of glaring revelations, some PLPs may actually think that mediocre folks like us should feel honoured to be lorded over by such natural aristocrats.