Calvin Cheng Appears To Mock Fellow NMP For Only Representing The Views Of A Select Few
She rightly captured the mood of younger Singaporeans who were frustrated with current attitudes towards dissent and disagreement.
While it was lauded by many, her speech did rile up others.
Namely Mr Calvin Cheng, a former NMP who took to Facebook to air his grievances.
Well, he aired it for a while before seemingly deleting his post.
But this is the Internet in 2018 – nothing you say online ever really goes away.
A Redditor shared his alleged post:
There’s no mention of it on Mr Cheng’s Facebook page now, but a quick search on Google shows that it did exist:
Given these factors, we can safely assume that Mr Cheng did post a response to Ms Kuik’s speech – and that he took it down after.
Why take it down?
What’s interesting is that Mr Cheng has never been the sort to shy away from controversial statements.
Remember this one?
So why do it now?
We theorise some possible reasons:
1. He waded into the High/Low SES debate
Well-educated, liberal minded, well-to-do folks like her? Or aunties and uncles at hawker centres?
By stating this, Mr Cheng inadvertently implied that aunties and uncles at hawker centres are not well-educated and not well-to-do.
If anything, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent speech was a reminder that we shouldn’t divide society between the haves and the have-nots.
By suggesting that hawker centres are for the have-nots, Mr Cheng might have antagonised Singaporean society as a whole. After all, both rich and poor love their weekly roti prata at the kopitiam?
2. He misread public sentiment
Always the Devil’s advocate, Mr Cheng is known for views that largely go against public sentiment.
Which isn’t a bad thing at all, since a diversity of views is healthy for a democracy.
But despite going against the norm, Mr Calvin Cheng’s opinions do win him some fans, like this one:
His case against Ms Kuik’s argument might have been better received if he had relied on facts, not snark and personal attacks.
One can only imagine the sarcasm he felt when he allegedly typed this:
Well-educated, liberal minded, well-to-do folks like her ?
Looking at the original Reddit thread, it’s easy to see why Mr Cheng allegedly retracted his comments.
Redditors almost unanimously criticised him for failing to understand the concept of constructive criticism.
Because to the average Internet user, Mr Cheng did not come off as intelligent or opinionated.
Instead, he merely appeared to be pettily grasping at straws in order to win an argument.
3. All views are useful views
Mr Cheng’s final point discussed the limited feasibility of “listening to all views”.
But that’s not what Ms Kuik suggested that the Government do at all.
Instead, she called on policymakers to not rely solely on Government-initiated feedback channels to register public sentiment.
There are other views that never make it to these channels – by knowing that they exist, the Government can work to include them more, instead of assuming that everything is well and good.
That’s what Ms Kuik meant, Mr Calvin Cheng.
Knowing of their existence is one thing, listening to them is another.
In her own words, Ms Kuik said,
Whatever it is, their quiet dissent is real and such withholding of views may give leadership the wrong impression that all is quiet on the western front.
Take it to Parliament, folks
If Mr Cheng had made his reported remarks while in Parliament instead, we might have seen Ms Kuik rise to defend her words.
But because they were made in cyberspace, we can’t be so sure.
Nevertheless, MustShareNews has reached out to both Mr Cheng and Ms Kuik for comment.