Why Han sat down and kept quiet

In Political governance on 03/01/2012 at 7:05 pm

(Or “Why Han stopped digging a grave  for himself and the PAP”)

Almost two weeks since Han came up with a new excuse every five minutes for his remarks that had racist overtones. Looks like he left the last word to Indian buddy Shanmugam (Where’s his Malay buddy?). Maybe he realised what he was up against?

To recap.

Here’s what MediaCorp says SVP Goh Kong Chee of SMRT said on radio that is the “source” of Seng Han Thong’s problems, “And that’s because our staff of different races, it could be Malay, Chinese, or Indians or any other race, they sometimes find it difficult to speak in English.

Han said on his Facebook page:

I notice that the PR mention that, some of the staff, because they are Malay, they are Indian, they can’t converse in English good, well enough, so that also deters them, from but I think we accept broken English.”*

Big difference in emphasis. SVP Goh said that there could be language problems, SMRT being a multi-racial workforce. Han’s emphasis is on two specific races, not on a multiracial workforce.

His latest turn in a letter to transport union, “I made the mistake of only mentioning our “Malay” and “Indian” workers where the original quote in the radio interview I was commenting on had cited MRT staff of different races, “Malay, Chinese, or Indians or any other race”.

So he  longer claims that he misheard as ST reported, but that he left out “Chinese” is my understanding of what he is now saying. Was there a need to mention any race at all? Inadvertently or not?

He said he was defending  the use of “broken English” in an emergency. Was there a need to defend this when this wasn’t an issue that SVP Goh of SMRT raised or used as an excuse? He was making a point about SMRT encouraging staff to speak**

Doesn’t this make nonsense of what the Law Minister said when defending Han and “whacking” TOC.*** This I must commend about Shanmugam. He, unlike other MPs, has the courage to make a fool of himself, defending Han. He got balls unlike Zaqy, etc. I’d like to have him (Shanmugam, not Zaqy) beside me if Quan Yifeng went wacko and tried to assault me. Hey Zaqy, being a PAPpie means the balls to be unpopular in yr community. Pandring to yr community is not a gd career move.

The problem that Han (and his apologists like Shanmugam) has is trying to explain why he singled out the “broken English” of two minority races, but omitted that of the Chinese. That is a hard truth. No amount of twisting and turning, or blaming TOC can explain or excuse the singling out by a PAP MP and a unionist of the “Malay” and “Indian” races.

Maybe a more fruitful line for him would be to blame SVP Goh of mentioning race in the first place, and that he (Han) was trying to rebuke him, but his (Han’s) bad English let him down.

And doesn’t this show, to misquote Mr Shanmugam, that “A significant part of what has been attributed to SMRT is false, to be quite blunt about it.” Any this can be said too of the transcription put up on Han’s site. Listen to cooments (link below).

Oh and let’s not forget Han misquoted SMRT’s  PR person. He is the originator of the remarks. He owns them, and cannot disown them.


*Taz the cleared up version. Words of the Cze wrote I’ve seen the transcript and the video. He has definitely been very misinterpreted. Any interpretation would had been misinterpretation. He was junking words together in a thoroughly confused, jumbled and meaningless order. He as good as held English at gunpoint, which is kind of ironic. The only way it could get more garbled would be if he stammered, and stammering is at least a valid excuse. As it stands, the only right interpretation of his thoughtless remarks run along the line of “oink oinkoinkoink oinkoink oink-oink-oink-oink…” (but that might be offensive to Muslims too).

Juz listen to his words. Scroll to the bottom of article for clip

**”And that’s because our staff of different races, it could be Malay, Chinese, or Indians or any other race, they sometimes find it difficult to speak in English. However we’ve encouraged them to make the announcements and not to worry about that …”

***Weighing in on the controversial remarks, Mr Shanmugam said the key point is that Mr Seng had sought to rebut a statement made by an officer from train operator SMRT.

Mr Shanmugam said: “Han Thong heard over the radio what an officer from MRT said, essentially suggesting that poor language skills of Chinese, Indian and Malay drivers who work with SMRT were part of the problem in the inadequacy of the response by SMRT. Seng Han Thong strongly disagreed with this comment.

“So when he went on TV, he referred to this comment, and in essence made the point that the language skills of workers should not be blamed for the inadequacy of the response. And his point is that broken English can be effective in communicating of what needs to be communicated.

“The real problem according to him, was that the workers, drivers specifically, had not been given adequate training to deal with these sorts of emergencies.”

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