Beware of mislabeling hate speech as emotive speech

 

This is my original letter to Today’s forum and it was published today 30 June, but with some explosive contents removed lolz. Still it captures the essence of what I wanted to convey.

I refer to the letter “Beware of labeling emotive comments as hate speech” (June 24) by  Julian Lim Choong Ping.

The writer seems to think that Bryan Lim’s speech was taken out of context. However, let’s not forget that he posted the message on a Facebook social group which fights against rightful tax paying LGBT Singaporeans from equal rights from discrimination. A social group where posters regular incite violence against LGBT folks and posts pictures of beheading, hanging and beating of LGBT folks to support their point and yet hardly any police report were made against those posters.

Secondly, in the context of Orlando’s mass shooting incident,  Mr Lim’s speech brought about fear and panic amongst LGBT folks, their families and friends alike. Such speech cannot be construed as “emotive” speech but hate speech because of the possibility of incident actual violence against someone or groups of people. The writer fails and perhaps refuses to understand the kind of anxiety, fear and panic such message brought towards the LGBT community, their family and friends. The consequence’s of his message is only for him to bare, but it could have huge and deadly consequence for many more innocent people, especially when there are people who liked and supported what Mr. Lim has posted.

It seems odd that the writer find it reasonable to incite violence against people in the LGBT community and that its an infringement of his freedom of speech whereas. Yet he makes no mention that we have such laws to protect against person’s race, religion and gender. Is he suggesting that our sedition law is infringing on his freedom of speech too?

Any possible consequences of Mr Lim’s action on his employment is unfortunately, but not because of pressure from LGBT groups, but because it is the right thing to do in the context of the company’s own diversity policy. Just like how a senior banker was dismissed for expletive-laced rant against a group of construction worker in 2012. Not because of pressure from construction workers but because it was the correct thing to do.

The Today’s published article:

http://www.todayonline.com/voices/bryan-lims-comments-caused-anxiety-lgbt-community

Bryan Lim’s comments caused anxiety in LGBT community

FROM KELVIN WONG HENG
PUBLISHED: 10:40 PM, JUNE 29, 2016
The writer of “Beware of labelling emotive comments as hate speech” (June 24, online) seems to think that Mr Bryan Lim’s comments were taken out of context.

Let us not forget that Mr Lim posted his message on the page of a Facebook group that fights against the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Singaporeans to be free from discrimination.

Members of this group regularly incite violence against LGBT people through the pictures they post, for example, and yet hardly any police reports have been made against them.

In the context of the Orlando shooting, Mr Lim’s comments brought fear to LGBT people, their families and their friends.

Such speech cannot be construed as “emotive” but as hate speech because of the possibility of incident violence against someone or groups of people. The writer fails and perhaps refuses to understand the kind of panic those comments caused.

Oddly, he seems to find it unreasonable to infringe on speech that incites violence against the LGBT community, yet he makes no mention of such laws to protect against feelings of enmity between Singapore’s different races.

Is he suggesting that the Sedition Act infringes on his freedom of speech too?

The consequences of Mr Lim’s comments are for him to bear, but they could have huge consequences for innocent people, especially when there were others who liked and supported what he had posted.

Any possible consequences for his employment would only be right in the context of his company’s diversity policy, and not because of LGBT groups.

In 2012, a senior banker was dismissed for his expletive-laced rant against a group of construction workers, not because of pressure from construction workers but because it was the correct thing to do.

Show me the money Shan!

The tragedy in Orlando this week has brought up many different issues; internalized homophobia, violence against LGBT community, religious fanaticism and gun laws in the US.

Minister of Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam offered his and the government’s condolences to the victims and reiterated that they will protect all its people.

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/government-will-protect-people-regardless-of-race-religion-or-sexuality-shanmugam

The Government will protect its people regardless of race, religion or sexuality, Minister of Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam said at the Khadijah Mosque on Tuesday (June 14).

“It looks like the gay community has been targeted. This is unacceptable. Violence against any group in any form is not acceptable. Here, the government will act decisively if there is threat of violence against anyone or any group. The government’s duty is to protect everyone.

“Their race, their religion, their sexual orientation, that’s not relevant,” he said, in the aftermath of a massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando last Sunday, when a lone attacker called Omar Mateen gunned down some 50 people in the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

Yes, its a heartfelt condolence and sincere no doubt, but to many in the LGBT community, it rings hollow in view of the law and how the government allows and enforces its view in the public sphere. Continue reading