Sunday, 5 April 2015

Standing By That Harder Truth

A Raging Debate

Pockets of discussion  across  social media ensued after I had posted my last blog post, The Harder Truth.  Frankly,  I did not expect it to go viral the way it did. Friends and family contacted me as they were worried about the impact that some adverse comments might have had on Mom and I.  I was not worried.  To be honest, my key target audience was those in my sons' or even my brother's generation who had never grown up during that very difficult period. I wanted to share my story with them so that they understood how different the Singapore then was and what it took to create a Singapore they are living in today.  

Obviously, the audience that was most impacted by my post,  was those who had lived in that era and understood the difficulties Mom and I went through. They were the same group of people, like myself, who had seen Singapore evolve from an environment of political and social-economical instability to a peaceful nation filled with so much opportunities. 

Hurtful Comments

When the blogpost went viral, there were debates across social media about whether my Dad was indeed a Communist and was hence a danger to society. There were debates about whether or not I should have posted a topic as volatile as this because it dug up a difficult and unpleasant period in the past, particularly when the nation was still mourning the demise of its founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. There were debates about whether I had betrayed my Dad and I was labelled a "disgrace to my father". 

Mom got increasingly distressed because of the hurtful comments but I was not hurt nor was I angry.  You see, it was a story that had to be told. It was timely for me to write that post as a means to close a chapter in our lives, heal and move on.  I grew up with that experience enough to provide a balanced perspective and I certainly would not apologize for taking that stance.

However, what I wanted to address here was the issue of HATE.  

Confronting Hate

When my Dad was  detained under the Internal Security Act for adhering to his pro-Communist views, I grew up hating the establishment for the suffering we went through as a family. I despised the way they curbed freedom of thought and I likened the authorities to "thugs" for storming into my home with an obviously distressed-looking man in handcuffs, whom my Mom had described as "An educated man who did not commit a crime."  

I grew up with this hate that had been responsible for building a hard shell around myself. I was always tough and distrustful of people, and I had such a negative view of the world at a very young age.  However, Dad would never make a stand without careful study, research and reading.  He was an erudite man that way, and would form an opinion from the knowledge and information he had accumulated over the years.

So, like Dad, I am glad that over the years, through  the information and knowledge I had gained through a great education system here in Singapore and my experiences through to my adulthood, I was able to form a balanced view of that episode in the past enough to write that last blog post. I wrote the post with ZERO HATE in my heart and only with the authentic intent to finally close that chapter behind us.

I hated the media then for their pro-government views and for orchestrating things that Dad, Mom and I had to say so that they could get the right angle with that story they wrote.  As a PR and Marketing Communications professional, I was trained to think that I had a responsibility to educate and provide information in the most responsible way that supported my community. So I understood what the reporter then had to do, and why.  Mom and I dug out the old news-clippings and handed it over to a journalist today, who wanted to do a follow-up story. We did this with ZERO HATE in our hearts, simply because that story just had to be told to educate and inform those who had never lived in that period.  Who was best to tell it, but those who were part of that legacy and had a balanced view enough to tell it.

I read every comment across every social media platform that my post was reproduced at, and I found many comments riddled with venomous hate, at what, I was not sure, because some of them who had ranted at my post,  had never lived through that time in point, and most did not know me from Adam.   One reader commented, "There was nothing to forgive, They were in the wrong.  It's people like her father who would have derailed the progress of the nation."  Another said, "Sounds like she's just drinking the Koolaid to me.  Doesn't make sense unless she's a doormat."  Yet another labelled me a "disgrace to her father".  I thought hard about these comments as I saw a dirth of fellow netizens jumping in with even more comments, this time, in defense of my stand. I was very grateful and realized that was how social media regulated itself with many having the sense to correct the erroneous views of others quite openly. I believed that only an educated Singapore, could give birth to a society of brave and intelligent people with views unbiased enough to do just that.

Most importantly, I was raised in a family where having differing views was okay, but it needed intelligent substantiation.  I was allowed to discuss politics over a dinner table, even at a very young age, since I was old enough to sit at the table, and I was encouraged to ask many questions.  My parents loved me enough to respect my views even when I was very young. I was raised in a family full of love, acceptance and understanding, and that is why I had the maturity enough to form my own non-judgemental view of life as I grew up and that enabled me to write that last blog post.  When I read the comments about my blog post that were tainted with hate, I approached these comments  and these netizens with ZERO HATE simply because I thought they might not be like me, perhaps they were not raised in a home full of love.  They did not understand me, they did not know me, and they could never be me.  And why should they be? What right have I got to expect that? 

They chose to hate and hurt, I chose to let it go. They chose to perpetuate negativity  across social media by ranting,  I chose to put a positive spin to my story instead.   If I had chosen to hate because of what had happened to us in the past, I would be a very different person today.

So I stand by the harder truth, that no matter how unbiased my views may be and no matter how authentic my intentions are, there will always be detractors out there determined to perpetuate hate.  I am not able to change their perspectives, but here is what people like Dad, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and the other netizens who had jumped in to defend me with their comments had taught me - we earn our credibility and respect only because we have the courage and the self assurance enough to confront hate.

About The Writer

The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional for over 20 years.  Due to her love for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), she is also a freelance sports writer on the side, contributing MMA-related articles to several sports media.  She works in partnership with her husband, David Ash, who is an avid sports photographer from  She is passionate about Muay Thai and nurtures a dream to fight competitively one day when her coach stops making fun of her.  She is also a psychic intuitive by birth and runs a consultancy that does tarot and numerology readings under her brand, Sun Goddess Tarot.  This blog is affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled  “the bloke with ginger hair”.  



  1. I am so glad you did not turn out to be some of the Roy cronies and the likes.. Growing up with hate and blinkers.. No one nor no country is perfect. Big picture... Singapore has done extremely well.. Some hiccups here and there.. But u know what.. No need to be 10/10.. We all turn out fine.. We can travel freely, in our own country and overseas.. We have great health care and retirement plans and always improving.. Naturally, there are some who will have their say.. And there is no winning with these people...

    1. Yup, I don't take those who made nasty comments without understanding the full context seriously.