SINGAPORE - When it comes to social issues, expect no less than a brutally honest comment from Tay Ping Hui.
The local actor has slammed British expatriate Anton Casey on Twitter, calling him "a half-wit and pompous fool".
This was in response to Mr Casey's recent Facebook posts which sparked outrage in Singapore.
Mr Casey had recently posted two pictures of his five-year-old son, one on the MRT and the other in his Porsche, juxtaposing Mr Casey's perspective of what constitutes the "poor people" here with his luxurious lifestyle.
Tay, who heard about the posts from his friend, hit out on his Twitter account.
He wrote: "When a half-wit like Anton Casey thinks he can... insult us in our own country and get away with it, it is only right that we make an example out of this pompous fool."
Mr Casey, who is married to Miss Singapore Universe 2003 Bernice Wong, later apologised for his actions through a public relations firm, and said that he and his family are suffering from abuse online.
Tay, 43, told The New Paper that he felt Mr Casey was not sincere in his apology. "He has made himself a victim by talking about what he and his family are going through," Tay said.
"How can he be innocent when he was the one who put his son in the pictures? I don't feel a sense of repentance.
"I'm normally a forgiving guy.
"The only thing he can do now, and I believe I speak for many Singaporeans, is to leave.
"Why should we welcome people like him, give him a job and PR (permanent residency) only for him to bite the hand that feeds (him)?
So where does one draw the line at brutal honesty on social media?
Tay himself is after all known for calling a spade a spade.
He said: "I have strong opinions about things and people are aware that they are mine and my opinions alone and I don't need to sugarcoat them.
"I'm mindful of respecting people's race, religion and social status. We have no right to look down on other people and criticise them for their lot in life.
"My criticism is centred on people's actions so it's about what they have done, not who they are."
In that spirit, Tay said netizens should stop hurling abuse online at Mr Casey's wife and son because they are innocent parties who had unwittingly been dragged into the debacle.
To cause them pain and hurt would be no different than what Mr Casey had done to the people that he insulted, Tay said.
Tay said his wife, family and friends all appreciate his candour.
"As a celebrity, I'm aware that whatever I say spans a wider area so I think before I speak," he said. "Anton didn't express himself intelligently. I know tons of rich people who take public transport."
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