Karma works quickly online

SINGAPORE - If the name Anton Casey has been at lingering at the forefront of your mind this week, it has been indelibly stamped for any expat living here.

With the fallout, we (by which I mean anyone in Singapore) have all learnt some lessons.

One is that if you want to post anything derogatory, karma works very quickly on the Internet.

Another is that saying that something was just a joke is rarely valid as an excuse, and hardly ever accepted.

I can see how in some instances, the cold light of text can take any intonation of sarcasm or irony out of a sentence.

But in this case, the argument of "lost in translation" withers with the number of Mr Casey's posts and the language used.

However, why it has created the quantity, and quality, of vitriol is a good question. I think this surpasses anything we have seen on social media before - people are baying for blood.

In analysis, the posts hit several raw nerves. For one, it brought back the idea that all expats are here to just take jobs, take women (preferably pretty), treat anyone local as underlings and exist on ridiculously inflated "expat packages".

All while secreting themselves away in foreigner-only enclaves.

That is not true, of course, but it does not help that Mr Casey fits the mould of the stereotypical ang moh.

Aside from his appearance, he's obviously wealthy - going by the Porsche and Mercedes AMG in his photos - and has a local girl - an ex beauty queen no less - on his arm, lives in a high-end apartment in Newton, and the list goes on.

But it's also about elitism. That someone who's rich, no matter what their background, will treat anyone with a lower income as beneath them.

And then there's his profession. A high earner in the finance industry.

Bankers don't enjoy a good reputation, especially after the global financial system was brought to its knees in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

And banks had to be bailed out by governments, yet bankers still brought home fat pay checks.

From what the public has seen of Mr Casey, a handful of Facebook posts and one YouTube video, he's someone who takes money as a licence to sneer.

On a personal level, my heart sinks every time one of my countrymen or any Caucasian causes trouble.

It means more generalising about how "we" act here. It means the term "foreign talent" is pushed further into becoming a slur.

But acting entitled is not a trait unique to one nation.

Being rich and obnoxious is not exclusive to one race.

There are plenty of moneyed morons of all creeds and colours, all equating cash to class.


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