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Calvin Cheng’s ‘killing children’ remarks ‘insensitive and inappropriate’: MLC chairman

SINGAPORE — Recent remarks made by former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng online were “insensitive” and “inappropriate” for a member of the Media Literacy Council (MLC), said the council’s chairman Tan Cheng Han in a statement today (Nov 27).

Calvin Cheng’s ‘killing children’ remarks ‘insensitive and inappropriate’: MLC chairman

Mr Calvin Cheng. TODAY FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE — Recent remarks made by former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng online were “insensitive” and “inappropriate” for a member of the Media Literacy Council (MLC), said the council’s chairman Tan Cheng Han in a statement today (Nov 27).

“I have spoken to Mr Cheng and counselled him that as a member of the Council he will be held to and judged by a higher standard compared to a private citizen,” Professor Tan said.

On Nov 17, Mr Cheng posted a four-lined comment online, which seemingly advocated killing the children of terrorists “in case they grow up to take revenge”. Mr Cheng had been responding to a thread about liberalism and security started by Future-Moves group chief executive Devadas Krishnadas.

After receiving negative feedback, Mr Cheng took to his blog on Nov 24 to elaborate further on his initial comment.

According to Mr Cheng, his initial comment was meant to be “provocative and outrageous” to spark deeper thought into a “complex moral issue”.

Mr Cheng also referenced two schools of thoughts regarding the topic: Moral absolutism versus utilitarianism.

“Take self-defence. If a child is holding a rifle and is about to shoot at you, do you have the right to kill him?” Mr Cheng wrote.

MLC chairman Prof Tan said he had considered Mr Cheng’s blogpost, the initial discussion thread and the original medium of communication when building his own opinion on Mr Cheng’s original comments.

“Taking everything into consideration, I am unable to conclude that what Mr Cheng said as a whole amounts to hate speech,” Prof Tan said.

But while Prof Tan felt that Mr Cheng did not engage in hate speech, “as a member of the Council he (Mr Cheng) has to visibly uphold the values that the Council espouses”, the MLC chairman added. RAYMOND THAM

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