The name and shame culture that is uniquely Singapore

April 27, 2019

Many years ago. When the internet was just a child. There was an evil warlord by the name of Philip Yeo. He liked to name and shame bond breakers. He called them all sorts of names so that they could never hold their heads up high… day. I came across one of the shamed. I can rememeber this incident clearly. At first he slipped into the shadows as if he was cursed some unholy affliction. But I pursued him and eventually I told him.

‘You only think you are alone, but you are not alone.’

The man asked me, what is your name? He could not see me as I was in the shadows with the others….and so this was how the man Darkness was born.

That was many many years ago….but I remember these things.

Always remember. It is never personal with me. As I did not have a hand to fashion Darkness…He was never my handiwork.

It was YOU!

You were the one. Who breathe life into Darkness…..YOU!


‘If you want to punish someone for a wrong. Then mete out the punishment. That’s to say hang him by the book! Because even if that punishment is harsh. I think that’s better than ostracizing someone by naming and shaming them. As when you name and shame someone you are not doing so with the authority of the law. That’s to say you’re specifically citing the offence and all the specificacy of details relating to how that crime should be punished according to the law. So there’s a max and min and definable start and end and at the end of it the punisher has the satisfaction to say, he’s served his time and the punished can also avail himself to the redemptive satisfaction of saying – I’ve paid my dues to society.

Instead when you name and shame someone. What you have inadvertently done is to rob that person of his elemental right to the law. To put it crudely you have fashioned that person into a keychain just like a bunny’s tail so that you can carry it around with you and do whatever you like. That is what shaming actually connotes – that you dont have any rights! That you punishment is for perpetuity and there’s no end or run out date.

So when you shame someone, there’s really only two possible alternatives. The first he will be broken and end up a broken man. If that’s the case, you win. The second possibility is this man will rise above it all and perhaps even find himself somewhere in the humiliating carnage that you have created and when that happens. Make no mistake that person will have his quarter with you.

Now you know why I always tell people – if you want to hang someone, then do it by the book lah!’

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