IPS research assistant receives abusive comments after former NMP Calvin Cheng beseech his FB followers to “tell him off”

Dhevarajan Devadas, a research assistant at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), was pitchforked by netizens after former Nominated MP Calvin Cheng beseeched his followers to “tell him off” on Facebook.

Mr Dhevarajan previously wrote on Facebook about the arguments on taking down the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles.

He wrote, “There are plenty of roads and institutions bearing his name to remind us of him. But what it does mean is that we finally acknowledge the impact of colonialism on the indigenous people of this region by vacating his place of honour.”

“It would also be a potent signal that after more than five decades of independence. Singapore is finally ready to move out of its coloniser’s shadow.”

Mr Dhevarajan’s post, however, has since been taken down after receiving negative comments from netizens.

On Thursday (11 June), he took to Twitter on how he was pitchforked by the “Raffles fan club” and uploaded a few screenshots of the comments that were penned on his now-deleted Facebook post.

“The Raffles fan club is out with their pitchforks for me,” he wrote.

In the Twitter thread, he revealed that the “sudden flurry of abuse” was led by Mr Cheng’s Facebook post that alleged him of wanting to “copy the West and tear Sir Stamford Raffles’ statue down”, beseeching his Facebook followers to go on Mr Dhevarajan’s Facebook page to “tell him off”.

Mr Dhevarajan had also replied to Mr Cheng’s post, saying that Mr Cheng has “misconstrued” his words.

He noted that Mr Cheng’s action of calling people to go on his Facebook page to “tell him off” had caused “a flood of abusive messages and threats” which forced him to change the privacy settings of the post.

“I would have been very happy to discuss this topic with you, in public or in private, because I believe you might have misconstrued my words and intention. I am disappointed, however, that you instead called for people to go to my page to ‘tell me off’,” Mr Dhevarajan wrote.

“Unfortunately, I do not think this serves to further any meaningful discussion on the topic. My offer to engage productively, however, still stands,” he added.

TOC notes that Mr Cheng has yet to respond to Mr Dhevarajan’s comment or tweet at the time of writing.

Former NMP Calvin Cheng made provocative comments about killing children of terrorists

Back in November 2015, Mr Cheng – who was then a member of the Media Literacy Council (MLC)  – wrote a provocative comment about killing the children of terrorists. The comment was penned on the Facebook page of Devadas Krishnadas, Chief Executive Officer of the Future-Moves Group.

“They are a mortal enemy intent on killing and destroying. So you kill them before they kill you. And their children too in case they grow up to take revenge,” he wrote.

In response to the matter, the Chairman of MLC Professor Tan Cheng Han said that after considering all points of view carefully, MLC was “unable to conclude that what Mr Cheng said as a whole amounts to hate speech”.

Two police reports were made against Mr Cheng but the Singapore Police Force (SPF) decided not to take any further action against him.

The Police said in a letter dated 5 October 2016 that the decision was made after careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case and in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, adding that all investigations and enquiries into the matter would stop, and the case will be closed.

The MLC’s about us page writes, “…the Council seeks to address problems such as cyber safety and security, discernment of online falsehoods, cyber bullying and uncivil online behaviour. Its role is to cultivate digital users’ critical-thinking skills and refine their understanding of the issues in the online world so as to empower them to be safe, smart, and kind online.”

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