About 24 hours ago, we were alerted by a user that one of our consultants, Sonny Truyen, demonstrated rude behaviour on a Facebook thread.
(The thread has since been deleted by the moderator, but it can still be found on some forums. We won’t be reposting it here because of its offensive nature as well as against our company philosophy to propagate hate)
Let me clear up a few facts:
1) Sonny, an SEO specialist, has only started consulting for us for a week before the incident happened.
2) We are a proud Singaporean company and do not condone such language or behaviour, hence we have since terminated his engagement once the incident came to light.
I apologise on behalf of 99.co, we pride ourselves to be a principled company that celebrates values like diversity and equality. We take responsibility for the public behaviour of any employee or consultant affiliated with us as a reflection of the company.
We are truly sorry, do accept our apology.
Beyond that, this incident has also given me the opportunity to discuss an issue that has been on my mind:
As a fellow Singaporean, I care about the future of this country deeply – this is the place I call home, where we build our enterprise at 99.co, and where I intend to see my daughter grow up.
As you could see in the same forum threads, a reckless act of insult by one individual has provoked the anger of hundreds – not just towards him as an individual, but also inspired categorical attacks on race and nationalities. Simply put, anyone labelled a “Foreign Talent” was heavily criticised. I am sure we all have Australian or Vietnamese friends – how would they feel if they read it?
We are better than that.
I care about my country, which is why even at the risk of provoking more anger, I ask for your assistance in not propagating messages of hate and division, but instead embrace our diversity.
Insulting behaviour is not acceptable regardless of whether it came from a foreign person or from a local. And the truth is, everyone of us have our best and worst moments. It is a conscious choice we should all be making to focus on the positive.
Our challenges today in Singapore are still relatively small, compared to say, the systematic and fatal displays of discrimination in the US. Our forefathers have worked hard to prevent the deadly racial riots of the 60s from repeating as well as designed policies and campaigns to ensure Singapore stays strong and tightly knitted. However, it seems lately the influx of foreigners has increasingly caused resentment.
I am proud to be Singaporean and believe we have one of the most diverse yet harmonious societies in the world where people not just tolerate, but embrace diversity and individual differences. Besides, for a small nation like Singapore, growth is the only way to survive and the truth is we need foreigners to join us as much as the foreigners enjoy becoming part of us.
It is within our power as citizens and residents of Singapore, to nip this at the bud and reverse the trend.
Thus I hope we will stand firm each time we encounter messages of hate and vitriol, instead of fuelling it with likes and shares, or sitting on the sideline watching it play out. We will share the belief that we are better that, and that we would not allow individual incidents to damage us. We will stand by our friends regardless of race, language, religion, nationality, gender orientation or sports team affiliation.
Please accept our apology for this incident and I hope you would join me!