Singaporeans Assail Expat Over ‘Poor People’ Comments

A British expatriate has been forced to publicly apologise for a Facebook post that implied Singaporeans traveling on public transport were poor.

British national Anton Casey posted a photo of his son under the caption “Daddy where is your car & who are all these poor people?”

The wealth fund manager, who is married to a former Miss Singapore, had taken the train after putting his Porsche in for servicing.

When reunited with his high performance vehicle, a second post, which also drew scorn from Singapore’s vocal online citizens read: “Ahhhhhhhh reunited with my baby. Normal service can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me FFS!”

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The comments are more damaging because of the timing. Singapore is renowned for its online takedowns of foreigners behaving badly, and the City State is currently grappling with a widening income gap – the rich get richer and the poor stay poor, and the latter would rather not be reminded of that fact, particularly by a British wealth fund manager.

Casey also drew fire for another Facebook post in which he insulted a local cabbie for wearing a towel on his lap and hand warmers while driving. "Today's cabbie retard award goes to... Mr. Arm Warmers, stripy mittens & towel on the lap man....After all, it's only 37c outside," Casey posted.

The Independent in London reported that Casey, 39, tried to say he was sorry with a YouTube video, but that idea went amiss after he told viewers: "Don't be angry at me, be angry with your mum and dad for raising you a wuss".

He later claimed the video was taken out of context. He ultimately deactivated his Facebook account to stop the abuse.

The Independent said that Casey's firm, Crossinvest Asia, is investigating the matter and may take "appropriate action."

"Crossinvest doest not condone the comments. We believe they were made in poor taste. We are currently investigating the comments made by our employee and will take appropriate action once we are in possession of all the facts," said Managing Director Christophe Audergon.

CrossInvest is part of a Swiss-based family firm. “Crossinvest (Asia) Pte Ltd is a wealth management company offering exclusive asset management and financial advisory services to sophisticated individuals, entrepreneurial families and institutions,” the company says on its website.

An apology was quickly issued through Fulford Public Relations, after Casey received death threats. He said: “I would like to extend a sincere apology to the people of Singapore.

“In the past 24 hours due to a security breach of my personal Facebook page and the misuse of an old video by unknown sources, my family and especially my Singaporean son have suffered extreme emotional and verbal abuse online.”

He told readers of the blog The Real Singapore he wanted “to be given a second chance to rebuild the trust people had in me as a resident of the city”.

But not everyone was happy with the apology. “The damage is done! Leave Singapore, go back with your family to where you came from. Note to his Singaporean clients – stop dealing with him and close your accounts,” one comment read.

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Casey’s Facebook posts were published on the Straits Times’ citizen journalism portal, STOMP, which specializes in public shaming.

In 2012 an FX trader called Olivier Desbarres was fired after he walked out of his large house and launched into an expletive-laden tirade against Chinese construction workers, who filmed his death threats and posted them online.

Online virality is guaranteed for foreigners who berate Singaporeans or their public services online. In 2011, Amy Cheong lost her job for posting disparaging remarks about Malays on her Facebook page.

When marketing executive Chris Reed got blasted for a blog post which heavily criticized Singapore’s taxi drivers, the New Paper ran a story headlined “Is this the most hated taxi passenger in Singapore?” with his photo beneath it.

Additional reporting by Asia Sentinel. A version of this story first appeared on Asian Correspondent, with which Asia Sentinel has a content-sharing agreement.