World

Singapore’s foreign minister slams ‘deeply offensive’ remarks by British expat

January 23, 2014

Anton Casey provoked furious backlash after he referred to public transport users as 'poor people' in a post on the social network. - Reuters pic, January 23, 2014.Anton Casey provoked furious backlash after he referred to public transport users as 'poor people' in a post on the social network. - Reuters pic, January 23, 2014.A Singapore-based British wealth manager's Facebook posts deriding public transport commuters as poor are "deeply offensive, wrong, and unacceptable", the city-state's foreign minister said today.

Furious Internet users lashed out at Porsche-driving Anton Casey, who is married to a former Singapore beauty queen, after he referred to public transport users as "poor people" in a post on the social network.

The 39-year-old, a Singapore permanent resident, had also referred to washing "the stench of public transport off me" in another post.

"Like many Singaporeans, I am terribly upset and offended by what he (Casey) has posted. Deeply offensive, wrong, and unacceptable," Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam, who is also the country's law minister, said in a post on Facebook.

"Those who have done well in life should always be looking out for others – especially the less well-off or needy. It is basic human decency. Instead Mr Casey showed contempt," he added.

Casey yesterday apologised for his remarks in a statement issued through a public relations firm, but many Internet users remain unsatisfied.

"Some feel that the manner of his apology showed a lack of sincerity. And I think there is some basis for thinking that," Shanmugam said.

However the minister appealed to Singaporeans to spare Casey's family from online abuse. "We, Singaporeans, can be bigger than that," he wrote.

One of Casey's posts showed a picture of a boy, apparently his five-year-old son, sitting inside a metro train with a caption above the photo saying: "Daddy, where is your car & who are all these poor people?"

Another showed a waving boy sitting inside a silver convertible Porsche, with a caption saying: "Ahhhhhhhh reunited with my baby. Normal service can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me."

Yesterday Casey said that his Facebook page had been "breached" and his family had "suffered extreme emotional and verbal abuse online".

The Briton's employer, Crossinvest (Asia) Pte Ltd, said it does not condone his comments which "were made in poor taste". - AFP, January 23, 2014.

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