Wires

Expletives-laden marriage guidance gets Singapore union exec fired

SINGAPORE, Oct 9 (Reuters) - An ethnic Chinese Singaporetrade union executive was sacked after she postedexpletives-laden comments about Malay weddings on Facebook,remarks so offensive they prompted the prime minister and otherpoliticians to complain.

Amy Cheong, until Monday an assistant director at theNational Trades Unions Congress, had asked how many (expletive)

days did Malay weddings go on for at the foot of public housingblocks.

"(Expletive)!!!! Pay for a real wedding u (expletive), maybethen the divorce rate wont be so high! How can society allow pplto get married for 50 bucks?"

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Facebook he wasshocked to hear of the outrage, illustrating how racial tensionremains a key concern in the city-state.

"The comments were just wrong and totally unacceptable," hesaid.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam agreed. "Her comments reflect adeep seated racist attitude coupled with contempt for those whoare less well off, or who wish to spend less," he said on hisFacebook page. "There are deep fault lines in our society, basedon race/religion."

The National Trades Unions Congress is an umbrella tradeunion affiliated to the ruling People's Action Party and isheaded by Lim Swee Say, a minister without portfolio in theCabinet.

Lim announced Cheong's sacking on Monday.

Ethnic Chinese make up about three-quarters of Singapore'sresident population, with Malays making up another 13 percentand Indians 9 percent. A large number of foreigners also live orwork in the city-state.

Some Singaporeans felt Cheong's dismissal was rather harsh.

"Although we cannot take her action lightly, we also cannotover-punish her," Noor Mohamed Marican, a legal adviser andcouncil member of Singapore's Inter-Religious Organisation, toldthe New Paper.

"Forty plus years of multi-racial policy has not removeddeep racial/religious fault lines. One reason they fester in ourhearts is because we do not talk about them, for fear of sayingthe wrong thing and inviting a heavy-handed response," BillDungya wrote on Law Minister Shanmugam's Facebook page.

(Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Nick Macfie)

((Kevin.Lim@thomsonreuters.com)(65)(6403 5663))

Keywords: SINGAPORE WEDDING/