Monday, September 19, 2016

Letter to The New Paper:  SEX-VIDEO SUICIDE

Punish those who drive others to suicide

My letter to The New Paper (TNP) is published today, Monday 19th September 2016.

Driving a person to the brink of insanity where one is forced to take one’s own life is a cruel thing to do, and I was moved when I read about the Italian woman in the report “Sex-video shame leads to suicide (The New Paper; Sept 17).

Love is a many-splendored thing, but when it turns sour, and hate and jealousy take control of broken relationships, a lot of things can go dreadfully wrong.

A wrong turn in life can turn one’s whole world upside down.

Depressed people who are ridiculed and humiliated will experience severe emotional pain mixed with guilt, unmanageable anxiety and anger.

When most people commit suicide, they don’t really want to die. They are crying out for help. 
I am glad that the authorities here have come down hard on men who filmed their lovers and then use the videos or photos to blackmail them when love goes bad.
But the Mental Capacity Act should have more bite to deal with those who are instrumental in causing a depressed person to experience a horrible death.
It is devastating for the families of those who commit suicide.
While we cannot put a price tag on a person’s life, the law should not only jail the criminal in such cases, but also make him pay compensation.


Footnote:  Social media platforms such as Wechat, Facebook and Skype are being used by some individuals and syndicates to trap men into engaging in sex conversations and videos after which blackmailing takes place. The law must come down hard on such people who want to destroy lives and make a quick buck.



Monday, September 12, 2016

Raymond's letter to The New Paper: ZIKA VIRUS : Air updates during ad breaks? It’ll cause unnecessary alarm

My letter to The New Paper on the above matter is published today, Monday 12th September 2016.

In the letter “Air Zika updates on TV during ad breaks”, (The New Paper; Sept 5) reader Eunice Li Dan Yue suggested that the location of active clusters and the number of cases be constantly provided on the small screen. 

I do not agree as I believe this may cause alarm. 

It should be enough to have Zika updates broadcast during the news.

The authorities have advised Singaporeans to remain calm, and assured us that everything is being done to ensure the disease is under control.

People need to be educated on the prevention of infectious diseases, but we cannot live in fear all the time.

A few days ago, a feeder bus driver advised me not to travel to Aljunied and other areas with Zika clusters.

But I do not see any need to just stay at home and watch TV.

This is precisely why there must not be an overkill of the Zika virus updates.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Raymond 's letter to The New Paper: SEXUAL ORIENTATION GAMES : Switch games for talent show

My letter on the above matter is published today in The New Paper

There has been a fierce debate over the recent sexualised games at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Given that the image of NUS has taken a beating following the negative publicity, it is timely that the student’s union has aplogised for the freshman orientation games that went dreadfully wrong. 

NUS needs to go further to rebuild its image as it is reputed to be a world- class university which attracts students from across the globe. 

Ragging that borders on humiliating females through sexually driven games must cease.  

Already there have been reports of the students who participated in the games being on the receiving end of unkind comments, and this can adversely affect their self- esteem. 

While ragging students is a common practice in universities worldwide, it is vital to recognise that we in Singapore are very much an Asian society with conservative views. 

Therefore, it is crucial to carry out such activities in a decent and acceptable manner, though in a light-hearted way.

I propose that for future orientation games, the organisers at NUS could incorporate creative talent shows and real life situations that are done in a wacky and fun manner.  

America’s Got Talent is a popular TV show that attracts large viewership worldwide.

So why not organise a “NUS Got Talent show” where students can perform either solo, in pairs or as a team. 

It can be done tastefully and there is bound to be laughter and bonding as male and female students display  talents through singing,  sketches  or even circus acts. 




Monday, August 1, 2016

Raymond's letter to The Straits Times: Involve suicide survivors and caregivers in help programmes

My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject is published today, Monday 1st August 2016.

I agree with Madam Catherine Soh that the Ministry of Education (MOE) should introduce programmes that will equip students with skills to stay resilient (“Teach students basic counselling, stress-coping skills”; July 29).

The rise in teenage suicides is an unhealthy trend and, left unchecked, will not only cause anxiety in parents and educators, but also increase the workload of mental health care providers, the police and the courts (“Teen suicides ‘highest in 15 years but overall rate falls’”; July 26).

It is important to remember that caregivers – in this case, the teens’ parents – are themselves vulnerable to falling into depression.

Undoubtedly, teens going through life’s journey will have to grapple with relationship issues – be it with their parents or the opposite sex – stress over getting good grades and stay resilient in a fast-paced society such as ours.

Sometimes, teens do not communicate with their parents, either because their parents hardly spend time with them or because they find it hard to relate to them.

The Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) has taken the right step by equipping staff at the SOS Services and Training Centre to help our young people.

Suicide survivors who have overcome adversity and rebuilt their lives, as well as resilient caregivers who have helped their loved ones coping with mental health issues to a full recovery, can be an inspiration to our troubled youngsters and their parents.

To this end, I urge the SOS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, to invite suicide survivors as well as caregivers to share their experience through talks and workshops.

At the end of the day, people must be able to see recovery and learn that despite challenges we all face, life must be valued at all times.

In addition, the caregiving journey, though arduous, must be treated as a noble task, and never a burden.

Raymond Anthony Fernando


Friday, July 22, 2016

Raymond's letter to The Straits Times: No room for abuse in schools

My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject is published today, Friday 22nd July 2016.

It is troubling to read the report of a primary school teacher from Gongshang Primary School who has been accused of mistreating children under her charge (“MOE probes school teacher abuse claims”; last Saturday).

Words used in a degrading manner will not only affect the students’ self-esteem, but can cause other students not on the receiving end of hurtful remarks to resort to such name-calling, causing disunity in the classroom.

Going to school must be an enjoyable learning experience for both students and educators. It must not be a place where students dread to go.

More importantly, teachers must be mindful that the punishment they mete out that seeks to shame and embarrass children may cause long-term psychological damage.

Students are already feeling stressed out by their studies and tuition, and should be receiving encouragement, not disparagement.

Teachers, although under pressure to bring out the best in students, must exercise patience when teaching their students and this is a quality which the Ministry of Education must drive home to them.

Raymond Anthony Fernando


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Article to All Singapore Stuff (ASS) : Safe and clean environment vital for a healthy living in HDB flats

Almost 90 percent of our people living in Singapore, and they include foreigners and permanent residents live in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats. Living in high rise flats poses challenges as not everyone abide by the rules by the HDB and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Unsafe environment

It has been a daunting task for me to get the HDB and the town council to resolve the endless water dripping from my upstairs neighbour. On so many occasions, I had to raise to the HDB office in my estate, the persistent water dripping coming from the upstairs neighbour which not only is so noisy that it disrupts my sleep the whole night, but will also cause the constant water dripping to put my windows and air condition at high risk of being eroded and will sooner or later collapse, endangering the lives of those below my block.

Each time I bring this to the attention of the HDB, the HDB officer will caution the owner, then it will stop, and then after a few months, later the same problem will start all over again.

The HDB will not hesitate to charge residents with killer litter, but when responsible citizens maintain their windows, grills and aircondition in good order, why are we not getting the assistance to resolve this issue – one and for all.

Since 10th June 2016 from 11pm to 8am, the water dripping continued without a thought for the neighbours who need peace and quiet and a safe environment.  Now it is even worse, throughout the day, the endless water dripping continues to disrupt my sleep and there’s a risk that my windows and aircon may collapse due to erosion from the water dripping.

Matter raised to 3 MND ministers and the Prime Minister, but no concrete action taken
I have had interim replies from the town council and HDB officers and the QSM of MND, but the matter remains unsolved.

Deeply troubled that the matter cannot be solved at the MND level, I then had to write to 3MND ministers, 2 DPMs, the BCA and even the Prime Ministers, but my pleas for support and the urgent assistance fell on deaf ears.
Now a report has been sent to President Tony Tan

It has been 2 weeks now and as the matter is still unresolved, I wrote to our Head of State, President Tony Tan this morning.

Will the matter be finally resolved? I have my doubts.

Raymond Anthony Fernando