Top image: STOMP / Facebook
As much as we love saying it, we can’t eat the rich. But picking them apart online sure feels good.
The latest target of class-driven vitriol is the now-viral Sin Ming uncle, who was recently caught on camera laying into a condominium security guard. Apparently, the man parked his BMW illegally and wasn’t too happy about getting his wheels clamped.
In the video, he raises his voice, complaining in Mandarin that he’s got to pick his son up from school. When that didn’t work, he defaulted to flexing his wealth (“Do you know how many units I have here?”).
If you’re wondering why a large chunk of the video appears to be shot from the perpetrator’s point of view, that’s because it is.
According to media reports, the man himself had sent the clip to a chat group for the condo’s residents. Besides his parking skills, his self-awareness is also sorely lacking.
Anyway, the interaction did not sit right with some of his neighbours, and the Sin Ming guy was exposed when one of them forwarded the clip to Shin Min Daily News. Cue the internet outrage.
But really, it’s not just about him. This is bigger than a male Karen (a Ken?) berating a grey-collar worker who’s just doing his job. Part of the fuel for the online roasting comes from the fact that the Sin Ming guy represents everything we hate about Singapore’s entitled rich folks.
He Drives a BMW
You’re driving along on the roads, minding your own business. Out of nowhere, some asshat cuts you off. After that initial flash of irritation, you zone in on the car’s shiny emblem. Of course, it’s a BMW. Somehow, it’s always a BMW.
Even for pedestrians, being personally victimised by a BMW driver is a rite of passage. Hell, even the prince of Johor has had a bad experience with one. The stereotypical BMW driver is to Singapore’s road users what haughty private property owners are to hapless security guards.
If you’re a Beemer car owner protesting that you’re different, save it. That’s like wearing a baggy ADLV tee and getting upset at being labelled a YP.
But back to the main topic. An errant driver getting his comeuppance is something most of us can relish.
It’s a particularly Singaporean brand of schadenfreud. Nothing grinds our gears like people who act as if rules don’t apply to them; here in Singapore, we all follow the rules. So when someone gets caught and rightfully punished, we point, we laugh, we rejoice.
Behind our joy is familiar frustration for all the times a BMW driver nearly sideswiped us or ran us over, so don’t take all the online hate too personally, Sin Ming uncle.
He Acts Like Having Nice Things Makes Him Superior
There are several choice quotes in the video, but one standout has to be the dude proudly proclaiming: “I have more than two units here.”
By more than two, do you mean three, perhaps?
He goes on to say in a passive-aggressive tone: “They’ve never tried having so many units, so they’ll never understand.”
And then there’s another inexplicable line that makes little sense but offensive nonetheless: “You’re already so poor, you’d rather die.”
Sin Ming uncle never actually swears in the video, but he might as well have spat in the face of the security guard with the way he was talking down to him. It’s as if owning a couple of condo units magically imbues him with the power to treat everyone else like dirt.
As lay people, we can’t do much about income inequality, but we can bring a spoilt rich person back down to earth—or at least take them down a peg—with our online admonishments.
Being rich isn’t a sin. Being obnoxious about it is, at least, in the court of public opinion.
Take the recent fit some private estate residents threw over the public parking on, well, public roads. Online commenters were all too happy to point out that, legally speaking, they had no leg to stand on.
All that to say, if you’re a rich person acting entitled, be prepared to get called out instead of receiving empathy.
He’ll Probably Walk Away (Mostly) Scot-Free
As it stands, the Sin Ming guy—he hasn’t been publicly identified yet—hasn’t faced any concrete consequences for his classist rant.
But it’s not over for him yet. The Union of Security Employees said in a Facebook post on April 9th that it would contact the affected security guard and assist him with filing a police report.
Under the Private Security Industry Act, intentionally causing harassment, distress, or alarm to a security officer is an offence and can carry a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to 12 months’ imprisonment.
We hope that Sin Ming uncle will have his day in court. But if we’re looking at all the entitled rich people who’ve gone viral for bad behaviour before him, it’s not likely that he’ll pay too heavy a price.
Take Erramalli Ramesh, who infamously swore at a condo security guard over a $10 parking fee in 2019. The man was issued a stern warning and has since disappeared from the public’s radar.
It’s not a stretch to conclude that Sin Ming guy will likely catch some heat before the internet moves on. But for now, the online outrage will have to suffice.
The Patience of Saints
If there’s a hero in this whole messy situation, it’s undoubtedly the security guard with his quiet professionalism.
He shouldn’t have to deal with this, but he does it anyway, maintaining his composure in the face of petulant insults and barbs like “your kind of people”.
In fact, his calmness makes Sin Ming guy’s emotional outburst look that much more embarrassing.
In a world with too many Sin Ming uncles, may we strive to be a little more like the security guard.
For now, though, it’s back to roasting the rich.