Veron Tay, Cedric Chow and Novel Learning Centre
In today’s era of smartphone and social media, we all live in “glass houses”. Every single act we do can be, and usually is, filmed by someone. In this perfect information environment that we live in, no incident will go unreported. And, if you do something as socially unacceptable as verbally and physically abusing one of society’s vulnerable, be prepared for the wrath of society.
The Toa Payoh hawker centre incident involving Veron Tay and Cedric Chow is an important reminder for Singaporeans. Not only that we should always be on our best behaviour in public, but that we also need to know what to do if we let our guard down and do something unthinkable.
In the case of Veron and Cedric, both we believe are business owners (Novel Learning Centre), the impact will be more significant. Considering that they are in the education business, public anger over their behavior and how it might influence the children under their charge will undoubtedly hit their business.
What Veron and Cedric should have done was to get ahead of the media cycle. Once the incident went viral, instead of hiding and hoping that they would not be recognized, they should have stepped forward to acknowledge the incident and apologize for the errors of their ways. It would most definitely not be a pleasant feeling, but it would have gone a long way reduce public anger as it would have shown remorse.
Additionally, to demonstrate their sincerity, Veron and Cedric could have reached out to the old man, apologised unreservedly and offered contrition by offering to send him for a short vacation in Hong Kong. While these actions would not appease every netizen, it would most certainty appease the majority.
In short, if you are caught doing something socially unacceptable: (a) get ahead of the media cycle; (b) apologize if it is your fault; and (c) offer contrition to demonstrate sincerity of your apology.