The cure for people who gained notoriety after making offensive remarks on the Internet, such as Mr Anton Casey, is to get to know and befriend Singaporeans, Member of Parliament Hri Kumar said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
Mr Casey, a British permanent resident here, had referred to users of public transport as "poor people" in a Facebook post in January, adding that he will wash "the stench of public transport" off himself. His remarks began circulating shortly after, sparking outrage among locals. He subsequently left Singapore for Perth, after claiming that threats had been made towards his family.
The incident also saw him and his employer, wealth management firm Crossinvest Asia, part ways.
Mr Hri Kumar believes that the former wealth manager would not have made those remarks if he had Singaporean friends "who are less well off than he is".
The MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC said those who have made rude remarks about people of a different race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status and sexual orientation "are unlikely to have friends in those groups".
"Why? Because no one, not a single person, would ever mock or demonise his real friends," he wrote.
Mr Hri Kumar referred to a survey done by political scientist Robert Putnam, who found out that people tend not to trust someone who is different from them, or whom they do not know. "It is hard to demonise people of a certain group when you are close to someone in that group," he said.
He added that the "real cure" for Mr Casey is not to "issue apologies or perform demonstrations of contrition managed by public relations firms". "The cure for Anton Casey is for him to get to know and make friends with Singaporeans, especially those who are not as wealthy as he is. Only then will he truly understand the wrong he has done, and start on the road to salvation."
There was also no need for the public to issue death threats to his family, especially his young son, Mr Hri Kumar added.