A chance to reflect on our flaws

I read with disappointment about the harassment Mr Chow Chuin Yee and Ms Tay Puay Leng found themselves facing (Public backlash 'making us live like fugitives'; Aug 13).

While their abuse of Mr Ng Ai Hua was disturbing and hurtful, it seems that they were under a lot of stress at the time, as they had to take care of Ms Tay's sick grandmother.

In fact, Ms Tay's account seems to be that of a typical burnt-out caregiver, with pent-up frustration simmering within.

We should use this unfortunate incident as an opportunity for introspection.

All of us are stressed and imperfect. It is far easier to blame someone else than to look within ourselves for similar flaws.

We make certain people scapegoats and impulsively harass or taunt them. It is worse if these actions are premeditated or calculated.

Citizen justice through the Internet has its strengths in revealing what would otherwise be hidden abuses. But its negative side is the mob hysteria that could result in more suffering.

I hope that enough of us are being introspective about the stresses that all of us undergo and take the necessary remedial actions of forbearance, spreading kindness around us and avoiding such negative behaviour.

Teoh Ren Shang (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'A chance to reflect on our flaws'. Print Edition | Subscribe