Letter of the week: Don't let abusive language become normalised in public

People crossing the road at Bukit Batok bus interchange. PHOTO: ST FILE

I continue to monitor with grave concern the spate of cases of people hurling abuse at public service providers such as bus captains (Passenger fined $3.5k for using abusive language on bus driver, Nov 10) and public servants (Man who hurled profanities at MP fined $1,000, Nov 5).

It appears from the reports that these offenders were unaware that their use of such language amounted to harassment punishable by law under the Protection from Harassment Act.

In private settings, the use of profanities does not come with any criminal indictments and so vulgarities can be uttered with impunity. I wonder whether uttering profanities has become a habitual, involuntary form of expression of frustration for these offenders.

The use of profanities seems to have become normalised in the wider society, too. Social media, mainstream media, online streaming entertainment and movies are laced with profanity, with many seeing this as acceptable expression.

I wonder if these offenders are examples of people who are unable to "code-switch" in public settings.

It is imperative that Singapore re-educate people on the serious consequences of using vulgarities. The young should also learn that using vulgarities is not acceptable in local culture.

The use of abusive profanities can attack a victim's self-esteem and identity, which may lead to mental health issues.

It is time for society to re-examine how we can appropriately express our frustrations in public without having to resort to profanities.

Koh Seng Lin

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