There have been mixed views about the case of 39-year-old British expatriate, Benjamin Glynn, who was caught on video refusing to wear a mask on the MRT.
On July 2, Glynn was charged in court for failing to wear a mask without reasonable excuse, public nuisance, and using threatening words towards a public servant.
Veteran actor Tay Ping Hui weighed in his views about the case earlier in an Instagram post on May 9 and more recently in a commentary published by Lianhe Zaobao on July 6.
Respecting the laws of the land
On May 9, Tay had shared his initial views on the incident in an Instagram post with the video of Glynn that was circulating around on social media.
The 50-year-old actor questioned why Glynn was allowed to flout the rules in such a "blatant" manner and his confidence in being able to get away with such behaviour.
Tay concluded his post by asserting that Glynn does not deserve any respect from Singaporeans as he does not respect Singapore's laws and the people.
Major inconveniences due to the pandemic
In the Zaobao commentary, Tay gave a brief overview of the series of events thus far, including the the news of Glynn's arrest at his place of residence whereby he used an expletive and threatened to knock the police down, and his persistent refusal to wear a mask in and outside the court.
Tay highlighted that the numerous inconveniences that people have gone through in order to minimise physical contact amongst people such as the inability for employees to go to work, students to attend school, companies to function normally, and stores to operate as usual.
Some restaurants were even forced to cease operations and ultimately close down their business, he added.
He mentioned that numerous studies by World Health Organisation (WHO) and other research bodies have shown that mask-wearing is the basic form of prevention to protect yourself and others.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Despite the laws, people violate the rules for various reasons, Tay said.
Some may have forgotten and oftentimes quickly put one on upon being reminded to do so by those around them. However, others deliberately violate the law by refusing to wear a mask.
Tay thought that these people believe they are above the law and do not take into consideration the nation's efforts to fight the pandemic.
He emphasised the importance of "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" and added that respecting the customs, culture, and laws of the land that one is in are part of basic etiquette and necessities.
"Regardless of our personal views, one should not scorn the laws of the land," Tay said.
In the same vein, Tay reasoned that Glynn should respect our culture and laws since he had chosen to make a living in Singapore and enjoy the peace and stability that has been achieved by the efforts of both the Singapore government and people over the past decades.
He concluded the article by stating that Glynn is not the first and will not be the last person to behave in such a manner. "Perhaps it is time to punish one person as an example to warn the others", Tay said.
Speaking up about other issues
Previously, Tay has been vocal about other issues on social media.
Some issues that he has spoken up about include his run-in with a group of cyclists who disregarded traffic laws, the Whampoa condominium resident who verbally abused the security guard, and noisy cinema-goers.
Top images by @taypinghui on Instagram and Keefe Chan on Facebook.