The curry dispute happened over six to seven years ago

Here’s a shocking twist to the entire curry dispute. According to Law Minister K Shanmugam, the incident happened over six to seven years ago. The result of an agreement between the two families and was voluntary. The outcome was neither imposed nor enforced.
It is also not the Community Mediation Centre’s (CMC) role to point out whether an agreement is reasonable or not. The solution must also be provided by the disputing parties themselves.
Hmmm…. strange. Let me quote the entire TODAYonline article about this case:

Case 1: A family, who had just moved here from China, had resorted to mediation because they could not stand the smell of curry that their Singaporean Indian neighbours would often cook. The Indian family, who were mindful of their neighbour’s aversion, had already taken to closing their doors and windows whenever they cooked the dish, but this was not enough.
“They said: ‘Can you please do something? Can you don’t cook curry? Can you don’t eat curry?’,” said Madam Marcellina Giam, a Community Mediation Centre mediator. But the Indian family stood firm. In the end, Mdm Giam got the Indian family to agree to cook curry only when the Chinese family was not home. In return, they wanted their Chinese neighbours to at least give their dish a try.

According to the article, Mdm Giam got the Indian family to agree to cook curry only when the Chinese family was not home. Now the Law Minister says that CMC role is to provide a neutral and non-confrontational platform for disputing families to air their grouses. Who should we believe?
And here’s the weirdest thing. According to the TODAYonline article, there were 498 cases handled by CMC last year. And more than 300 cases a year since 2008. So when TODAYonline asked CMC to cite a few cases for their news article, CMC choose a case that happened 6 to 7 years ago. You mean out of that 498 cases last year, there isn’t any special case worth mentioning?
And this case stood out so much that 6 to 7 years later, CMC still talk about it when being interviewed by the media. REALLY?
By the way, Cook A Pot of Curry Day is on 21 August 2011.

8 comments

  1. “I’m spinning around. Move out of my way. I know you’re feelin’ me ‘cuz you like it like this.” Kylie Minogue

  2. Jason: true. But it can also mean they got the case when the Chinese family just move here from China.
    This whole thing feels weird to the max. Now I don’t even know who to believe.

  3. Hi DK
    Perhaps, I can shed some light on this incident
    It was the PRC family who came up with the suggestion that the Indian family cook curry when they are out.
    But nowhere is this indicated in Shanmugam’s reply (see below). Why?
    Why didn’t he reveal which party came up with the suggestion? Because to do so, would incense Singaporeans even further.
    According to my source, the Indian family acceded to the PRC family’s request because the next step would be a civil suit. And while the CMC may deny that they do not force both parties to come to a solution, the impression this Indian family got was otherwise.
    Perhaps, the Indian family did not know their rights and did not have financial means to stomach a legal fight and so agreed to the PRC family’s demands.
    Moral of the story: Singaporeans have to know their rights, otherwise thugs in suits (lawyers) will bully you. That said, not all lawyers are thugs.
    Channel New Asia said: “According to one media report, the mediator got the Indian family to agree to only cook curry when their Chinese neighbours were not at home.
    Mr Shanmugam has clarified that the solution was agreed upon by the two parties, and not imposed by the mediator.
    “The parties are completely free to come for mediation. They are not forced to come, neither are they under any compulsion to come,” Mr Shanmugam said.
    “And throughout the process of mediation, either party can walk off. There was no agreement that was signed or settled at the mediation. What happened, as told to us by the mediator, this solution was discussed by the two families, [between] themselves.”

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