The Smiling Tiger.

Or, why I’m now seriously scared of Tony Tan, just like how George Yeo scared the bejesus out of me with his “Christians are less likely to riot” comment.


  1. Watch this video once.
  2. Watch the video again from 1:35 onwards, this time paying close attention to the parts of the transcript in bold:

    (Transcript from 1:35)

    T-t-t-terrorism [1] is a fact of life today, and, er, you know, it is with us and I don’t think there is any point in trying to (pause) disguise ah, and it comes in many forms, not only with regard to one sector of… (longer pause) society [2], (pause) but from sectors of society or countries which you never thought this could happen – look at Norway.

    (longer pause)

    Somebody – Anders Breivik, I think – from the Christian far-right, (pause) set off a series of bombs, took a gun, killed over 90 people.

    Would you believe that could happen in Norway? From the Christian far-right [3]?

  3. Refer to the video once more, and answer the corresponding questions that follow:
    1. Based on the earlier portion of Tony Tan’s reply, why does Tony Tan stutter when pronouncing the word “terrorism”? Refer to Yawning Bread if you need assistance.
    2. Which “sector of society” is Tony Tan referring to? What is the significance of his longer pause i.e. what does it reveal about his thoughts and feelings with regard to that “sector of society”?
    3. Why is it hard to “believe” that “the Christian far-right” is not capable of carrying out violence? What is the significance of his use of rhetorical questions?

BONUS: One arbitrarily-chosen winner will win one arbitrarily-chosen prize based on the accuracy of your answers.

About the author

Laremy Lee

A versatile educator, writer and editor, Laremy Lee (李庭辉) has the uncanny knack of being one of the few among his generation in Singapore who crafts compelling stories in different genres.

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