Monday, June 7, 2010

What Happened to Michael Fay?

I read with interest the news on a Swiss man who has been charged with vandalising the MRT trains at the train depot in Singapore. 33 year old Oliver Fricker has been released on a bail of $100,000 even though his passport is still impounded. His accomplice who is British is apparently already out of Singapore.

This reminded me of the Michael Fay incident back in 1994 where there was this whole big hoo haa when Singapore decided to cane a 18 year old American (who was reportedly suffering from ADHD) after he vandalised cars and stole road signs.

So what happened to Michael Fay?

After much pleading from the US, Singapore still proceeded to cane him at Queenstown Remand Prison. President Ong Teng Cheong however reduced the number of strokes of cane from 6 to 4. Still, the United States media had a field day thrashing Singapore's supposedly draconian laws, almost labelling us as a repressive state for scarring a poor boy for non-violent act.

When he was released from prison, Michael Fay flew back to the United States to be with his biological father. He had moved to Singapore earlier to join his biological mother and step-dad.

After that, he went on various television interviews and claimed that he was "tortured" and did not actually vandalise any cars. He admitted to stealing road signs but not to vandalism. Subsequently, he was involved in substance abuse and also possession of marijuana. He was also involved in reckless driving and stuff in Florida.

What Will Happen to Fricker?

So if an 18 year old American teenager who supposedly came from a broken family and had ADHD was actually sentenced to jail and given 4 strokes of the cane, what will happen to Fricker?

33 years old isn't exactly young.

Perhaps his punishment might be even more severe. But then we can only wait and see....


  1. Hi FF,

    When I read the news about it, there are 2 thoughts that came to my mind:

    1. The graffiti is very nicely done

    2. People are shouting for legalised vandalism of sorts...quite funny :)

  2. My first thoughts were actually:

    "Why on earth is this even front page news?"

    Then I remembered Michael Fay...

    Just some stupid things that foreigners do and all hell will break loose in the foreign media condemning whatever judgement that is meted out.

  3. Hehe, my reaction is the same as la papillion. The train actually looks pretty nice and decent. :-)

  4. Was it that nice? I thought it was only so - so

  5. Hi FF,

    It's exceedingly difficult to spray paint, if you've tried before. I appreciate these kind of art work very much :) But I do share the concerns of the security issues regarding this particular act of vandalism.

  6. Hi LP, tried it before ? =)
    Er hmmm...better not reveal too much that you appreciate this kind of art work...sensitive you know. =)

  7. Hi FF,

    No lah, never vandalise before. I did a mural on a wall before. It's just very difficult to draw on such a big piece of space, because u lose your sense of proportion when you are concentrating on a particular area. I did spray painting on banners too, and it's hard because the colours just do not come out evenly and you have to spend a lot of spray cans just to get the right and even tone (and a lot of money for the cans). Add to the fact that it's permanent - you can't erase any mistakes - and you have an exceedingly difficult piece of art on display.

    The person who did this must have something worthwhile to show, which goes beyond the boundary of our law. I salute the spirit but not the act.


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