Calvin Cheng

Calvin Cheng Ern Lee is a Singaporean businessman and former politician aligned with the People's Action Party. Cheng is known for expressing controversial views on socio-political issues in Singapore. He began his business career in the modeling industry and expanded into event hosting, publishing, and educational technology.

Calvin Cheng
郑恩里
CalvinCheng.jpg
Nominated Member of Parliament
In office
July 2009 – 19 April 2011
Personal details
Born
Calvin Cheng Ern Lee

(1975-09-24) 24 September 1975 (age 44)[1]
Singapore
Alma materOxford University
OccupationBusinessman
Former politician
Websitecalvincheng.sg

EducationEdit

Cheng earned his undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University (Hertford College) in the United Kingdom and then earned a master's degree in industrial relations. In 2017 he gave money to Hertford to give a prize to undergraduates in PPE.[2]

Business careerEdit

Cheng was the Asia-Pacific head of Elite Model Management from 2001-2004.[1][3][4][5] During his tenure, he opened an Elite agency in India while developing other projects in the region.[6][7] In 2004 Cheng set up the Elite Models Singapore Pte Ltd; the company was renamed Looque Models Singapore Pte Ltd in 2005.[8]:6–7 Through Looque he ran several franchising businesses in the fields of luxury events, media, and talent management in entertainment and business.[9]

Cheng ran Ford Models Supermodel of the World competitions under license from Ford in China in 2007 and in Malaysia in 2011.[10][11]

The World Economic Forum named Cheng a Young Global Leader in 2009.[12]

On 23 November 2011, several model agencies, including Looque Models, were fined for price fixing.[13][14] Cheng profited from the higher agency commissions, claiming in defense that the goal was to raise wages for models. The CCS ruled that AMIP engaged in anticompetitive price-fixing, resulting in customers paying more and having a considerable and adverse impact on the market.[15] The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) noted in its decision that as president of the Association of Modelling Industry Professionals Singapore (AMIP), Cheng played a central role by instructing AMIP members how to mask the collusion to evade detection and complaints.[8]:point 213h, page 95[16][17] Cheng appealed, claiming that statements in the decision were damaging to his character; the appeal was dismissed because he had not been personally fined.[16][18]

In August 2015, Cheng merged one of his franchise businesses, Lumina Looque Knowledge Hubs Pte Ltd, with a Chinese firm called Retech that focused on educational technology.[19][9][20] In June 2017 ReTech made an initial public offering of stock on the Australian Stock Exchange.[21]

Government rolesEdit

In July 2009, Cheng was appointed to a ​2 12 year term as a Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore's 11th Parliament.[22] NMPs were supposed to reflect nonpartisan views; the newspaper Today questioned his appointment in light of his membership in Young PAP.[23] Cheng resigned from Young PAP shortly thereafter.[24][25] His term as an NMP ended after 21 months when Parliament was dissolved due to elections being called.[26]

In 2012 Cheng was appointed to the newly formed Media Literacy Council (MLC) of Singapore's Ministry of Communications and Information, which was created to "promote civility and responsibility on the Internet"[27][28] He served two two-year terms on the MLC.[29]

Political viewsEdit

Cheng often posts his views on socio-political issues in Singapore on Facebook, and is known for attracting controversy at times for his outspoken views[30] and for his personal attacks against people with whom he disagrees.[29][31]

In November 2015, while he was on the Media Literacy Council, Cheng wrote provocative comments about killing the children of terrorists on the Facebook page of entrepreneur and commentator Devadas Krishnadas.[32][33] His comments led to a verbal chiding from Tan Cheng Han, the Chairman of the MLC. In addition, two reports calling for investigation were filed with police, including one by Augustin Lee Tze Shih, organising secretary of the People's Power Party. Cheng apologized to the MLC.[34][35][36]

Amos Yee, a teenager who had been previously jailed for comments offensive to the Singaporean government, was convicted and jailed in 2016 for "hurting religious feelings" in his online responses to Cheng's Facebook posts.[37][38] In March 2017, a United States judge granted Yee political asylum, citing the different ways that Cheng and Yee had been treated, where Cheng was not charged, and Yee was charged and convicted.[39]

Controversial opinions have included advocating in 2017 that Singapore's arts should not be funded by the government,[40] and supporting the Population White Paper in 2015.[41]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "CV-Calvin Cheng". Parliament of Singapore. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011.
  2. ^ "New Prizes and Awards". Hertford College. 24 October 2017. Archived from the original on 13 January 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  3. ^ Guterl, Fred (9 November 2003). "The Global Makeover". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 22 January 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Eyes of the beholder". China Daily. 13 November 2003.
  5. ^ Sng, Suzanne (6 November 2003). "Asia's Elite Corps". YaleGlobal Online. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  6. ^ Dasgupta, Reshmi R. (5 April 2003). "Interview: 'We'll identify & train new faces'". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  7. ^ Cho, Ines (13 October 2003). "A Korean look for the world". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Notice of Infringement Decision issued by CCS: Price-Fixing in Modelling Services". Competition Commission of Singapore. 23 November 2011. Archived from the original on 8 December 2017.
  9. ^ a b Millward, Steven (21 June 2017). "From Singapore to China to IPO". Tech in Asia. Archived from the original on 1 October 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  10. ^ Ismail, Yus (11 December 2010). "Ford Models Supermodel of the World Malaysia 2011 Joins Hands with 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix". Pageant Island. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Atikah claims supermodel ticket to NY". The Star. 11 April 2011. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  12. ^ "S'pore 5 on list of young global leaders". The Straits Times. 28 February 2009. Archived from the original on 26 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  13. ^ Bishop, Stewart (23 November 2011). "Singapore Fines 10 Modeling Agencies For Price-Fixing". Law360. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  14. ^ "CCS Case 500/002/09: Price fixing of rates of modelling services in Singapore by Modelling Agencies". Competition Commission of Singapore. Archived from the original on 18 December 2017.
  15. ^ "CCS's reply to Straits Times report on 6 May titled "Agencies which fixed prices had 'noble goals'"". Competition Commission of Singapore. 9 May 2013. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Former NMP Calvin Cheng Accused of Involvement in Price-Fixing Scandal". RedWire Times Singapore. 11 October 2014. Archived from the original on 9 December 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  17. ^ Anandarajah, Kala; Lombardi, Dominique (22 April 2013). "The Singapore Competition Appeal Board reduces the financial penalties against 5 modelling agencies found by the Competition Commission to have fixed the rates of modelling services (Bee Works Casting, Diva Model, Impact Models Studio, Looque Models Singapore, Ave Management)". Concurrences (April 2013). ISSN 2116-0201.
  18. ^ "Appeal 1 of 2012" (PDF). Competition Commission of Singapore. 23 November 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. ^ "Chinese ed-tech firm ReTech seeks $112 million ASX IPO". Asian Financial Review. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Retech Prospectus" (PDF). Retech. February 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 November 2017.
  21. ^ "China's ReTech lists on ASX, chair blasts lack of Australian investors". Financial Review. 22 June 2017. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  22. ^ Abdullah Tarmugi (Speaker), "Nominated Members of Parliament (Announcement by Mr Speaker)", Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (20 July 2009), vol. 86, col. 798
  23. ^ Esther Ng (8 July 2009). "A question of party" (PDF). TODAY. p. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  24. ^ Talib, Ameen (17 June 2014). "Improving the system for selecting NMPs". TODAYonline. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  25. ^ Esther Ng (9 July 2009). "NMP-designate quits young PAP" (PDF). TODAY. p. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Search begins for new NMPs". The Star. 4 November 2011. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  27. ^ Media Development Authority of Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. 30 July 2012 Press Release: New Council to oversee cyber wellness, media literacy initiatives
  28. ^ Loh, Andrew (31 July 2012). "Bloggers question aim of Media Literary Council". Yahoo! News SingaporeScene. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  29. ^ a b "The silence of the Media Literacy Council". The Online Citizen. 22 July 2016. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  30. ^ Tang, Louisa (15 July 2015). "The Big Read: In the Facebook era, whither quality public discourse?". Today (newspaper). Archived from the original on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  31. ^ Chia, Lianne (27 July 2016). "Dealing with online lynch mobs: How companies should react". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  32. ^ Zannia, Neyla (10 October 2016). "Police closes case of former NMP Calvin Cheng, calling for kids of terrorists to be killed". The Online Citizen. Archived from the original on 13 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  33. ^ Rachel Au-Yong (16 December 2015). "Police report filed against former NMP Calvin Cheng for controversial comments about terrorists' children". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 16 December 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  34. ^ "Second police report filed over ex-NMP Calvin Cheng's 'killing children' remarks". TODAY. 17 December 2015. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  35. ^ "Calvin Cheng's 'killing children' remarks 'insensitive and inappropriate': MLC chairman". Today Online. 27 November 2015. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  36. ^ Chew Hui Min (28 November 2015). "Calvin Cheng's comments on 'killing children' insensitive, but not hate speech, says Media Literacy Council". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 4 October 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  37. ^ "Blogger Amos Yee arrested again". The Straits Times. 13 May 2016. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  38. ^ En, Siau Ming (29 September 2016). "Amos Yee jailed 6 weeks, fined for hurting religious feelings". TODAYonline. Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  39. ^ Philemon, Jewel (26 September 2017). "Amos Yee is deserving of asylum, US Board of Immigration Appeal rules". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  40. ^ Olivia Ho; Nabilah Said (26 July 2017). "Former NMP Calvin Cheng: Government should stop funding the arts". Straits Times. Archived from the original on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  41. ^ Tan, Carlton (27 April 2015). "Should Singapore stick to 6.9m population target? A response to Calvin Cheng". Asian Correspondent. Archived from the original on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017.