Get up, stand up; stand up for your rights.
We asked him if he considers himself successful becoming what he is today.
“No, as a child, I wanted to be a ghost or maybe a clown.”
He was just kidding. From wanting to be an anthropologists, he stepped into the media world to satisfy his thirst for sending out messages that is in fact not only informative but also doing the community a favour.
He is well known for his current stint at BFM where he is often heard during the Breakfast Grille. With pun intended, his show often talks about the sensitive issues. When asked if he’s comfortable doing it, he says, “I like being frank and am concern about not adding to the noise. There should be substance in what we say. Not only that, whatever comes out from our mouth should be the truth although some people may not be very comfortable with that.”
Well, because of his honesty paired with his enthusiasm to touch on different so called, ‘rather sensitive topics’, criticisms are abound.
Getting around them (criticisms)
If you haven’t seen or heard any of Sharaad Kuttan’s interviews, then hold on to your chair. He was once called a c*** by some netizens (you can see it in the comments section) when interviewing Kee Thuan Chye, the author of ‘No More Bullshit Please, We’re All Malaysians.” Apparently, he was being ‘rude’ and that he was ‘skewing the interview to what he believes in’.
In other cases, they also come from different NGOs that resulted him and a few others being accused of coming off as anti-Islam. There was no charge against him however as the basis for the case was not strong enough.
Criticisms to him is important and it is crucial that we try our best to respond to every one of them even if each is handled differently. He cited an example when he had to speak with a woman for several hours on the phone to discuss about the rise of right wing chauvinistic-Buddhism in Myanmar. In the end, when he reasoned and explained his position with his soft spokenness and gentle mannerism, she relented and accepted his explanation.
He sued the cops!
If you’re wondering, yes, he has been arrested, TWICE for his work on human rights. But together with other activists, he sued the Police Department for illegal arrest and detention during the Asia Pacific Conference in East Timor in 1996 and won.
His seemingly passionate defiance against the unjust can be traced from his family roots. As a teenager, he was exposed to human rights violations and issues around the world while being in a Catholic organisation. As early as 14 years old, he developed an understanding of what the world was like and why they happened. He was even in awe of a few of his political activists uncles back in the 1950’s and 60’s, some whom were detained under the Internal Security Act by the Republic’s iron fist, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
“If we don’t sit and talk like a family, we will never grow and develop the resilience to deal with all issues. We will never be able to develop as a nation if we don’t talk about things – sex, sexuality, race, religion, culture – they aren’t going to go away but rather be dormant, continue to fester and this will be the whole reason our country becomes ill.”
With an uncle like James Puthucheary who wrote a book called, “Ownership and Control in the Malayan Economy” while serving time as a political prisoner back then, it’s rather obvious why Mr Kuttan sees the world the way he does.
But for a young man growing up in Singapore backed with such a colourful background in the early days of Malaya, little did he know his future too will be no less different, vivid; pyrotechnics. From being a teacher, a blogger to an announcer and producer plus a co-editor, his vocation just doesn’t look like it’s going to be permanent anytime soon. Already, his resume reads like the adventures of Apostle Paul’s in biblical times, the only difference is he hasn’t been christened to be a priest just as yet.
Question remains, when will this man court trouble again? Arrgh…we can’t wait! ◆