Why did Sharanjit Leyl withold her allegations for so long and can we trust her?
Since there's no certain way to prove who said what and what each person is thinking or what their motivations may be, we have to consider circumstantial evidence.
Since we've established that the possibility that Ms. Leyl was discriminated on the basis of her skin colour is rather small, considering how fair-skinned she actually is, let's start asking questions WHY she has held up this information for so long?
By her own admission the conversation with Mr. Fernandez, where he allegedly stated people don't like dark-skinned anchors, happened 3 years ago. At the time she was already an accomplished producer and presenter with BBC - why didn't she raise stink then, only now?
I may understand that as a young woman in the 1990s she may have kept silent about what she may have perceived as discrimination (if it, indeed, happened) but in 2018?
Well, there are two things that deserve attention and may provide a better context for the timing of her claims:
She left BBC in June, just 2 months ago.
Shortly after she announced that she's been busy working with UN's ILO on a project targeting violence and harassment at work, and turned into international law with the convention C190.
Given the above is it too far-fetched to speculate that with her media career winding down and the topic of "discrimination at work" coming to the fore in her professional life, she has decided to attract some spotlight by suddenly revealing alleged workplace discrimination from her past years? The timing is, at the very least, troubling.
Of course there's no way to prove what she's thinking or what her intentions or motivations may be. But given the current state of affairs both in Singapore and in the world - where anecdotes of victimhood tend to garner immediate public goodwill with little scrutiny as to their veracity - let's just say I'm not surprised that this sort of story was publicized right now.
It's easy to make a claim that is hard to prove.
It's easy to garner sympathy as people tend to "believe victims". It's easy to play on often exaggerated or outright imaginary sentiments of minority discrimination (even as in Singapore it's the Chinese majority that reports relatively more negative experiences than the minorities).
The only thing that is difficult, is fixing the trust between various ethnic groups, once it's been broken by poorly substantiated allegations enjoying viral publicity.
Alas, we kind of know what the journalistic standards at BBC World News in Singapore are… - more on this in the 3rd installment of this story, coming to your inbox right now.