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A snowflake’s take on how NOT to do public relations

Kirsten Han
Kirsten Han
4 min read

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Covid-19 update

On the 21st, we can start dining in again. But only in twos, please! And restaurants aren't allowed to play music, in case that makes people start talking loudly and spraying their droplets everywhere.

Sinovac is a hot commodity, apparently; some private clinics offering it are saying that they have been overwhelmed by the response. That said, the Ministry of Health's director of medical services says that international evidence shows that many who got the Sinovac jab were later still infected with Covid-19. Sinovac won't be incorporated into the national vaccination programme just yet.


How not to apologise

When Sarah Bagharib found that her wedding photo had been appropriated and turned into a cut-out standee for use as a Hari Raya prop, she made it clear that it wasn't just an issue of copyright, but also one about diversity and the lack of ethnic minority voices in decision-making processes. (This was covered in a previous weekly wrap.)

The People's Association was clearly in the wrong here, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from the statement they issued this past week. While they said they'd apologised to Sarah for using her wedding photo in such a way, they took umbrage at suggestions that it had been racist (even though that wasn't actually what Sarah had said). They said that the incident had only been "culturally insensitive", but not racist. They insinuated that Sarah was trying to "stoke emotions and sentiments", said it was odd for her to have asked others to give input on what she could bring up during a scheduled meeting, and called off said meeting with her because "her purpose in agreeing to meet with us has gone far beyond the Radin Mas incident".

via GIPHY

That was terrible statement, right? And then the situation got worse.

Amrin Amin proceeded to demonstrate to everyone why he deserved to lose in the general election last year by getting right behind the PA statement, complete with calling a Singaporean who disagreed with him a "snowflake". People proceeded to flood his social media with snowflake emojis.

And then we had this other joker, Shamsul Kamar, a two-time PAP hopeful in Aljunied GRC, who decided to share a post from the known pro-PAP troll page, Fabrications about the PAP. The trolls had taken a photo of Sarah and juxtaposed it with two photos of a Workers' Party outreach, suggesting that the masked woman in the photos was Sarah. Basically, they were insinuating that Sarah had tried to blow up a beef with the PA because she was actually a WP supporter—a slimy politicised claim that's problematic on all sorts of levels. Especially since the masked woman in the photos was not Sarah.

Anyway, our hero Shamsul shared the post with the caption, "For all to decide... Everything happens for a reason but let's not be divisive." In the face of a barrage of criticism, he hid the post, then re-shared a new Fabrications about the PAP post that was basically the same thing, except with different photos of Sarah. And then he told the media that people had "misunderstood" him, that he had never said that it was Sarah in the photos, and that he just wanted to tell people to stay united during the pandemic. Sure, buddy.

via GIPHY


Got some more…

Dickson Yeo, who was jailed in the US for spying on them for China, has been in detention here under the Internal Security Act since January. The government is accusing him of being a paid agent for a "foreign state". They didn't name this foreign state, so obviously no one has any idea who it might be.

Historian Sai Siew Min wrote about Chinese privilege for Academia.sg. I admit I haven't started reading this yet myself because it's been a tough week and this is long, but bookmark it, everyone.

Political scientist Ian Chong wrote about racism in Singapore in Chinese—one for you to forward to friends and family who prefer to read in that language, so Lianhe Zaobao's bad takes won't be the only things available. An English translation is also available.

K. Muthusamy is back!


💲 A crowdfunding campaign is underway for a group of bus drivers who have taken SBS Transit to court over rest days and overtime. They recently got leave to have their case heard in the High Court. Contribute to their fund here.

🧷 Project Hills, an initiative that works with residents of rental housing estates, is raising money for their Milk & Diapers Fund for low-income families.


Thank you for reading! Feel free to forward this on to anyone you think might be interested. 🙏🏼 Once again, a reminder that becoming a Milo Peng Funder is an awesome thing to do! You can also make a one-off contribution via my Ko-Fi page.

Weekly Wraps

Kirsten Han

A Singaporean independent journalist, activist, and cat slave.