Indranee Rajah, a Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, defends the man at the centre of a social media storm. Former Miss Singapore Universe finalist, Jesslyn Tan, had posted a photo of him on Facebook, together with an insensitive comment on the hole in his T-Shirt.
“Holey Moley. Sibei trendy worzxxz,” she said in the post, which was widely circulated online and caught the attention of local media outlets.
Tan has already taken down the post, and published an apology on her profile page.
The MP came out to defend the uncle, known as Koh Hee Huat, who is also a resident in her constituency.
In a Facebook post on Saturday afternoon, she reminded the public to be mindful of the impacts our words may have on others.
Many a time, “the consequences are unintended, but by then it is too late”, she said.
Impact on the uncle
Indranee paid Koh a visit at the Teochew porridge stall he works at on Friday night where she found out that the uncle feels “a deep loss of face and hurt” after finding out that he has unwittingly been put at the centre of a “national discussion”.
Koh, who is a helper at the Bukit Merah View stall that the MP frequents, said he feels embarrassed to go to work and to face the customers. He had even considered quitting.
However, his boss, who has known Koh since he was a boy, encouraged him to stay. Indranee and her grassroots leaders did so too.
In her post, the MP also urged the public to give him a “word of encouragement or a thumbs up” if they happen to drop by the stall.
A note for Jesslyn Tan
“As for Ms Tan, I am glad that she has apologised, albeit online and not to Mr Koh directly. She says she has learnt from this and would be very mindful of social media in the future. I do hope so,” Indranee said in her post.
Indranee’s Facebook post has already garnered over 4,000 shares and a long list of comments within the two hours since it was posted.
Most of the commenters praised her for her write-up and for standing up for Koh.
“Well done! Appreciated what you have done for Mr Joh here. I believe it will go a long way. You have rewritten this story for the benefits of not just Mr Koh but all of us who surf the net. We must be sensitive and be responsible in what we post. Let us rewrite all the bad and ugly stories to be a good neighbour to all. Keep it up and thank you!,” said a Freddie Ong.
“A terrific write-up, Indranee. This minor Internet storm is also making the rounds amongst the Singaporean population here in Adelaide, South Australia - so the impact is far more reaching than just local,” said a Julie Tan.
Yahoo Singapore has contacted Jesslyn Tan for her comments.