Member of Parliament (MP) for Sengkang West, Lam Pin Min, has till date not responded to criticisms that some flags in his constituency are flown or used in the wrong way.
It has been a week since grassroots leaders and volunteers in the area put up a display of the number “50” made up of copies of Singapore’s national flag.
Because of how the flags were stitched or put together to form the numerical figure, some of the flags are not flown in the manner required by the law. For example, some of the flags are actually flown upside-down, which can be considered a desecration of the national emblem.
There is also the question of whether the state flag can be used as decoration, which is forbidden under the “Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Rules”.
Some members of the public have since pointed out to Dr Lam, who is also the Minister of State for Health, about the anomaly which appears to contravene the rules for the use of the state flag under the law.
However, neither the Sengkang West MP nor his grassroots members have responded to the comments.
But this is not the first time that the national flag has been flown wrongly in Punggol or Sengkang.
In 2012, a member of the public notified the media of a flag being flown upside-down outside a multi-storey car park in Compassvale Lane in Sengkang.
And then in July last year, two flags at Punggol Field Walk were also flown inverted.
And earlier in July this year, an entire row of flags put up on a HDB block in Sengkang were all in the wrong orientation – with the crescent and stars on the right rather than on the left.
“How can something like this not be rectified?” the person who sent a photo of it to the media asked. “Do the relevant authorities even teach the people hanging our flags the proper way to do it? Where’s the respect???”
And now, we have the upside-down flags in Anchorvale Link in Sengkang;
Punggol and Sengkang, however, are not the only areas where the state flag has been flown wrongly.
In 2011, for example, the Tampines Central Community Centre was criticised online for a flag which was being flown inverted in its premises.
All these incidences have led to some questions, including why the grassroots leaders and volunteers seem oblivious to such elementary mistakes.
Flying the flag upside-down used to and probably is still considered a sign of distress, as this letter to the Straits Times in 1939 shows:
While we understand that mistakes will be made in flying the flag, we do hope that grassroots leaders, and their advisers (who invariably are PAP MPs) will nonetheless take extra care when it comes to the national flag.
As for the display in Anchorvale Link in Sengkang, it is not right that the flag is used as decoration, was placed on the floor, and that some of the flags are flown inverted.
The MP of the area, Dr Lam, should seriously look into this, and not keep silent for an entire week, especially when the matter has been specifically brought to his attention.
Under the National Heritage Board’s guidelines for the use of the national flag, it says: