Dr Koh Poh Koon's social media fiasco: Picture of him carrying "32kg" worth of newspapers

Earlier last week, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Koh Poh Koon posted a picture of him on his Facebook page helping an elderly to bring a trolley full of cardboards and newspaper.
On his post, he wrote, “Saw 70 year old Mdm Lim from Blk 235 struggling to move 32kg of old newspaper for recycling. Good thing we ran into her and helped her with the load. Found out that with her bad knees and unsteady gait, she actually fell and had a slight bruise on her forehead just before we came across her. Fortunately she wasn’t severely injured.”
“Asked why she expended so much efforts to recycle these items, she insisted she wanted to do her part to protect our environment. Her single-mindedness towards a worthy cause is deserving of a salute! Advised her to not over exert and to let us know in future when she needed help with these items,” he continued.
“Thank you, Mdm Lim, for being an inspiration and a role model!” Dr Koh added.
However, the picture that he posted did not garner the positive feedback that he may have hoped for. Many netizens questioned his decision to post his good deed, saying that such acts need not be publicised.
Some also pointed out that the auntie must have been transporting the newspaper to be sold to the karang guni but told another story as she was embarrassed with by Dr Koh’s question about the newspapers.
Here are some of the comments by the netizens:

  • Shania Fernando wrote, “Lol. Previously was exercise. Now is “doing her part to be environmentally friendly.” What a joke to have an mp as delusional as he is. Only people as delusional as you would be praising you for doing such a wayang act.
    “Eh cameraman come quick I carry this trolley down u snap a few shots ok? Make sure I’m the main focus hor not the aunty ah.””
  • Jerry Cheong Chow Fatt wrote, “Own self advertising own self!
    BTW, if you can lift 32 kg in a trolley and climb those steps, you’re stronger Hulk!! That trolley also not designed to hold 32 kg of dead weight.
    Next time, have your runners prepare all the facts correctly before advertising!”
  • Vasanthan Kanagashanmudaram wrote, “His outfit macham bus driver! Help for people take good photo wor… I think he is naive to think the lady is going all that trouble to save the environment. The free recycle bin is at every void deck. She is on her way to cash in the papers.”
  • Rave D’Silva wrote, “There is this saying – if you want to help the elderly, then help them but the moment you post it on Facebook with an unusually hi-def camera phone then you are just feeding your ego. Btw, come to the gym with me and I can let you feel how 32kg really feels.”
  • Dob Firdaus wrote, “Hi guys, I am a professional photographer that specializes in taking candid photographs of you doing good deeds. Your poses in the photographs provided will look genuinely pure and sincere when taken during the event. I also provide service package for 1 day event where we will keep a look out for people in need so as for you to specifically approach and extend your reach to them. Rest assured the final product will look natural and “flame-proof” suitable for you to post on social media without having backlashes. All service inclusive of drinks. PM for good rates. Thanks.”
  • Brian Lim wrote, “You bring wayang to a whole new level. Even better than your picking leaves to unclog that drain.”
  • Chua Cheng Hwa wrote, “Well done! Son of Punggol! Er…. Wait…. It is Punggol or Hougang? Oh yeah, Son of Ang Mo Kio! Tomorrow free? My mom need help to carry 35kg Newspaper at Tampines too, I booking you hor!!!”
  • Keith Chua wrote, “Woah.. Is election coming again? Hmm.. Why the wayang starts again suddenly? Previously remember always got people suddenly faint and the MP suddenly becomes the hero can assist and revive that person.. this time similar plot again? Sigh..
    Btw, is this the same MP that can see ghost one? The one that waving at invisible crowd previously? Lol.”
  • Cecil Tan wrote, “Next time be smart a bit. Ask someone else to post then tag you into it then you thank him by acknowledging him. You do not feel embarrassed, I also feel embarrassed for you.”
  • Lin Hui Min Cheyenne wrote, “Pity this old Aunty. She can hardly walk. In fact she can’t walk straight without her umbrella walking stick. How on earth can she managed a 32kg trolley of newspapers?
    And going down the steps some more. Life must be tough for her to earn maybe $2 to recycle the old papers.
    Therefore I think this story is really unbelievable.
    Why don’t someone in the RC check out this Aunty and offer some help?”
  • Mohammad Nordin wrote, “Inside that pile of newspaper lay hidden bricks.
    Whoever holds this basket of newspaper, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”
  • Terence Ang wrote, “Posting this simply show this person is so detached from the real world. The idea that this will score point in anyway is simply mind boggling. I am also curious why our MPs are so good at meeting old people that collect cardboard and newspaper for exercise or to save the environment.”
  • Geraldine Lim wrote, “Omg! I’m helping a person, I must take picture too! Also a scale happen to be there. Lol.”
  • Wilson Theo wrote, “I think he must have forgotten to put a decimal point, it was 3.2 tonnes heavy in weight. Want to exaggerate, do it a lot more next time lah.” 
  • Basker rangachari wrote, “Nothing more than a PR gimmick to show “we are helping the poor” …. Real help comes from helping the poor overcome their big challenges – what’s happened to the quality of our ministers and MPs in the last decade… Sigh.”
  • Fu Ki wrote, “You sir are too kind! Can you help her daily? I am sure in future she will prepare 320kg and more of weighted newspaper for you to help her protect tomorrow, today!!!! Btw, did you ask the picture taker on the right to help, that way u can protect 32 kg x2 of our environment, give some credit to the working class on Facebook lah. lolol”
  • Terence Hu wrote, “Pity how many times he need to carry the 32kg basket to and fro just for his photographer to get the right shot. Hope he enjoyed his exercise as well as the aunty.”
  • Ziggy Faris wrote:  Aiyoh what are u guys fighting about? look carefully in the 1st pic that guy in red is trying to steal the aunty’s trolley hence she was trying to chase him.

Mr Koh subsequently wrote a long post explaining why he posted the photo of the auntie and hoped that netizens will not negate the story behind the efforts of the auntie just because of the way the pictures were taken.

Amazingly, hardly any negative comments were found in the post and the motivational ones came just shortly after the post was made.

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