Social worker and civil rights activist Jolovan Wham on Monday (23 November) will be present before the State Courts to answer charges laid by the police against him under the Public Order Act.
One of the charges pertains to his act of holding up a placard depicting a smiley face at Toa Payoh Central in April, in support of two youth climate activists investigated by the police.
One of the youth activists was seen, in a photograph on the @fridays4futuresg Instagram page, wearing a face mask and holding up a cardboard placard that read “SG IS BETTER THAN OIL @fridays4futuresg” in front of Toa Payoh Central Community Club and Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Centre.
The 20-year-old man, said the police, “did not apply for the necessary police permit” before carrying out such an activity.
The other activist–an 18-year-old woman–in a separate event the same day, had reportedly held placards with the words “PLANET OVER PROFIT”, “SCHOOL STRIKE 4 CLIMATE” and “ExxonMobil KILLS KITTENS&PUPPIES” against the Harbourfront Tower One building signage.
The other was based on a separate, unrelated instance of holding a sign outside the State Courts which urged the Government to drop the criminal defamation charges against TOC chief editor Terry Xu and TOC contributor Daniel De Costa.
Posting a photograph of himself donning a mask and a T-shirt with images of the smiley in question, Mr Wham quipped: “My guilt is plain for all to see. On my way to the State Courts! #smileinsolidarity”.
Mr Wham said in a Facebook post last Thursday (19 November) that he was at both venues respectively “solely to take photos for the purpose of uploading them on social media”.
“I barely stayed in the area for more than several seconds. Yet, what I did has been deemed as a public protest by the State,” he added.
The civil rights activist also said that he has initiated “a small #smileinsolidarity campaign” following the investigations against him for holding the smiley sign.
“If you’d like to send a photo of yourself with a smiley to add to my collection of photos, do PM me! I have received over 200 photos since the campaign started,” said Mr Wham.
While Mr Wham is charged for the simple act of holding a placard with a smiley face in the name of freedom of expression, action has yet to be taken to this date against former Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong for possibly having used state resources to protect personal interests in the theft case against his former domestic worker Parti Liyani.