Post on Linkedin by Mr Adrian Tan, President of The Law Society of Singapore, writing in his personal capacity
You published a story: “As Singapore mourns the Queen, there’s little discussion about its colonial past”.
According to your story, when Queen Elizabeth died, many countries expressed anti-colonialist sentiments, but Singapore grieved. Your story claims Charles is popular among Singaporeans, and that here, colonialism is “forgiven and forgotten” and “romanticised for political reasons”.
Singaporeans know your article is bogus. Here are 3 statements you made which show how silly your article is.
Example 1: “Queen Elizabeth II’s death still elicited grief and reflection in [Singapore].”
“Grief”? No way. Like any other country, we were inundated with news of the Queen’s death (from media outlets such as CNN, no less). Some people commented on it, others were indifferent. Saying that her death “elicited grief” here is fake news.
Example 2: “In Singapore, a republic that appoints a president – currently Halimah Yacob – as its own ceremonial head of state, Charles seems relatively popular.”
Singapore used to have appointed Presidents, decades ago. We now have elected Presidents. Please update your knowledge on the country you’re writing about.
You also say Charles is popular because we named an orchid after him. But we do that for hundreds of foreign dignitaries who visit us. It’s a routine courtesy. It’s nothing to do with whether the person involved is popular.
Example 3: Still pushing the Charles narrative, in a section called “the Charles Effect”, you say, “Memes of Charles among younger Singaporeans have already sprung up on popular local discussion boards, suggesting the Royal Family’s legacy, for the moment at least, remains intact.”
CNN, I have news for you. If Singaporeans meme a person, it may not mean we respect that person. It usually means the opposite.
We know you haven’t done your research because you talk about “popular local discussion boards”. There are no such things. Your editors would know this if they’d simply asked the Hong Kong-based writer of your article to name the “popular local discussion boards” or share the memes she mentioned. Because I sure haven’t seen what she was referring to. And I live here.
I’m disappointed that, instead of focusing on accuracy, your writer is more intent on pushing an unsupportable narrative about Singaporeans being ignorant of our past, naively worshipping our colonial masters, and misled by our government.
It makes me wonder if your stories about other countries are just as misleading as this one you wrote about my country.
If I were King of Singapore, I’d decree that any foreign media who writes about Singapore should (a) interview a cross-section of people here, (b) have their story fact-checked by a bunch of people here, or (c) actually come to our island to have a look for themselves.
You know, basic reporter stuff.
Don’t just sit at a laptop, far away, and make stuff up to push a slanted story of country you don’t know.