In the recent controversy over the disruption caused to a live performance last month at the WWF Earth Hour Festival at Esplanade event on March 25th, Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Foreign Affairs and National Development, Sim Ann, was criticized for disrespecting the performer on stage as she went about shaking hands with members of the audience in the front row seat.
Ms Sim was described as standing at the front row to shake hands with other attendees and had blocked the view of some other guests. Several audience members of the performance were said to have been upset, with someone at the back shouting at Ms Sim to sit down.
Following the public outcry, the organizers of the event stood out and took the fall for online criticism against Ms Sim.
In response to queries from the Straits Times, the two organizers, WWF-Singapore and Esplanade, issued a joint statement saying Ms Sim had been invited to the Switch Off ceremony at 8.15 pm and had arrived early.
The organisers also said that there was no intention of disrespecting the artists, performers, or audience, and they regretted any disruption that they may have inadvertently caused.
Ms Sim said she had followed the cue of the organizers on when to enter the event space and was greeting guests who were being introduced to her.
She said she was glad that WWF-Singapore and Esplanade had explained the incident and reached out to the artists involved to clarify the matter directly.
Ms Sim apologized and said she had learned something valuable from the incident.
Based on what has been said by the organizers and Ms Sim, it may give the impression that the organizers led Ms Sim to the front row seat during the performance and that she had no choice but to greet the guests introduced to her by the organizers – putting aside how absurd it is for a SMS to not have the ability to say no.
Despite her explanation, netizens criticized the SMS for not having social etiquette to know that it is rude to stand when someone is performing and that it is a poor example of how a leader should behave.
However, a different story is presented to us when we look at Ms Sim’s actions at the event itself, contrary to what the organisers and Ms Sim have presented.
From the video, it can be seen that Ms Sim was actively looking for people to greet and shake hands with and was not introduced to the individuals by the organizers as her statement suggested.
Perhaps it has come to a point where netizens have to say NVNT (No video, no talk) as it is no longer sufficient for a photo to prove a case.