SINGAPORE - As police begin investigations into the disruption of a charity carnival at Hong Lim Park last Saturday, the carnival's guest of honour, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck, has come under scrutiny of a different kind.
Cyber critics have poked fun at Mr Teo's Facebook posts, noting his frequent revisions to his own posts and his "jock"-like language, in the wake of the episode and his online reactions to it.
Mr Teo was attending YMCA's Proms @ the Park when a group of protestors led by bloggers Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui - who had been allocated space to protest at a different part of Hong Lim Park - crashed the carnival and started chanting their slogans.
The junior minister was praised for his calm in dealing with the protestors, whose noise scared some special-needs children performing on stage at the YMCA event. Some protestors also reportedly confronted Mr Teo directly but he kept his cool.
His composure won the admiration of socio-political blog The Online Citizen, prompting news website Mothership.sg on Monday to dub him one of the "winners" to emerge from the chaotic situation.
"I am told by several people who were there at Hong Lim Park today that Teo Ser Luck was gentlemanly, despite the situation," said The Online Citizen editor Andrew Loh in a Facebook post on Saturday. "Kudos to him."
But after noting that Mr Teo had "generated much goodwill from people on both sides of the debate", Mothership.sg teased him for putting up a Facebook post on Monday that urged Mr Ngerng to apologise for Saturday's events - and then repeatedly editing that post.
"Either he is the most wishy-washy MP or has obsessive-compulsive personality disorder," quipped Mothership.sg editor Belmont Lay.
Mr Lay catalogued the six versions of Mr Teo's post, in which Mr Teo first joked that Mr Ngerng should "perform a dance" for the "handicapped children" in apology. Mr Teo then progressively clarified that Mr Ngerng had "offered to give his sincere apologies" to the "children with special needs" and that he should make good on his offer.
Mr Teo commenting on the article quipped in a post: "Jialat kena CSI'd! You win liao."
Meanwhile, poet and playwright Alfian Sa'at chimed in on Monday night with a dissection of Mr Teo's Facebook posts over the years, concluding that the avid sportsman is "totally a jock".
Mr Alfian, who has also recently parsed the Facebook posts of MP for Marine Parade GRC Tin Pei Ling, pointed out Mr Teo's recurrent use of sports metaphors including giving a leg up to the needy to "cross the finish line together" and describing former teachers as "strict like kungfu masters".
Aptly demonstrating his good sportsmanship, Mr Teo gamely responded to Mr Alfian's post with humour.
"Enjoyed reading this post... you win liao!" he commented on the post. "Shared this with my children and we had a good laugh."
This started a cordial exchange between the two men with Mr Alfian saying: "Whoa very sporting of you sir to see the humour in the post...Between your exclamation marks and my inability to run anything more than 400m without collapsing, I think we're even."
He also said that he had "weeded out some of the nastier comments" to the post as they were "not in the spirit the original post was written in".
Speaking about the exchange, Mr Teo told The Straits Times on Tuesday: "I keep an open mind. It's a friendly exchange."
This article was first published on September 30, 2014.
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