Singapore Kindness Movement issues kind reminder to meme page about possible legal action

PHOTO: Facebook / Singapore Kindness Movement

Non-profit organisation Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) aims to cultivate kindness and graciousness in society, but it ain’t so magnanimous when it comes to parodic representations of its icon, Singa the Lion. 

Kiasu Memes For Singaporean Teens (KMFST), one of the bigger local meme pages established since 2016, made an announcement earlier today (Feb 6) that SKM "reserves the right to commence legal actions" against the administrator should a pastiche version of their mascot continue to be used as the page's logo. 

So instead of Singa the Lion with Facebook’s angry face emoji overlaid on the icon’s face and shirt, KMFST’s new logo is a hastily scrawled acronym. 

The Singapore Kindness Movement has very kindly told me to stop using the parodied logo and they will reserve the right to commence legal actions against me.

Posted by Kiasu Memes For Singaporean Teens on Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The change has been reflected across all of KMFST’s platforms, including its Twitter and Instagram pages. 

It was somewhat startling for the KMFST administrator to receive what he deemed to be a stern letter from SKM on Wednesday (Feb 5).

Speaking to AsiaOne, the KMFST founder mentioned that SKM took issue with the “unauthorised adulteration” of their mascot — considered to be an infringement and misuse of a trademark. The letter stated that legal proceedings can commence should the parodied logo continue to be used. 

Though he can’t remember exactly when he switched his page’s profile picture to a photoshopped Singa icon, he did remember that the “angry react only” meme was a thing back then, and that the mascot’s colour matched the emoji’s palette. 

“(The mascot) quit, so that was a meme in itself," he said. 

He would have claimed Fair Use on grounds of parody, mentioned KMFST’s founder, but decided against "going through the trouble". 

When contacted by AsiaOne, an SKM spokesperson confirmed that they found a local Facebook page misusing their trademarked logo without their knowledge or approval. The organisation only noticed it on Monday (Feb 3).  

"We asked the owner of the page to remove the adulterated images and he complied," the spokesperson stated. 

Established in 1997, SKM has been involved in multiple initiatives and voluntary projects, while continuing to educate the public about the inherent virtues of a gracious society. 

It’s been an odd couple of years for Singa the Lion and SKM though — both have been tangled up in a few controversial episodes in the past decade. In a publicity stunt back in 2013, Singa renounced his role as courtesy mascot through a resignation letter, a move which has been accused of being misleading and unkind

Just last year, SKM faced criticism over an article by contributor Edwin Yeo, who penned a dismissive piece about casual racism in regards to the contentious “brownface” ad saga. SKM General Secretary Dr. William Wan had to publish a profuse apology over the insensitive content, while Edwin backtracked on his words, claiming that it was all some sort of social experiment.