“Clowns” loitering at primary schools were from Speech Academy Asia as part of marketing campaign

Sep 20, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

Fathership understands that the unidentified individuals dressed as clowns and loitering outside certain primary schools were part of a marketing campaign by Speech Academy Asia.

The individuals were handing out flyers to invite parents for a free trial at the academy.

Speech Academy Asia specialises in public speaking for children.

A parent told Fathership that his wife and daughter, who is in Primary 2, were approached by one such clown outside Angsana Primary School in Tampines on Sept 15.

In another school, the "clowns" allegedly asked children to follow them, according to Tao Nan School principal Poh Qinyu in a letter to parents seen by Fathership.

Company apologise

The company behind the clowns spotted in the Marine Parade area has apologised for the panic its costumed employees had caused, and put a stop to its marketing effort.

Mr Kelvin Tan, the director of Speech Academy Asia, told Fathership that the school’s marketing team, dressed as clowns, had visited the neighbourhood to promote its courses.

He apologised sincerely for the commotion caused.

“There was no evil intention behind the costumes and we sincerely apologise for it,” he said. “We will not do it again.”

Mr Tan said that the clowns had not approached children or asked them to follow them.

“Our employees wouldn't go around saying such things,” he added.

The clown sightings had caused a stir within the neighbourhood and in online communities.

The police on Monday (Sept 20) confirmed that multiple reports had been lodged and advised members of the public to stay away from strangers and to report any suspicious persons or activities to the police.

Editor’s note:
Fathership has retracted the email sent to Progress Singapore Party inquiring about PSP's involvement. Initial reports suggested that the clowns were part of the party’s routine estate walkabouts.

S'pore firm develops first Omicron-specific testing kit

Dec 06, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership
Home-grown biotechnology firm BioAcumen Global has launched Singapore's first Omicron-specific Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kit.

This means that a person taking the test will receive one of three results: Covid-19 positive and Omicron positive; Covid-19 positive and Omicron negative; or Covid-19 and Omicron negative.

Currently, PCR kits here that are capable of detecting Omicron require an additional gene sequencing step to confirm the specific variant. This takes an additional day.

Some PCR kits, such as those currently in use by medical technology firm Acumen Diagnostics and biotech firm MiRXES, are able to detect both the Delta and the Omicron strains, but to confirm if a positive case has been infected by Omicron, gene sequencing is necessary.

Mr Jimmy Toh, director of BioAcumen Global, said: "We are looking at ways to cut down the steps and time needed to run this test. This is crucial, especially at the borders where accurate tests need to be done on-site. There is no time to wait on sequencing results to know if a positive sample is infected with Omicron."

Mass production of the kit has begun, and the BioAcumen Global team hopes this kit will provide much needed help locally and in the region for the surveillance and control of this new variant, Mr Toh said.