Low Thia Khiang pulling strings behind the scenes to make a comeback

Feb 13, 2022 | 🚀 Fathership
Former Workers’ Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang said it's up to the residents to ask him if he is coming back to politics.

It was Low's first comments to the media after a parliamentary committee released an extensive report on Thursday (Feb 10), recommending sanctions for former WP MP Raeesah Khan and party leaders Pritam Singh and Faisal Manap for their roles in lies Ms Khan told in Parliament.

Low: "Up to residents"

On whether he would come out of retirement to steer the WP through its current trouble, Low said he would respond to residents should they ask him to do so.

Speaking to Chinese-language publication Shin Min Daily News on Friday (Feb 11), the former Aljunied GRC MP said: "It's up to the residents to ask me, and I'll tell them more. In fact, everyone is very concerned. (But) there are many talents in the Workers' Party, so there is no need to worry."

According to a source within WP speaking in confidence to Fathership, preparations were already underway as early as October 2021 for Low to make a comeback.

Pritam Singh may lose seat in Parliament

In a Facebook post shortly after the report was issued on Thursday, Pritam Singh had raised the prospect of him and Faisal Manap - both Aljunied GRC MPs - losing their seats in Parliament, should they be fined $2,000 or more.

Pritam, who was formally designated as the Leader of the Opposition after the 2020 General Election, said that until the resolution of these matters, he and Faisal will continue their constituency work as per normal.

Pritam, Faisal and party chairman Sylvia Lim are expected to speak more on the committee's report on Tuesday (Feb 15), when Parliament debates it and MPs vote on whether to accept the recommendations.

➡️ Follow Fathership on Twitter
➡️ Get updates on Telegram

This commentator thinks MCI ad should not have featured poor Malays

May 12, 2022 | 🚀 Fathership
A Hari Raya advertisement by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) was 'cancelled' by certain netizens online for depicting lower income Malays according to reality.

"Message for Syawal", a two-and-a-half-minute video published last month (Apr 30) captures moments in the life of a low-income Malay family living in a rental flat.


Pictured: Screenshot from MCI video "Message for Syawal"

The video, which is peppered with Malay proverbs, shows the family moving out of their rental flat to a new home several years later where they celebrate Hari Raya.

The father of the family works as a mover while the mother is a housewife.

Their young son, Syawal, skips school to earn extra income for his family before a teacher flags his absence from school to his parents.

The mother in the video later decides to return to work to alleviate her family’s financial difficulties while the father gets a new job.

Pictured: Screenshot from MCI video "Message for Syawal"

Why some netizens are outraged

The video sparked backlash online, with some viewers saying that it contained stereotypes about the Malay community.

The stereotypes:
  • The father works as a mover - commonly perceived to be a low-income job
  • The mother is jobless
  • The son plays truant
  • The family lives in a rental flat for low-income earners

Commentator implied that poor Malays shouldn't be portrayed in public to prevent stereotypes

Pictured: Screenshot from Homeground Asia video

A video commentary by The Homeground Asia went further by criticizing how the video propagates the narrative that Malays are poor and lazy, and that the ministry should have created a video that is more relatable to both the less fortunate and the more affluent Malays.

Adi Rahman, one of the interviewees in the video went further by making sweeping assumptions that the ministry lacked cultural intelligence and did not consult the community on the narrative.

Ironically, in talking about inclusivity, Adi implied that the realities of poor Malays should not be shown in public.

For example, his rationale suggested that the video contained characters (the mover, jobless mother and the son who skips school) that contribute to the problem of other races seeing the Malays in a stereotypical and reductive light.

In other words, show the good stuff but not the reality.

Adi even accused the ministry for not consulting the Malays in the vetting of the video narrative.

His accusations were without merit, however, when the Ministry said in a statement (Apr 30) that Malay-Muslim viewers - presumably a focus group - had seen the video prior to its release, and perceived the story to be heart-warming, although some expressed reservations.

Pictured: Adi Rahman - one of the commentators in Homeground Asia video

Stereotyping or masking reality?

The ministry said last month (Apr 30) the video was meant to show "a family’s journey of resilience in facing challenging circumstances and how mutual support and encouragement could nurture the process”.

Other netizens felt it was an overreaction and that low-income families shouldn't be dehumanized in a way that they are removed from the conversation. They felt that the video was a call-to-action for those from the underprivileged to strive for a better life through hard work and seeking help that's already available.

The only missed opportunity in the MCI video was perhaps the suggestion that Malays in low income families living in a rental flat could not celebrate Hari Raya unless they get a flat on their own.

But of course, like Homeground Asia, that is also a sweeping assumption.