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Goh Chok Tong 'dismayed' Hari Raya post with scarecrow was 'misinterpreted'

Goh Chok Tong 'dismayed' Hari Raya post with scarecrow was 'misinterpreted'

ESM Goh and his wife posing with a scarecrow in HortPark. (Photo: Facebook/MParader)

SINGAPORE: Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Tuesday (May 3) he was “dismayed” that some people had “misinterpreted” a recent Facebook post of his which drew online criticism.

The social media post, which was published on Monday at 7.50pm, showed Mr Goh and his wife standing by a scarecrow in HortPark that was dressed in traditional Malay costume. He captioned it: "Selamat Hari Raya Puasa to all our Muslim friends".

The post sparked an online backlash, with some Facebook and Twitter users calling it "tone deaf" and "insensitive". 

On Tuesday, the former prime minister posted his reaction regarding the online criticism.

“I am dismayed that some have misinterpreted the post as portraying Malays/Muslims as ‘scarecrows’. This is far from my mind,” said Mr Goh.

“I spent my political lifetime working for a harmonious multiracial society. This episode reminds us that strengthening multi-racialism is always work in progress. All of us have to do our part. Scary, isn’t it?”

A photo of ESM Goh with a scarecrow in HortPark taken in January. (Photo: Facebook/MParader)

Mr Goh also shared a photo he had taken in January with the same scarecrow, which was dressed differently then. He said he was “struck by its change of attire” when he saw it on Monday. 

“Our public spaces celebrate the festivals of our various communities throughout the year,” he said, adding that he took a picture showing the scarecrow’s new attire to “send my greetings to all Muslim friends”.

Source: CNA/ng(rw)

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