Singapore—Amidst the rocky start that a number of participants in this year’s SEA Games have experienced in Manila, Philippines, at least one story has been debunked as fake news.
There was no truth, apparently, to the news that Muslim athletes from Singapore had been served pork to eat, contrary to what some news outlets had reported.
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) had carried a story on November 26, Tuesday, saying that issues concerning food and other matters, such as Muslim athletes being given ‘kikiam,’ a pork roll, had caused Juliana Seow, who is the chef de mission for the Singapore delegation, to write a complaint letter to PHISGOC, the organiser of this year’s SEA Games.
The article in SCMP added that the information officer with the National Commission for Filipino Muslims (NCFM), Ramadan Aguan, had said that the organisers had paid no heed to the reminders given to them to serve food that is halal, which included no pork or meat prepared in accordance with Islamic law.
SCMP quotes Mr Aguan as telling them, “We have some sort of problem because the organisers of the SEA Games have not been able to provide halal food. Our organisation sent many reminders to them to make sure they have sufficient supplies of halal food but for some reason, we don’t know why, they did not consider it.”
However, on the same day (November 26), the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) refuted the report from SCMP, saying that the Muslim athletes on the Singaporean ream had not been given pork to eat.
A spokesperson from SNOC told Channel NewsAsia (CNA), “Juliana did not speak with the Philippine media nor were our Muslim athletes served pork. The mentions in SCMP article related to these two allegations are not true.”
Furthermore, the SNOC has already sought an immediate correction from SCMP.
Ms Seow had indeed issued a statement to the press on Monday, November 25, that talked about “teething problems” that the delegation from Singapore had experienced, but added that the team would coordinate with officials on the ground to find solutions for them.
Her statement on Monday had nothing about serving pork to athletes who are Muslim.
Ms Seow, had in fact, expressed he thanks to the organisers of this year’s games.
“What’s more important is to work with the organisers to address and resolve them (the teething problems), so that our athletes and officials can compete in a conducive environment.
We appreciate the efforts and hospitality of the Philippine organisers and volunteers in taking care of us and doing their best as hosts, and look forward to an exciting 2019 SEA Games.”