Singapore—After migrants rights activist Jolovan Wham was ordered to report to Tanglin police for having posted a photo of himself on social media with a placard with a smiley face two months ago, other netizens started posting smiley photos of their own in solidarity with the activist.
Mr Wham wrote on his social media accounts on Wednesday (May 20) that he had held up the smiley face sign at Toa Payoh Central, took a picture, and then left. He received word that he had violated the Public Order Act and was asked to go to the Tanglin police division on Sunday (May 24) at 2:00 pm.
About 2 months ago, I held up a placard at Toa Payoh Central, took this picture and left immediately after. I've now received a letter that I've violated the Public Order Act and will have to be at Tanglin police division this Sunday at 2pm. pic.twitter.com/49Gez80VH3
— Jolovan Wham (@jolovanwham) May 20, 2020
Later, the activist explained that he had posted the photo “in response to someone in sg who got investigated by the police for participating in a climate strike.”
After he had spoken to the police he posted a photo of himself again, thanking his friends for their support.
Edit: if you like this t shirt (I'm a big fan!), you can order it here:…
But the support for Mr Wham has grown online, with netizens posting photos of themselves holding smiley face placards, or even changing their profile photos to smiley faces.
His supporters include fellow migrants rights activist Kokila Annamalai.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand that my soul and your soul are old friends. They are so ignorant they don’t…
As well as noted playwright Alfian Sa’at, who wrote, “In solidarity with you, Jolovan. A dissident is often someone who just wants his country to be better than the ones ruling it.”
“And he stands
at your gates
holding a placard
with a smiling face,
standing in peace
as an invitation,
your house of cards,
built on its
and tools to silence.”
Standing with Jolovan Wham. "Wham said Wednesday that he has been ordered to report to Tanglin police, around two months…
In solidarity with Jolovan Wham!#stopbullyingjolovanwham
''If you smile through your fear and sorrowSmile and maybe tomorrowYou'll see the sun come shining through for you''…
Luke Wong changed his profile photo to a smiley face
Bernice Lee posted a whole city of cardboard people ” also wanting a better future for our climate and the people who depend on it.”
Here’s a city of cardboard people also wanting a better future for our climate and the people who depend on it (all of…
Many netizens wondered why holding up a smiley face would merit such a response from the authorities.
I think you could hold a balloon🎈; have your photo taken 📸 and still be in trouble 🚔 for violating something.
There is silliness and there is S I L L I N E S S.
— Ben Thambiah 🏳️🌈🇸🇬 He/Him/His #Repeal377A (@benedictjt) May 20, 2020
— You'd Bezobrazie (@LukeWhito) May 20, 2020
— Ahiru San | #AntiCCPSecurityLaw, #FreeHongKong (@AhiruSan17) May 20, 2020