Well, we would never have taken historian Pingtjin Thum to be an Arianna Grande fan.
Taking a page from the pop singer’s recent smash hit song, “thank u, next,” whose refrain ‘One taught me love, one taught me patience, and one taught me pain’ became so popular that it spawned (more than) a thousand memes, Thum posted his own version of the meme on his Facebook page yesterday, seemingly throwing shade at three of the top leaders of the country–Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam.
His caption: “One taught me love, one taught me patience, and one taught me pain. #tharman, next
While Grande’s song is about how grateful she is the lessons she learned from her ex-boyfriends, Thum’s post seems to lack the thankful part, as it seems as though he’s throwing shade on the three officials, and his post refers to the troubles he’s seen this year.
It’s been quite a year for the historian, from the flak he received wishing Singaporeans “Happy Malaysia Day” a few months back; meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammed with fellow controversial figures Kirsten Han, Jolovan Wham, Sonny Liew, Singapore exile Tan Wah Piow and former Malaysian exile Hishamuddin Rais; getting called a traitor for his actions; enduring a six-hour grilling from Shanmugam at the Parliamentary Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods in October, and having the Ministry of Finance reject Thum’s appeal to have his application to register a company, since a reversal would be “contrary to national interest.”
And to think that the one-time Olympic swimmer (1996), who is one of a select group of people who have crossed the English channel in 2005–being the first Singaporean to do so.
That year, he received high praise from Prime Minister Lee, who lauded Thum for having conquered “the Everest of swimming.” PM Lee wrote Thum on National Day in 2005, telling him, “Your adventurous spirit, boldness to take on a difficult challenge, and strength to carry it through are an inspiration to us all.”
The question remains, however, as to which leader taught Thum patience, love and pain? One netizen asked him this on his Facebook post, but the historian has as yet chosen not to answer.