Some Singaporeans have said that they are disappointed after Singapore President Halimah Yacob was photographed posing with a clenched fist, alongside Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and their respective spouses, during her recent visit to Manila.
Duterte’s ‘fist bump’ pose is controversial since it was used widely during his 2016 presidential campaign when he promised to use deadly force in his war on crime and drugs. Since Duterte took office, thousands of Filipinos have been killed.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has said that over 3,500 people were killed in gunfights with drug suspects who resisted arrests and that about 2,000 more people were killed in other, drug-related violence that the police allegedly has no involvement in.
Human rights advocates, however, have said that the death toll could be higher than what the PNP says and that many of these deaths occurred in suspicious circumstances.
Singaporeans responding to President Halimah’s participation in the ‘fist bump’ photo op online have expressed their disappointment at the Singapore head of state’s decision to go along with the controversial pose.
peeyaj: “Context: The closed fist gesture is a sign of the brutality of Duterte’s brutal regime here in PH. So sad that it was used by the Singaporean President.”
stormearthfire: “Wats next ? Nazi salute? Japanese imperial banzai wave? Symbolism means things and carries a message…Halimah made a choice here”