Mr Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, is in Singapore on a State Visit at the invitation of President Tony Tan Keng Yam. On 15 December, President Duterte received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana, called on President Tan and met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. President Tan also hosted a State Banquet in honour of President Duterte.
Several news outlets posted pictures of the ceremonial welcome accorded to the Philippine President and some readers pointed out the stark difference in dressing between the leaders of both countries.
At least one Facebook user from the Philippines felt that he had to respond to such criticisms and defend his President’s dress sense.
Facebook user Fyke Tizon Silvano defended his President saying: “To those who would say: Why is he not formally dressed? Or at least tuck in his shirt. National Costume is dressed upon its identity! Duterte wore Barong Tagalog with a different fabric because he finds the pineapple fiber which is the original fabric an itchy and a hot one. Well, at least for him. Let’s just not trivialize his attire. African leaders are properly groomed and yet the most corrupt in the world.”
Another Facebook user , Tan Mika, whose profile suggest that he is a Singaporean said: “what’s wrong with what he is wearing. He is not naked. The most important thing is, he has brains and can say what others don’t dare say. He also dares to do what others dare not – just like Justice Bao in Chinese history. God bless you for what you have done for your country.”