Singapore—It seems that the egg threat incident is not over with fresh ammunition from an overseas precedent.
A couple of Singapore’s Members of Parliament have posted links to a man in the UK who was sentenced to 28 days in jail for egging opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.
On March 26, Nominated MP Calvin Cheng wrote on his Facebook account, “egging an MP is a crime.” He posted an article from the BBC about John Murphy, who threw an egg at Mr Corbyn after the MP had visited a mosque on March 3. Mr Murphy has since been sentenced to jail for 28 days.
In his post, Mr Cheng added, “The threat of egging an MP must thus be taken seriously. Where are all those people who said it’s petty and just a joke now? Joke’s on you smart alecs.”
In a comment to his post, he even said he wished that the man would be sentenced to 28 months in jail.
Mr Cheng was referring to the 20-year-old national serviceman, Edmund Zhong, who left a comment on a Facebook post from a news outlet wherein he said, “I wanna do that to (Home Affairs and Law Minister) K Shanmugam. I swear.”
The post he responded to was a news item about a teenager who hit an Australian senator, Fraser Anning, with an egg on his head after Mr Anning blamed Muslims for the mass shooting in Christchurch on March 15 that killed 50 people and injured 49 others.
Mr Zhong later said that he was “just kidding,” although he and another man who had replied to his comment had been questioned for communicating an electronic record to incite violence under Section 267C of the Penal Code.
A police report had been lodged against the two men, and Mr Zhong had been asked to pay a visit to an investigating officer at the Ang Mo Kio Division HQ.
On March 27, Mr Shanmugam said that ‘he laughed it’ off as “the somewhat exaggerated words of a young man.” By the following day, he even replaced his cover photo on his Facebook account with a picture of a basket of eggs with humorous faces drawn on them.
However, he also posted a link to an article about John Murphy, this time from Reuters. Apparently, pro-Brexit Murphy threw eggs at Mr Corbyn while yelling, “Respect the vote.” He has said that he is “perfectly happy to go to jail.”
The tradition of throwing eggs as a form of protest is not new, it actually started back in the middle ages. The Guardian calls it “Britain’s most traditional form of protest” since the egg is “compact, versatile, eggalitarian (sorry), and loaded with the potential of being rotten.” Not to mention, cheap.
The Guardian goes on to point out that eggs bring their own brand of humiliation. “Even when fresh, organic, and free range, nothing strips a politician of his gravitas quite like a slick of yolk drooling down his lapels or shards of shell peppering his side parting.”
While its shell is soft, eggs can still do considerable damage to property, or spread diseases such as E. coli, salmonella or various viruses.
Perhaps the Australian senator can consider himself in good company (a club which, so far, Mr Shanmugam is still excluded). Notable persons who have been egged in the past include David Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Helmut Kohl, David Blaine, Nigel Farage, John Tsang, Luiz Inácio da Silva, Harold Wilson, Simon Cowell, and many others.
In many countries, egging is a criminal offence considered to be a misdemeanor. In the US, throwing eggs at someone’s property is considered vandalism. If you throw eggs at someone, you could even end up being charged with assault.
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