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Goh Meng Seng comments on Malay lady with 7 trolleys, discovers items were for charity

Mr Goh apologised for any negative connotations that his comments implied and added that it was not a “racist post at all”

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Singapore – Opposition People’s Power Party leader, Goh Meng Seng received backlash from netizens for a post which negatively highlighted the actions of a Malay woman checking out of a supermarket with seven trolleys. The items were for charity.

On Sunday (April 5), Mr Goh took to Facebook to post and comment on a couple of photos taken at Sheng Siong supermarket. The pictures showed a family paying for seven trolleys worth of groceries. “It is apparent that Sheng S(i)ong didn’t impose rationing for the purchase of daily necessities,” said Mr Goh. “Typical Singaporeans do not dare to voice out in public, only stood there with their staring,” he added.

The family did notice the attention they were getting and explained that the items were to be distributed to the poor and needy, said Mr Goh. After noting that he was giving the family the benefit of the doubt and that Ramadan was just around the corner, Mr Goh wondered if the eggs could last the two weeks before the Muslim holy month started.

“Even if that is true, this is a very sensitive period, and such purchase will either create more panic buying or misunderstanding resulting in anger,” said Mr Goh. He added that the family could have opted to donate cash or cash vouchers directly to needy families.
He then urged the supermarket to impose rationing restrictions on the purchases of essential supplies to help “prevent irrational hoarding during this sensitive period.”

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Consequently, another post surfaced in social media by Bob Rizuan who thanked the donors for contributing money to buy rations for the elderly in Ghim Moh. “Though it was hard to buy as they have limits of certain items, managed to talk to the manager of (sic) the reason on the mass buying,” noted Mr Rizuan. He also thanked the staff and manager of Sheng Siong for accommodating their request.

Thank u to the donors who contributed money to buy rations for the elderly of Ghim Moh. Though it was hard to buy as…

Posted by Bob Rizuan on Sunday, April 5, 2020

Mr Rizuan’s post garnered over 1,000 shares and received many comments tagging Mr Goh’s post, demanding a public apology to be made for his assumptions.

Photo: FB screengrab

Photo: FB screengrab

Photo: FB screengrab

Photo: FB screengrab

Photo: FB screengrab

A netizen even tagged the President and Prime Minister, urging them to tell Mr Goh “to apologise publicly.”

Photo: FB screengrab

Mr Goh eventually commented in the thread and justified that he did not “shame someone for doing charity.” He simply advised everyone to be “mindful of the context of the current situation” and that there were other ways to donate. His “unapologetic” reply triggered another round of backlash from the online community.

Photo: FB screengrab

Photo: FB screengrab

Public apology
In an update to his post, Mr Goh announced his public apology. He apologised for any negative connotations that his comments implied and added that it was not a “racist post at all.”

First and foremost, my sincere apology to the Malay lady who was shown lining up with 7 trolleys in the photo which I have posted about the Sheng Siong supermarket on my Facebook yesterday.
I am sorry for any negative feelings or comments against her resulting from the posting. It is never my intention to shame anyone in my post and it is definitely not my intention to dismiss such charitable person.
It is also definitely NOT a racist post at all, aiming to target any race or religion. Those who know me well, would know that together with my Muslim buddies, I have invited both Muslim and non-Muslim friends to attend our annual Ramadan breakast sessions since 2010. I have full appreciation of Ramadan and had learned quite a lot about Islam and the importance of Ramadan from my Muslim brothers. Unfortunately, for this year, we will have to miss our annual Ramadan breakfast with our friends due to Coronavirus threats…

Included in his update were a few suggestions for those who wish to continue their charitable acts without causing unnecessary alarm. Cash vouchers, online purchases to be sent to the recipient or private arrangements with suppliers to deliver the food items were the examples he provided.

He also urged his “Muslim friends to be mindful of the crisis we are facing. The last thing we would want to see is to invoke unnecessary emotional responses out of misunderstanding or misperception.”

There were still comments discouraging his actions after the public apology.

Photo: FB screengrab

Photo: FB screengrab

Photo: FB screengrab

Read the full post below:

Update:First and foremost, my sincere apology to the Malay lady who was shown lining up with 7 trolleys in the photo…

Posted by Goh Meng Seng on Sunday, April 5, 2020

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