People’s Power Party leader Goh Meng Seng found himself in the hot seat recently for wrongfully accusing an outreach volunteer of being a hoarder. After Mr Goh issued a public apology on Facebook, however, netizens have expressed their dissatisfaction over the apology, seeing it as insufficient and defensive.
According to a report by Mothership, Mr Goh on Saturday (April 4) shared a photo of a woman in Sheng Siong supermarket who to him, appeared to be hoarding around seven supermarket trolleys worth of essentials. However, calling out the alleged hoarding proved to be a move that backfired on Mr Goh, after finding out that the woman was a volunteer buying food for elderly beneficiaries in Ghim Moh.
After finding this out, Mr Goh apologised publicly on Facebook. “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,” he wrote. “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.”
Update:First and foremost, my sincere apology to the Malay lady who was shown lining up with 7 trolleys in the photo…
Included in his lengthy post was an explanation that given the circumstances, it is likely that anyone buying in bulk will give off the impression that he or she is hoarding. “An act of simple charity of bulk buying lots of food items to be given to the poor under current circumstances, may just end up giving the wrong impression or misunderstanding to those who witness it,” he stated. “Regardless of race, anyone who is seen pushing 7 trolleys to the payment counter would inevitably invite unwanted stares and even result in wrong perception and skepticism. Worse, it may even create more panic buying of herd mentality.”
He then went on to make a suggestion to the volunteer who was at the grocery store with her family. “The family could have just given cash or cash vouchers directly to the needy families to make their own purchases instead.” Mr Goh also called on Sheng Siong as well as other stores to implement purchase restrictions “so as to help prevent irrational hoarding during this sensitive period.”
In response to Mr Goh’s apology, however, netizens voiced out their dissatisfaction, seeing his post as a failed attempt at an apology. While some called out the hint of defensiveness in Mr Goh’s post, others urged the opposition politician to approach such a situation differently the next time. “You made a mistake so don’t justify your mistake by explaining your judgment,” said netizen Vlad Imir.
“This is not the season or time to judge,” said Facebook user Priscilla Lim. “Go and ask why the person is buying so much, (don’t) jump to conclusions.”
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