Singapore — Juxtaposing photos of cabinet minister Edwin Tong and Opposition leader Pritam Singh, netizens could not resist contrasting the images to criticise Mr Tong for visiting the Vatican and lauding Mr Singh for restarting visits and in-person Meet-the-People sessions (MPS).
If the two men had planned it on purpose, the contrast could not have been greater.
One shot showed Pope Francis with Mr Tong in a formal suit and tie. The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law had led a diplomatic delegation to the Vatican to re-affirm bilateral ties between the two city-states.
In the other shot was Workers’ Party leader Pritam Singh in a workaday short-sleeved shirt, resuming visits to constituents’ homes. Mr Singh has also restarted his regular face-to-face MPS rounds.
On Thursday (Jan 6), Mr Singh used social media to record the welcome return to in-person meetings.
In his Facebook post, Mr Singh wrote that a “long-awaited restart to housevisits and physical Meet-the-People sessions (MPS) for The Workers’ Party MPs began this week across the Aljunied, Hougang and Sengkang constituencies”. Aljunied and Hougang are served by the Aljunied Hougang Town Council, commonly referred to as AHTC.
When face-to-face visits were suspended because of Covid-19, the direct engagement with residents was something he missed the most.
“Today was an evening of house visits – a very important touch-point for me and my colleagues. Grateful for the support of residents at Blk 609 for the work carried out by the AHTC team and for your feedback”, Mr Singh wrote.
The same day, Mr Tong wrote that he was “honoured to have been granted a ‘Baciamano’ (a brief Audience) with His Holiness Pope Francis this morning at the Vatican City”, and spoke to the Pope about “social cohesion, multi religiosity and harmony, issues in which we have a deep mutual interest”.
Netizens praised Mr Singh for making home visits, even during a non-election year, while wondering why Mr Tong visited the Pope.
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