Singapore—There was an Easter egg of sorts in an article that appeared on the online and print editions of The Straits Times (ST) when a gay couple was featured matter-of-factly, among those celebrating the country’s National Day elsewhere in the world.
Entitled, ‘Celebrating the Singapore spirit from London to Shanghai’, the article featured Philip and Priscilla Ho in Kuala Lumpur, and their children Nathanael and Emma, Lester and Stella Ng and their children Elizabeth and Dylan in Shanghai, and Cliff Tan “and his partner Bela Soltesz” in London.
The article also features a collage of the Ho and Ng families, as well as Messrs Tan and Soltesz, all dressed in red to celebrate Singapore’s 55th birthday, which could be a big step toward normalizing the LGBTQ community in the country, where sexual acts between males is still illegal.
In a comment on ST’s Facebook page, netizen Jasper Lam wrote, “’Cliff Tan and his partner Bela Soltesz in London.’ ST, i see what you did there. ”
Meanwhile on Reddit, a thread on r/singapore entitled, “Did ST just feature a normal, happy gay couple? (with photos!)” blew up getting thousands of reactions from netizens.
Moderators explained why they made an exception for the post, “We have given greenlight to this submission although it breached the rule under ‘5 No editorializing’ as the original article title won’t reflect the focus which OP has highlighted.
Do note that such exception are strictly on a case to case basis, we will still remove majority of the submission that are just ‘hot takes’ of social media screenshot, or snippets of articles to push twist and change a narrative to stir up drama.”
One of the commenters on the Reddit thread was Cliff Tan himself, who wrote that he loved Singapore and would happily settle here with Mr Soltesz if he could. ““You don’t have to be straight to love your country!”
Mr Tan, age 32, wrote that he and Mr Soltesz have been together for 9 years, and that “Singapore is a wonderful place to be gay.”
He added that they enjoy the support of family and friends.
Of ST, he wrote, “This article by ST in the spirit of journalism shows how they are not afraid of stating the fact, that there are people out there, who are although different, lead honest, simple lives. They are not seeking attention, they just treasure the privilege of being treated like everyone else.”
A number of netizens dropped comments to say hello to Mr Tan
Many expressed approval at the direction ST seems to be going in.
Although one netizen could not help but make a little joke.