Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan has asked for the removal of his Deepavali banner in the estate after some residents and members of the public expressed anger over another banner placed below it which reminded residents to keep celebrations “litter free”.
The first banner depicted a picture of Lim wishing Mountbatten residents a happy Deepavali, while the second banner below it stated that residents should bin their litter and leave public spaces clean.
On Wednesday (Nov 8), Facebook user Susiilaa Shanmugam shared a picture of the two banners together and commented that although the message “appears to have a positive intent”, it was used at a “very wrong time”.
She wrote “Thank you for the reminder, sir. Just curious if you have ever used this message during Chinese New Year or Hungry Ghost Festival?
“Though the message appears to have a positive intent, it is being used at a very wrong time given festivals are a time when those who have endured a tumultuous time come together as one to unite with their family and friends”.
“I hope to see the same message for the coming Chinese New Year.”
“Festivals are a time when those who have endured a tumultuous time come together as one to unite with their family and friends,” she said.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Lim explained that the two banners were separate ones and that his banner on top was just a festive greeting.
Responding to one of the Facebook user’s comment Mr Lim wrote “1st, the lower banner was not from me”.
He said that the banner below reminding residents not to litter was from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and was intended to inform residents to keep the environment clean while celebrating the festival.
“Indeed, I have informed NEA and they have agreed that they will remove the banners on anti-littering. The banner was simply a reminder not to litter. I am sure that you agree that we should not litter”.
However, some residents and members of the public felt that the placement of the two banners together was insensitive, as it seemed to imply that Deepavali celebrations are inherently messy and polluting.
Lim said that he had asked for his festive greeting banner to be removed so that there is no misunderstanding of his intent. He added that he had also spoken to the People’s Association (PA), which put up the banner on his behalf, to express his concerns.
“It is unfortunate that the contractor who placed the two banners did not think about the messaging,” said Mr Lim.
“The contractor did not inform me as to when or where to place the banners. But I had asked that my festive greeting banner be removed so that there is no misunderstanding of my intent – which is simply to wish all Hindus a Happy Deepavali”, he added in his Facebook comment.
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