Media doesn’t get SM Goh’s Facebook joke

From ‘SM Goh says Facebook comments were tongue-in-cheek’, 2 April 2011, article in Asiaone.

…SM Goh said on the ‘MParader’ Facebook page Saturday evening that “young (PAP candidate Tin) Pei Ling has been traumatized”. He said he saw her yesterday (Friday) with “trauma specialist, Fatimah”.

One hour later, he posted a second statement on the Facebook page saying that Ms Tin had called to inform him that the media had wanted her comments on his post.

“They (the media) have failed to appreciate my tongue-in cheek post”.

He explained that he had used a “medical metaphor to describe “Fatimah” as she is a trauma specialist.


Why Facebook needs a 'Dislike' button

Singaporean politicians either are unintentionally funny (Mee Siam Mai Hum), or just deliver one bad joke after another. Of course this could be a ploy to lighten the mood pre-General Election, but it’s ironic how such ‘cheeky’ remarks serve more to expose newbie Tin Pei Ling’s vulnerability and inexperience than to actually stand by her as our SM Goh rushes to disclaim later. Perhaps we shouldn’t blame Goh Chok Tong, for he himself is new to the social media experience and unaware of its sheer power to stir up unwanted attention, that a Facebook page about his constituency is not an outlet for satire or creative expression, notwithstanding his penchant for wisecracks which, upon ‘failure to appreciate’, may be taken to be anything but. What exactly were the people who clicked ‘Like’ thinking? Did they ‘like’ the fact that Pei Ling was troubled? Or were they the rare few who ‘got it’? Tin Pei Ling’s not the first victim of a groundless rumour masked as an attempt at humour, as S Dhanabalan would tell you, having been ‘tight-slapped’ in the face by Lee Hsien Loong in 1990,  according to our cabinet jester (and PM) Goh Chok Tong at a none more appropriate occasion than the National Day Rally (DPM Lee to take over by 2005, 18 August 2003, Today). It’s no wonder Singapore is the recent victim of a CBS ‘tongue in cheek’ report that we’ve banned April Fool’s jokes, though we really should only ban our politicians from making jokes at all.  All 365 days a year.

As stated in the article above, such ‘slapstick’ is probably the result of Goh Chok Tong overcompensating for his reputation as being ‘wooden’ according to then SM Lee Kuan Yew, with woeful results at the expense of a clueless Dhanabalan no less. Even the ditty about seeing a psychiatrist resurfaced in the Tin Pei Ling jibe. Yet in the 80’s, our most prominent MParader unleashed this wordplay gem(see below), slightly better than the current fake bashing and ‘traumatising’ that he’s since resorted to. For those who still don’t get it, ‘Go’ refers to ‘Goh’ and ‘Tan’ Tony Tan (Heard this one about Chok Tong? 27 March 1985, ST). Probably groan-worthy (How low can you Goh? Hur Hur) today but the 80’s wasn’t exactly a time of sophisticated wit, and I wouldn’t suggest you try this one at  a cocktail party unless you thrive on awkward silences. Still, who can’t help but chuckle if someone the likes of Goh Chok Tong decides to pull a one-man stand up political humour fest? Who else could come up with the genius analogy of Singaporeans as a blaring South African horned instrument?



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