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Here’s why PA should meet woman whose wedding photo it used without permission

It is most unfortunate that the People's Association (PA) has cancelled its meeting with a woman after a constituency office in Radin Mas used her wedding photo without her permission as a standee for Hari Raya Puasa decorations.

Here’s why PA should meet woman whose wedding photo it used without permission

A TODAY reader notes that the People's Association was started to promote racial harmony and social cohesion. It is thus necessary for it to engage Ms Sarah Bagharib.

Paul Wee Kian Nghee

It is most unfortunate that the People's Association (PA) has cancelled its meeting with a woman after a constituency office in Radin Mas used her wedding photo without her permission as a standee for Hari Raya Puasa decorations. 

This comes after the woman, Ms Sarah Bagharib, said that the incident perpetuated a “racist culture” and characterised it as “racist” — suggestions that PA rejected.

The cancellation comes at a time when racism has been thrust into the public spotlight in our multiracial society, which our Pioneer and Merdeka Generation seniors painstakingly built since the 1960s.

Having witnessed racial strife in the kampungs or villages where I grew up, and having been cared for by a Malay nanny who was my grandmother’s best friend, I saw both the good and bad sides of people around me. 

In those days, we received kind offers of food from our Malay neighbours who also protected us from harm by ferrying my family out of the kampung in their car when racial riots worsened. 

On the flip side, we also heard scary sounds of parangs or knives being sharpened in the dead of night as well as saw the bloodied body of a neighbour who was attacked.

This is why racism in any form must stop and conversations on race must continue.

I urge PA to reconsider its decision to cancel its meeting with Ms Sarah, so that both parties can have a frank dialogue to understand and learn from each other. 

Notwithstanding her beliefs and opinions, PA must, can and should offer its side of the story to her and allow Ms Sarah to air her views. 

Two rights can create an even stronger bond.

PA was set up as a statutory board to promote racial harmony and social cohesion in Singapore, with the mission of building and bridging communities in “achieving one people, one Singapore”. 

It is thus necessary for PA not to give up and proceed to engage Ms Sarah, with full support from all of us.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

People's Association Sarah Bagharib wedding photo Hari Raya Puasa racism

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