Series of PR gaffes even as SG tries hard to impress

Based on events and incidents that took place within 24 hours of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un’s arrival in Singapore on Sunday afternoon, there are indeed lessons the Singapore Government needs to learn – and may they quickly do so.

Early birthday cake for US President Donald Trump (Photo from Dr Vivian Balakrishnan's Facebook)

The first gaffe occurred shortly after Kim was introduced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to a Singapore delegation at the Istana on Sunday evening, which included Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs as well as Defence Maliki Osman and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information as well as Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann. Immediately after he had shaken the hands of the Singapore delegation, Kim introduced PM Lee to his North Korean delegation who were standing just two metres away.

Shockingly, as camera footage showed, Sim Ann decided to take a seat but quickly stood up after PM Lee and Kim walked towards the front of the room. Even then, any polite host would have waited for his guest to take their seat before placing his or her butt on the chair – but not the Singapore delegation. The moment PM Lee and Kim reached their seats, the Singapore delegation immediately sat down even though their counterparts from North Korea were making their way to their seats. Where is the art of graciousness, Singapore?

Another gaffe: While Balakrishnan and Ong represented the Singapore government in welcoming Kim at the airport on Sunday afternoon, Balakrishnan was the only Cabinet minister who extended a welcome to Amercian President Donald Trump a few hours later. Why so? Anyone taking lessons in PR would learn one of the so-called rules: Be consistent and fair at all times, and be seen to be doing so.

More severe than these gaffes is PM Lee’s decision to host a working lunch for US President Donald Trump – after speaking no more than 20 minutes with Kim the evening before. Lest one forget, Trump and Kim are here specifically for a summit. While Lee’s supporters may praise him for “capitalising” on the opportunity to seek a deal or two with the US delegation since they hardly make a visit to Singapore, is that fair play?

Who is to state that the 2-hour spent by Trump with Lee would not give the US any “advantage” over the North Koreans – in terms of knowledge or information gained? Even if no info is gained, is there not a psychological advantage having the host country prepare a “working lunch” for the Americans? Most importantly, what can’t this lunch be held after the summit? If Trump also values Lee the way he seems to value the former, the US president would have extended his stay in Singapore just by a few hours so as to “talk business” with Singapore after the summit – the event which he is specifically here for.

If something negative turns out from the summit, should the Singapore government bear part of the blame?

How many gaffes will continue to be made at the international level? We can keep repeating the phrases of thanks and gratitude from Kim and Trump but is the reality such that these thank-you expressions are primarily because of the $20 million bill?

By offering a birthday cake to Trump – 3 days before his birthday, we are openly acknowledging how hard we are trying to get into the international media. Has any foreign leader even showered Lee with hugs and cake during an overseas trip at a time near his birthday?

But at least one thing is positive: Lee’s handshake with the two leaders finally resembles that of a real leader, of a real man.

 

Serene Ong

* Article first appeared on The Online Citizen.

 

 

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22 Responses to “Series of PR gaffes even as SG tries hard to impress”

  • You Pay I Wayang:

    This showmanship for Pinky costs dafts a whopping $20 million.

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  • inconsequential detail:

    want to whack robert carrot lee go ahead but please spare sinkies your “reading too much into inconsequential minuscule details” lah.

    us and north korea will not give a fiack for such silly trash by the writer.

    any guy becomes your man will kanna jialat jialat…kanna nag nag until he jump from his 14 storey hdb flat.

    any true, alert and sensitive oppo would also do the same thing in this situation if they are in power lah!!!1

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  • Aiya what's novelty:

    This is what the education of this country had produced smart intellectuals with no EQs at all but only good at scoring As for exams. In the face of international guest hospitality and hosting skills, we are far behind as we only care about ourselves first before others. It had already proven even in my workplace my so-call scholar organisation leader only cares about her own performance bonus and promotion and heck care about the welfare and career development of her employees even giving them very poor PB. Whoever wants to prove me wrong can verify with me via this email. This is a glaring example of how out future generation will perform on the world stage. OMG fact is fact.

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  • HarderTruths:

    This international event will show the world the stupidity of the $G regime. This will showcase the despotic regime in all its glory.

    Is the US so stupid to give out secrets to LHL? Most likely they use him and his henchmen to screw over North Korea and then $G gets screwed by every other Asian nation on China’s side.

    Let us wait for more failures.

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  • Real leader, real man!:

    Serena Ong @ “But at least one thing is positive: Lee’s handshake with the two leaders finally resembles that of a real leader, of a real man.”

    Yes, …… but not the way he sits!

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  • Rats can't vomit:

    Like most of the things PAP does: all show, but no substance, and very expensive. If world peace is as priceless as 69.9% of the electorates claim to be then world peace is a complete illusion.

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  • What Graciousness?:

    Graciousness in Singapore?
    Dont think they know the true meaning of that word.
    Have we sgs seen any semblance of it , being bestowed on us in these past few decades, in any form? Especially the ne
    edy n aged poor?

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  • rukidding:

    A starking reminder for Us !

    This guy is “behaving exactly” like Najib and his Gang !

    What a “let down”

    Very “Beh Kian siow” and “Kau Been Peh” indeed !

    All the “true colors” shown ( of a lousy, self interest, leeder and leedership )

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  • opposition dude:

    Well, it’s pretty obvious who goondu Loong sucks up to doesn’t it?

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  • pap whitewashed small island:

    everything we see every morning since lky crow took over has smell of death.

    actually, we without job truly better dead than alive. but commit suicide we coward all 4 of us. but to live in clown pap Singapore without job 2018 is worse than living in boiling oil.

    what can we do?

    unless 70% sheep wakes up GE2019 what we can do is to endure the 9% GST when we have zero income. ffff the pap Cb who thinks S$300 GST voucher or S$500 GST voucher is enough for a whole ffffing year in swiss cost pap Singapore.

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  • sinking feeling:

    You Pay I Wayang:
    This showmanship for Pinky costs dafts a whopping $20 million.

    when they pay needy extremely poor Singaporeans S$300 it is like pulling their own teeth.

    when it comes to other peoples’ problems, Japan, China, South Korea, ffff they get their priorities wrong.

    we are 6 hours away from Seoul or Tokyo or Beijing.

    why should we be so ffffing easy with S$20m when folks in Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, ain’t footing a cent?

    is this why citizens’ CPF is kosong?

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  • PLP:

    Using whose money to PLP?

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  • All things being equal:

    Pardon me Serene, but I think that the mark of a natural aristocrat would be that leader who would shake the hand of the 83 year-old gentleman who attends to the pumps at the petrol kiosk I frequent. And to assure the old man his welfare is being taken care of – That would be a real leader at zero ground level.

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  • VoodooChild:

    Elites behaving like serfs.

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  • Bapak:

    Great observation. Crossing arms & legs indicate a defensive attitude. A A subconscious attempt by a person to protect his vital organs – heart & the lungs for arms crossed and genitals for legs crossed. Confirmed balless sissy-li? Or afraid Kim reaches out for his balls? SG spent $20millions taxpayers’ money for the world to see how “the real man” sit.

    Real leader, real man!:
    Serena Ong @ “But at least one thing is positive: Lee’s handshake with the two leaders finally resembles that of a real leader, of a real man.”

    Yes, …… but not the way he sits!

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  • Merobok:

    Remember Ann Sim, the oily face minister of state….she has now “chute” her own pattern! We will see more of her in time to come!

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  • Down Down Down !!!:

    Utterly disgusted at the way the SG shit media going into overdrive.
    Why are we treating the bui kia like a rock star? He is evil, cruel and oppressive.
    Whilst other countries would definitely not volunteer to host the summit to such an evil ruler, papsmear shit adore the limelight. Ask yourself, what message is papsmear shit telling everyone? that they agree with bui kia’s policies.
    with Pinky’s political gaffes for Trump. Remember his so called congratulatory speech? reluctant, tu lan message. he bo pian must get back into the good books. Pinky, Clinton ain’t coming back, wake up !

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  • N.Jungne:

    Just for Laughs only, normal lah, as expected from cartoons and goons.

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  • cpfgone:

    True come to cpf withdrawal they said you can live until 100 years old and cannot withdraw meant for old age.

    But to spend this 20m lavishly for face purpose it’s not a problem for them and later will call for GST increases because of such expenses increased/wasted by them.

    Where is the logics?????

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  • MarBowling:

    Notice one Impotent thing that stood up like a sore thumb : No sound no shadow of our Pre$ident throughout this whole Historical event that brought together USA President D Trump and North Korea LEEder Kim Jong-Un to hold the Historical summit in SinKapore! She must busy in the kitchen in the Istana whipping up her favourite Lasi Lemak specially prepared for D Trump whom Mai Hum was hosting a working lunch for him at the Istana! Possibly Mai Hum wanted to keep her busy in the kitchen….didn’t want her to embarrass D Trump!

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  • 4G in cold store:

    MarBowling:
    Notice one Impotent thing that stood up like a sore thumb : No sound no shadow of our Pre$ident throughout this whole Historical event that brought together USA President D Trump and North Korea LEEder Kim Jong-Un to hold the Historical summit in SinKapore! She must busy in the kitchen in the Istana whipping up her favourite Lasi Lemak specially prepared for D Trump whom Mai Hum was hosting a working lunch for him at the Istana! Possibly Mai Hum wanted to keep her busy in the kitchen….didn’t want her to embarrass D Trump!

    Also where are Kee Chiu,bug eye Heng and rat eye Ong in the expensive wayang for T and K show?

    Interestingly, ah neh ministars surrounded pinky at the working lunch. Uncle Sam state dept think red dot is part of Malaysia.

    Hope mr T doesn’t think red dot is part of India with so many ah nehs? What do you think?

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  • Our $20 million 'kopi boy' !:

    Very proud of himself not only being a ‘kopi boy’ but also a ‘tour guide’ by night.

    Historic indeed!

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