Smile for Solidarity

Holding a one-person protest for just enough time to take a photograph gets you into trouble in Singapore. This, labor and rights activist Jolovan Wham learned, when he did just that. His action was undertaken in support of two young climate activists who are being investigated by the police, and it landed him in a police station too. The Public Order and Safety (Special Powers) Act, which took effect in 2018, is the draconian legislation that authorizes such anti-democratic measures against peaceful protests.

To show support for Jolovan Wham, a few friends posted on social media photographs of themselves holding up the same smiley face as he had done. The posts have since started a movement of sorts, with posters not only hashtagging themselves #smileforsolidarity but also expressing their thoughts on why freedom of speech and assembly are so vital to a true democracy.

Jolovan is compiling these photographs and statements in a Facebook album here. He explains the importance of such solidarity in action:

“2 months ago, I took a picture with a smiley face at Toa Payoh Central and posted it on my social media to support 2 climate justice activists who were investigated by the police for going on a climate strike. This week, the police launched an investigation and said I had violated the Public Order Act. My phone was also confiscated.

Our freedoms of expression and assembly are precious. Our political leaders have violated our rights by making even a one person assembly an offence.

We need to send a message to our leaders and the government that we do not accept their terms, that we want a more democratic culture in Singapore, and that we want to be fully alive to what it means to claim our citizenship to this society.

Send me a photo for this album, hashtag #smileforsolidarity when you share it on your social media.”

Would you consider responding to Jolovan’s call?


Jee Leong Koh




9 Responses to “Smile for Solidarity”

  • Walao eh

    Sabo lor. Now the police will be knocking on everyone above’s door and cheonging their mobile phone liao lor.

    TRE should at least mosaic their faces mah. Diu!

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  • You are right:

    TRE Techie:
    Walao eh

    Sabo lor. Now the police will be knocking on everyone above’s door and cheonging their mobile phone liao lor.

    TRE should at least mosaic their faces mah. Diu!

    Yes. Obliterate their faces to protect the ….. ( depending on which side )

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  • Sinkies hate freedom:

    70% – a very weird group of people who hate freedom. Freedom to do. Freedom to think. No. No. No. Not for them.

    True humans love freedom. Example: Alex who move out to a free country to continue his free expression, while those who want to shut him up can only bang balls.

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  • trublu:

    What’S wrong with SMILE?
    UNLESS,of course,if it is ARTIFICIAL!
    You know what i mean…grin,grin,grin

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  • LHL fly kite:

    Every citizen has the moral obligation and right to defy an UNJUST LAW.We have THE RIGHT TO PEACEFUL PROTEST under the Singapore constitution.It is the PAP GOVERNMENT that should be afraid of us not the other way round.If a thousand people post photos to support Jovan the police CANNOT GO AROUND CONFISCATING every one phones.For one moment forget that you are Chinese,Malay Indian and other race and as ONE UNITED PEOPLE as in our pledge SHOW THE PAP WHO IS BOSS.
    Their policies have reduced Singaporeans as second class citizens in their own country and their handling of the corona epidemic has made SIngapore a laughingstock.For once GROW SOME BALLS and take what is yours..Stop grumbling and use your votes wisely .VTO.

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  • DontDisturb:

    They dont want you to kickstart a movement with even a tiny spark less it build up into a flame and burn their house down or the rich man’s central house where all the rich are beneficially and mutually blessed. Just be trusting and keep bringing in the golden eggs for the rich and you shall have jobs to feed your stomach and your tiny brains. Such obedience will bring progress, prosperity and peace on earth. Thats singapore gospel preached all over the world. See how wonderful our world of nations have become? We love each other so long as you know how to shut the F up.

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  • is this sg or what?:

    sg is fast transforming into a china or nkorea kind of governance.

    GD Star Rating
  • DontDisturb:

    But on the other hand, the system did breed idiots so what if idiots start a movement for idiots? In that case, it is right for the authority to step in, so it seems. Though seemingly right and logical to PAP gang and most thinking people, the consequences if followed as a whole will bring disastrous consequences for all becausee none can claim to be absolutely good or wise.

    You are destined to kill each other with your tiny brain in the natural order of nature.

    GD Star Rating
  • Poke Ass Jolovan:

    Dear Singaporeans,
    Beware of all these activists hidden agenda.

    All these activists could be LGBT group who pretend to be fighting for your freedom but in actual fact, they are fighting for their poke ass rub puss* right.

    Be very careful of the activists hidden agenda.

    Poke Ass Party(PAP) in Taiwan 30/10 and 31/10

    The LGBT group had successfully schemed to put DPP in power. DPP is now under LGBT control.

    $PAP$ Tua Kee; Majullah $PAP$; $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

    GD Star Rating
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