As you are probably aware, Singapore civil and migrant workers’ rights activist Jolovan Wham is being investigated for holding up a placard with a smiley ☺ in a public space outside a police station. He was alone. You can read details of this on his Twitter account at https://twitter.com/jolovanwham/status/1263022005223165957
Several people have also expressed their support for a more open and accessible civic space by posting images of themselves with a smiley on their personal social media accounts. Others have also sent Jolovan Wham their own smiley photos for his Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/jolovan.wham).
MARUAH, as a human rights organisation, states again that amendments to the Public Order Act (2017) mean further restrictions, crippling civic space. Human Rights Watch, in 2017, stated that Singapore’s definition of “public assembly” in the Public Order Act is extremely broad, which means that it can be interpreted to encompass everything from handing out leaflets on the death penalty to an individual standing silently holding a placard. (https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/12/12/kill-chicken-scare-monkeys/suppression-free-expression-and-assembly-singapore).
We would like to invite members and friends of MARUAH Singapore to show your support for civic space by submitting a photo of yourself with a smiley face.
Here are two samples:
MARUAH Singapore will collate the photos into a Zoom-style layout with the following message –
We support smileys and individuals’ peaceful voices in public.
#InSolidarity for Civic Space
#InSolidarity Against the Public Order Act(2017)
Please submit your images to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, 5 June 5.00pm. Do let us know if you need any further information.
Thanking you #InSolidarity,