A day before the Independence Day of India, a permanent resident of Singapore, under the name Avijit Das Patnaik, placed a rather controversial image on the page Singapore Indians and Expats Facebook. The photo: a black t-shirt with an image of the Singapore flag that is torn apart to reveal an Indian flag underneath.
It is clear that the post went viral for the wrong reasons. The police have since started investigating the case – under the Singapore Arms and Flag and the National Anthem Act it is a violation to apply the image of the flag as part of a costume or clothing. Except in circumstances that can be approved by the minister, being circumstances in which there is no lack of respect for the flag.
We are beautiful certain that an image of the Singapore flag that is torn apart is disrespectful, although
The message was shared with a Facebook group with about 11,000 members and the online outrage was great, especially among Singaporeans. The reactions often turned into xenophobic and racist areas, while the intimidation was so overwhelming that Patnaik had to delete his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Patnaik had to explain The Straits Times that he was not the one who designed the image, declaring that he first came across the photo on various social media accounts before he shared it. The man – a Singapore resident for a decade – also apologized, stating that he was not meant to cause offense.
"I love Singapore deeply and am always singing hymns about this country, so my intention was never to cause so much grievance," he told ST . "I just felt that the image that represents deep inside, the heart also beats for our motherland."
The post was accompanied by a caption in Hindi "Phir bhi dil hai …" – which The Independent SG ] reported as the title of the Hindi film Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani which translates into "Still my heart is Indian".
DBS Bank replies
The reaction even met Patnaik's employers DBS Bank, who launched its own investigation into the case. Netizens took over the Facebook page from the bank giant to criticize the behavior of their employees and DBS did not react directly to reactions. According to the company, Patnaik has since been advised and "I am sorry for the misery".