A student from Tampines-Meridian Junior College (TMJC) uploaded an Instagram photo of himself kissing his male partner.
The post attracted the attention of the Singapore HardwareZone forum.
In a thread titled, "Omg ghey couple kissing in SG kissing in public", started on Jan. 21, forum users weighed in with their views on this display of same-sex public affection.
Some felt it was a call to action:
A few members tried to counter the rhetoric:
But they were ignored by others, one of whom referenced the Holocaust and advocated putting the couple in a "gas chamber":
Instagram post identified
Forum members quickly identified the couple in the Instagram post via the duo's social media handles.
They discovered that the person who uploaded the photo to his Instagram account was a student from TMJC.
One forum member suggested sending the photos to TMJC's principal.
Subsequently, another forum member claimed that he made a complaint to the school.
You can see a screen shot of the email he claimed to have sent:
This was what the text of the email said:
I came across this thread regards to one of your student openly kissing his partner in public and it's been recognised that he's one of your student by the name of -.
FYA (For your action)
[Link to the HWZ Forum thread.]
[Link to an image hosting site, displaying the Instagram photo.]"
Student asked to take down photo
The forum users then shared another Instagram photo from the student.
He claimed that he had been asked by his school to remove "all posts" featuring himself and his boyfriend because it "bothers others":
Another Instagram photo was shared, ostensibly from the student's partner:
He claimed the following:
- The student was asked to take down the Instagram featuring the kiss.
- The reason given was that it affected the school's reputation, even though neither guy was identifiable as a member of TMJC from the original Instagram.
- The school allegedly threatened to file a police report if the student did not comply.
TMJC did not threaten to file a police report
When contacted, TMJC principal Pamela Yoong confirmed that the school was alerted by a member of the public, and identified one of the two teenagers in the photo as a TMJC student.
In response to media queries, Yoong said:
"We then advised the student that it would be in his interest to remove the post to protect his privacy and wellbeing. We did not mention the filing of a police report.
We have always taught our students to behave with propriety on-line and in all other situations."
Statement on Cyber-bullying
On Feb. 3, the Inter-Uni LGBT Network Singapore shared a statement on its Facebook page.
It expressed concern for the threats of violence expressed by the Hardware Zone Forum members against the couple, and urged the police to investigate.
The Network also cited Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam's comment in Nov. 2018 that the government would take a "zero tolerance" and "no-nonsense" approach towards violence against members of the LGBT community.
It tagged both Shanmugam and the Singapore Police Force in its Facebook post.
You can see it below.(Editor's note: This story has been updated on Feb. 4 at 7:00 pm to include the statement from the Inter-Uni LGBT Network Singapore.)
Top image adapted from screenshots from HardwareZone Forum.
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