Sarah Bagharib, whose wedding photo was used without permission as part of the Hari Raya decoration at Tiong Bahru Orchid estate, said that the People's Association's (PA) decision to call off the meeting with her and her husband is "disappointing".
Missed opportunity for a constructive dialogue
Sarah, a communications specialist, told Mothership that while there was an infringement of the couple's privacy and intellectual property rights, the incident did not just affected them but also the wider community that celebrates Hari Raya.
"We are all equal stakeholders in the work that the PA does. We feel this is a missed opportunity for constructive dialogue; for thoughts and suggestions of members of the community to be relayed, and also for the People’s Association to listen to the people’s voices, " Sarah said.
"It is unfortunate that the PA has turned this opportunity down," she added.
She also explained that the couple wanted to be active citizens that contribute positively to make Singapore a better and inclusive home for their daughter.
Even though the meeting has been cancelled, she added that the couple "will continue to advocate for deeper intercultural understanding and greater social cohesion in our everyday lives as Singaporeans".
The meeting between the PA and the couple was supposed to happen this morning.
However, the PA issued a public statement yesterday to explain why they felt the meeting was unnecessary.
They rejected accusations made by Sarah who characterised the incident as racist in an online interview on June 7.
While the PA admitted that the incident was "culturally insensitive", they disagree that it is racist and added that "it is not right to raise the allegation of racism, without basis, to stoke emotions and sentiments".
They also found it "odd" that Sarah was publicly gathering views on this incident from "persons unrelated to the incident".
These two reasons led to the decision to withdraw their offer to meet Sarah and her husband.
In the public statement, the PA also elaborated steps that they will be taking to ensure such a mistake will not repeat, which include establishing a resource panel.
Top image via Sarah's Instagram