On August 22nd, presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian addressed the media following his nomination speech on Nomination Day. He took the opportunity to address the recent controversy that had erupted over his past Facebook posts, particularly the remarks he made about “pretty girls.”
During the conference, Mr. Tan passionately discussed the allegations against him and shed light on what he believes to be allegedly a smear campaign from a political party, according to Channel NewsAsia.
The Allegations and Their Origins
One of the primary topics that Mr. Tan addressed during the media conference was the allegations surrounding his remarks about “pretty girls.”
These remarks had garnered attention and raised concerns, particularly from women’s advocacy group AWARE Singapore.
Mr. Tan emphasized that he had intended no harm with his compliments, explaining that he viewed these compliments as harmless acknowledgments of the effort that some women put into their appearance.
Mr. Tan didn’t stop at addressing the controversy itself; he also delved into the allegations of a smear campaign against him. According to him, these smear campaigns have been ongoing for over a decade and have been primarily orchestrated by a political party, which he feels disappointed by.
Relations with Other Candidates
In the midst of these allegations, Mr. Tan took a moment to clarify that he does not believe his fellow candidates Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Ng Kok Song were involved in the smear campaign.
He recounted his conversation with Ng Kok Song, who assured him that such actions were not condoned by his team. However, Mr. Tan also voiced uncertainty about whether Ng Kok Song was fully aware of actions taken on his behalf.
Media’s Role and Portrayal
Mr. Tan didn’t shy away from discussing his concerns about media portrayal. He highlighted the role of media in perpetuating negative narratives, especially those that may not have substantial basis.
He questioned the media’s responsibility in turning seemingly trivial matters into significant issues, eroding trust and credibility in the process. Mr. Tan stressed that the public trusts the media to be fair and honest, and he urged for a more responsible approach in covering stories.
Addressing AWARE’s Concerns
Mr. Tan also directly addressed the concerns raised by AWARE Singapore. He expressed a desire to communicate with the group to understand their perspective better. He questioned what exactly they found offensive in his remarks and wished for a platform to engage in a meaningful dialogue.
Mr. Tan acknowledged that his compliments were intended as positive gestures and expressed bewilderment over how they had been turned into a negative point.
While Mr. Tan remained steadfast in his belief that his remarks were not intended to offend, he did take a moment to apologize to anyone who might have felt uncomfortable by his comments.
He shared that he has a wife, two daughters, and three granddaughters, emphasizing his respect for women and his commitment to treating them with dignity.
He conveyed his hope that the media would convey his message accurately, reflecting his true intentions rather than distorting his character.