Law Minister K Shanmugam Replies Comic Artist Sonny Liew’s Comment On His Facebook Post About Thum Ping Tjin

The hearings conducted by the Select Committee On Deliberate Online Falsehoods have come and gone.

But one thing that’ll last a little longer in the minds of Singaporeans will be Law Minister K Shanmugam’s thorough cross-examination of historian Dr Thum Ping Tjin.

On Monday (2 Apr), Mr Shanmugam provided a glimpse into his motivations on Thursday’s (29 Mar) 6-hour long session.

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In the post, Mr Shanmugam addressed PJ’s allegations in his written submission to the Select Committee.

Among the allegations Dr Thum made were,

  1. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was the “biggest creator of fake news in Singapore”
  2. Operation Coldstore was “executed with falsehoods”

This was ostensibly the reason Mr Shanmugam went hard on Dr Thum — keeping quiet was “not an option”.

Minister Shanmugam Explains Why He Grilled Historian PJ Thum For 6 Hours

He also acknowledged cartoonist Sonny Liew’s portrayal of him, which depicts a caricaturised version of himself.

Mentioning that Sonny is a good cartoonist in the post, saying,

He is a talent.

However, Mr Shanmugam did not openly address Sonny’s viewpoints, only stating that he is “not happy with what happened with PJ”.

The illustrator’s response

Sonny popped in to ‘thank’ Mr Shanmugam for the ‘shoutout’, in a lengthy comment which you can view below.

Here’s a screenshot of his comment in full.

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Sonny sought to refute Mr Shanmugam’s claim that his award-winning graphic novel “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” was based on “PJ’s version of history”.

According to Sunny, the book isn’t limited to referencing PJ as its only source.

To prove his point, he invoked a blurb written for his book by a fellow Sonny.

Sonny Yap, who co-authored the book “Men in White: The Untold Story of Singapore’s Ruling Political Party”, described “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” as “a novel and controversial interpretation of Singapore’s history”.

Sonny’s archival work is a marvel of meticulousness and his captions and footnotes were very well-written showing a masterly command of the language and uncanny understanding of the issues.

Sonny – the one named Liew – then stated that debates only work if they are conducted in an “open and fair environment”.

He did admit, though, that the Select Committee hearings could be interpreted as meeting those standards, even if he personally didn’t feel that it did.

He ends off with the classic conflict resolution quote, by agreeing to disagree.

Ok noted.

It seems that Minister Shanmugam was still feeling the effects of the 6-hour parliamentary session.

Clearly the debate took something out of him, because he didn’t seem eager to engage in another heated political debate.

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As far as replies go, that was an “OK, noted” with an extra serving of vowels.

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No end in sight

It’s clear that this isn’t the end of the whole affair.

We’re not sure that anything substantial has arisen from the eight combined days of discourse.

After all, the subject of fake news was hardly broached at the final hearing.

The one thing that can be taken for absolute certainty in this whole affair is that Sonny Liew is indeed a good cartoonist.

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Featured image from Facebook.