Misspelled 'Marry Christmas' banners in Mountbatten taken down

Screengrab from Hardware Zone. -- PHOTO: HARDWARE ZONE
Screengrab from Hardware Zone. -- PHOTO: HARDWARE ZONE

SINGAPORE - Nine banners in Mountbatten that misspelled a festive greeting as "Marry Christmas" have been taken down after a photo of one went viral online.

The banners carried a picture of Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan smiling and wishing residents "Marry Christmas and Happy New Year".

The logos of several grassroots organisations were also printed at the bottom of the banners, which were put up on Wednesday.

But on Thursday night, a sharp-eyed resident posted a photo of the misspelled banner on the online forum at local website HardwareZone, where it attracted 77 comments in less than 24 hours.

"Who is Christmas and why does he want to marry her?" quipped one commenter. Others joked that the banner was a subtle hint to Singaporeans to "marry and have kids".

When contacted on Friday, Mr Lim said that nine banners with the misspelling had been displayed around the constituency, but that they had all been removed on Thursday.

He explained that he usually asked grassroots leaders to put up greeting messages in Mountbatten during festive occasions. The grassroots leaders would in turn hire contractors to print the messages.

"I thought it was quite careless, but not a serious error, rather, a typographical error on the part of the contractor," Mr Lim told The Straits Times.

"The contractor made a mistake and the constituency office did not proofread (the banners)."

Mr Lim added: "I think we all can look at it and say that mistakes happen. None of us are perfect. I told my constituency office to be more careful next time.

"I believe we ought to promote graciousness and allow people to learn from their mistakes," he said, adding that he would not refrain from hiring the contractor again.

The Mountbatten banner is the latest of several proofreading errors this year.

Earlier this month, a member of the public spotted a dozen or so mistakes in the Singapore National Museum's exhibition about the 700 years of Singapore's history.

In November, netizens also flagged a road sign for the Lau Pa Sat market that had been translated wrongly in Tamil. The word "Sat" was translated into "Sani", which means Saturday in Tamil, but can also be used to curse people in Tamil.

charyong@sph.com.sg