Singapore GE2020: PAP new face rebuts allegations; accuser retracts statement

People's Action Party candidate Shawn Huang, 37, in the first of two detailed Facebook posts yesterday, rebutted the accusations online about him behaving badly during a rehearsal for the National Day Parade in 2018. He also gave a detailed account o
People's Action Party candidate Shawn Huang, 37, in the first of two detailed Facebook posts yesterday, rebutted the accusations online about him behaving badly during a rehearsal for the National Day Parade in 2018. He also gave a detailed account of what happened in the incident.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The woman who accused new People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Shawn Huang of behaving badly in the past has retracted the allegations, saying her assessment may have been overly harsh and she might have overreacted.

The woman, who calls herself Lin Leo on Facebook, accused Mr Huang of "(throwing) food back" at officers during rehearsals for the National Day Parade (NDP) in 2018. Mr Huang was the NDP parade commander that year.

Mr Huang, 37, in the first of two detailed Facebook posts yesterday, rebutted the accusations and gave a detailed account of what happened in 2018.

In a separate post yesterday, he also addressed questions about his surname.

Referring to the NDP incident, Mr Huang, who was unveiled as a PAP candidate last Friday, said he was able to deduce that the person making the allegations was a warrant officer (WO) in charge of the NDP logistics control group in 2018.

Giving his account of what happened, Mr Huang said he had approached the group to ask for lunch during a rehearsal after he realised his group members did not have any lunch catered for them.

The group would usually have rations to spare, he thought, which might otherwise go to waste. However, the WO in charge refused to give him any food, Mr Huang said.

He said: "I tried to reason it out with the WO that the rations would otherwise be disposed anyway. However, the WO insisted and I decided that rather than pursuing it further, I decided to leave the tent and went elsewhere to ask for a pack of food."

When Mr Huang came back to his tent after lunch, he found a packet of food on the table which seemed to have been left for him.

As he had eaten, he "politely passed the ration back".

Said Mr Huang: "To help future ration distributions, I highlighted to them that we could practise some flexibility in the distribution of rations. They agreed. I did not pursue the matter further."

 
 
 

Mr Huang said he tried to contact the WO who had written the post so that he could clarify and explain what had happened that day, but was unable to as the post was removed.

He added that he wished her well and thanked everyone who had spoken up in support of him.

Lin Leo, in a Facebook post late last night, said she may have overreacted and was too harsh in her assessment of Mr Huang.

She acknowledged her use of harsh language and conceded that her judgment of Mr Huang's character did not take into account the full picture of the kind of person he was.

Meanwhile, in another Facebook post yesterday, Mr Huang addressed the online chatter surrounding his surname. He wrote: "Some people have been curious about why I call myself Shawn Huang now, when I was previously known as Shawn Ingkiriwang."

Mr Huang said his family name has always been Huang. When his great-grandfather migrated to Indonesia, he was named Huang.

In 1966, the family took the Ingkiriwang name when "things got troubled in the region".

In 1982, when Mr Huang was born, he was given the name Ingkiriwang Shawn Wei Zhong. He said: "Let me also clarify that I am a Singapore Chinese and a citizen by birth, since that, too, has been asked."

 
 

Mr Huang said his parents changed his surname to Huang by deed poll in 1989, and he went by the name Huang Wei Zhong Shawn in primary school. When he had to apply for an identity card in Primary Six, he was told he had to stick to the name on his birth certificate.

Mr Huang said he recently found this was not true and that a name change by deed poll was, in fact, valid. He said: "I therefore decided to henceforth use my legal surname Huang, which was intended by my parents for me."

He ended his post by saying this is the full story of his name and that he is not shy about any aspect of his heritage.

Mr Huang, who is expected to be fielded in Jurong GRC, is a director for enterprise development at Temasek International. Before that, he spent 19 years with the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

On Saturday, Mr Ivan Lim, 42, who had been walking the ground in Jurong GRC, pulled out from the contest after allegations about his past conduct and behaviour emerged online.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2020, with the headline 'PAP new face rebuts allegations; accuser retracts statement'. Subscribe