Singapore GE2020: PAP new face Shawn Huang rebuts allegations about past behaviour, clears air over name

Mr Shawn Huang was unveiled as a People's Action Party candidate for the coming election on June 26, 2020. PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY

SINGAPORE - The woman who accused PAP new face 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 in 2018. Mr Huang was the NDP parade commander that year.

Mr Huang, 37, in the first of two detailed Facebook posts on Sunday (June 28), rebutted the accusations, and gave a detailed account of what happened in 2018.

In a separate post on Sunday, he also addressed questions about his surname, which people have been curious about, he said.

Referring to the NDP incident, Mr Huang, who last Friday was unveiled as a People's Action Party candidate, said he was able to deduce that the person making the allegations was a Warrant Officer (WO) in charge of the NDP logistic control group in 2018.

Giving his account of what happened in that 2018 incident, Mr Huang said he had approached the group to ask for lunch during a rehearsal at the Marina Bay floating platform after he realised his group did not have any lunch catered.

His group, he realised, did not have any lunch catered for them. The logistics control group would usually have some rations to spare, he thought, which might otherwise get wasted.

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 (of) 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 that appeared to have been left for him.

He said: "I told the WO that I no longer needed the ration and politely passed the ration back. This was witnessed by Encik Azmi, WO (Special Functions) and CWO Ng Siak Peng."

He added: "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."

In his post, 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 later posted again on Facebook to say that she may have overreacted and was too harsh in her assessment of Mr Huang.

Later on Sunday, Mr Huang put up a second post on Facebook to discuss 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. A good question, and I will answer it fully."

Mr Huang said his family name was always Huang, and that was true even when his great-grandfather emigrated to Indonesia.

In 1966, his 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.

It was when he had to apply for an identity card in Primary 6 that he was told he could not use his changed name, and had to stick to the one in his birth certificate. He said: "We were an ordinary family, and assumed that this was true, so I reverted to Ingkiriwang.

Mr Huang said he looked into the issue again recently. He found that what he was told before 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."

Mr Huang 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, a PAP new face, 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.

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