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How to apologise to the Nation of Singapore

A Member of Parliament was caught fidgeting with her mobile phone on ‘Live’ TV during National Day when the National Anthem was being played.

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The MP, Ms Penny Low, she apologised to the Nation but her apology fall short of forgiveness from most Singaporeans.

Wrote Yahoo Blog,

"I was so caught up in the wonderful NDP 2011 and felt so proud of being a Singaporean that I wanted to capture that moment of pride at the very tail end of the anthem, to share on Facebook with my residents," she said.

"If in my enthusiasm I offended anyone, please accept my apologies," she said. "NDP is a time to unite, not divide. Majulah Singapura!"

Singaporeans online have found it hard to accept her apology.

In her apology, Ms Penny Low asked offended Singaporeans to forgive her enthusiasm and not for her actions.

A student fidgeting with his mobile phone during assembly when the National Anthem is played will have to spend a few hours explaining to the discipline master. Would the discipline master accept the student’s excuse if he said he was sharing his enthusiasm with his friends on Facebook?

Her last sentence hinted that the arrows fired at her were from Singaporeans, the 40% that didn’t vote for the current ruling party with the main purpose of finding fault with them. Wrong, Singaporeans are united in insisting that respect must be shown to flag and country when the National Anthem is being played.

An Army Officer caught by the RSM fidgeting with his mobile phone at the parade square when the National Anthem is played will have to sign up for a few extra duties.  Can the Army Office tell the RSM that the punishment would only divide the camp?

Consider the 3Rs (Remorse, Reason and Remedy) of crisis communication, Ms Penny Low should have apologised immediately for her act of fidgeting with her mobile when the nation anthem.

It would also be best for Ms Penny Low to skip the reasoning and remedy parts as less is more in this case.

If I was the communications person for Ms Penny Low, the apology would appear this way.

“I sincerely apologised for fidgeting with my mobile phone when the National Anthem was being played. It was wrong for me to be distracted when I should have stood at attention to show respect to the flag and the anthem. “

Keep It Simple and Short.

If  remedy is needed, my recommendation for Ms Penny Low is to attend the flag raising and lowering sessions at the various schools in the Pasir Ris – Punggol GRC for the remaining month of August.


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