It’s official: Singapore netizens could not get enough of Mr Baey Yam Keng. The MP for Tampines GRC was the subject matter of the group’s latest meme art series, turning him from a man merely posing after a run into the iconic merlion, a splitting Jean-Claude Van Damme wannabe and even a caped superhero.
While it is hard to ascertain who truly started the trend going, credit has to go to the SGAG team for expanding Mr Baey’s meme portfolio. The page’s admins provided a photoshopped version of the politician’s original image on March 2, encouraging followers to contribute their own memes.
One of SGAG’s posts, a small compilation of the whimsical artworks, has received more than 1,060 ‘likes’ and 115 shares.
“It was a surprise for me and I did not expect it. But I see it as something that is ‘for fun’; there is nothing malicious about it,” Mr Baey told Vulcan Post. “I’m quite cool about it and I think some of the responses by netizens were quite funny!”
Mr Baey picked the caped photo of himself as his favourite meme, adding that it helps him realise his “childhood dream to be Superman”.
In the local context, Mr Baey is not the first politician in Singapore to be meme-fied by online users. There are not-so-pretty and explicit versions of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Lee Hsien Loong, both of which have spread the rounds in the cyber space for quite some time (sorry, no picture links as examples!). Outside the political line-up, screenshots or photos of TV personalities have also been converted into a meme – just ask Mark Lee about this.
Nonetheless, the manner in which netizens have embraced the current trend is interesting. Like any other public figures, Mr Baey is not free from digital controversy, what more scrutiny. The latest virtual ribbing around him is perhaps proof that the way he carries his personality online has paid off. Others may argue that local netizens are now more wary of threading on ill will, in light of the recently enhanced anti-harassment law.
If you take a
walk scroll down his timeline, you would notice how his posts are made of a fair share of seriousness and comedy. It also offers a chance for the avid runner to post sneak peeks into life as a father, social media native and above all, a regular human being.
“To add, I am happy that this help to present a different side of politicians that we are not boring and serious all the time. We can laugh at ourselves too. If this can attract people’s interest in what we do in the community, both raising awareness and even volunteering to help, that’s a bonus,” Mr Baey added.
As public figures open up to social media and anyone else with a smartphone becomes a potential paparazzi, we at Vulcan Post hope no one has to suffer the same fate as the unfortunate … Scarlett Johansson. Eek..!