Holland Village Samantha...Who? | Support 'Singlets, Shorts and Slippers' day" 09 April!!

Hearing this insensitive female called Samantha who claimed herself residing in Holland Village & making ridiculous statements against heartlanders is kind of making me recall this TV show called, "Samantha Who?". Perhaps it is a morbid wish that this Samantha too will one day develop retrograde amnesia--no, not necessary after a hit and run accident--and turn out to be a better person. To see the bright side, though, this Holland Village Samantha might be credited to bring more awareness of self-unity in Singapore (regardless whether you're heartlanders or Holland Villagers)...and more business to the place. Really! Just take a look at the incoming event on 9 April called "'Singlets, Shorts and Slippers' day". Organised by Gerald Tock, there would be 1,000 people expected to be in Holland Village wearing singlets, shorts, and slippers. Heh.

SHE branded HDB heartlanders an "uncultured" lot and called a radio talk show to ask them to keep away from her upmarket Holland Village neighbourhood.


Just look at the way heartlanders dress, she said on 91.3FM's The Married Men Show on Wednesday morning. Calling herself Samantha, she said: "They come in shorts and slippers and like, weird coloured hair. Yeah, and the heartlanders, people from like Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, Toa Payoh and like the nearby Bukit Batok... they come to our coffee shop, and dress like one kind, talk like one kind... "Very uncultured, and no manners... "Please stay where you are, I think you fit best there," she added.


And her brazen comments have upset netizens, many of whom have posted on The Married Men's Facebook page condemning her remarks.


One of them is even planning to hit back by asking people to go to Holland Village wearing only singlets, shorts and slippers - to make a statement. On Thursday, Mr Gerald Tock, 31, created an event on Facebook called "1,000 peeps to Holland V in Singlets, Shorts and Slippers Day".


The computer game developer hopes that people will go to Holland Village from 11am to 2pm on April 9, a Saturday, to eat, make friends, and take photographs of themselves doing so.


He told The New Paper that he chose that day to give people sufficient time to learn about the event. As of yesterday, almost 800 people have indicated on the Facebook page that they will be "attending". And it's no gimmick, he insisted.


Tongue-in-cheek, he said: "I'm not affiliated with Samantha, the (radio) station or any business selling singlets, shorts, slippers or coffee." Mr Tock said he bears no ill will towards Samantha, but was disturbed by her comments because they seemed to "promote barriers of culturedness". He said: "Samantha is entitled to her perspective, though it does display her tremendous ignorance."


When contacted, Married Men hosts Rod Monteiro and Andre Hoeden said they were so shocked by Samantha's comments that they could hardly contain themselves. Monteiro, 44, told The New Paper that his jaw dropped during the call. "To be honest, I find it absolutely strange. It's a bit snobbish. But, different strokes for different folks. "For me, it's one people, one nation, one Singapore. Holland Village is open to everybody." Hoeden, 35, said: "I was taken aback. Samantha has a right to her own opinion, but this doesn't mean that she is right." The third host, Jill Lim, had gasped several times on air after hearing Samantha's views.


Maddy, a listener who lives in Bedok, contacted the station in response to Samantha's call. She said that heartlanders work for their money and should be allowed to eat at Holland Village. To which Samantha had retorted: "Do you even earn enough to come to Holland to buy what we have, what we enjoy?"


After she went off the air, more than 10 callers went on air to criticise her remarks.


Swamped


The station's SMS service was swamped by comments. It crashed three times in the two hours after Samantha's call went on air, Monteiro said.


Similarly, online forums have been rife with comments condemning Samantha's views. At least 30 netizens have posted comments on The Married Men's Facebook page.


One, Mr Victor Khoo, 58, posted: "Her comments instigate and promote elitism, social class barriers, segregation (and) discrimination..." The well-known entertainer, who lives in the River Valley area, added: "Irresponsible citizens like Samantha, if left unchecked...can eventually destroy the social fabric of our society."


Freelance housing agent Serene Ng, 32, wrote in to citizen journalism website Stomp on Thursday about the incident. The Woodlands resident told TNP: "I've been to Holland Village, and it's no different from anywhere else. "Why is she (Samantha) making such comments? I find them ridiculous and unreasonable."


Mr Malcolm Choo, 30, who lives in a flat in Holland Village, felt Samantha's views were not representative of people living in the area. The IT engineer invites his friends - some of whom live in the HDB heartlands - to his estate for drinks and coffee. Mr Choo said: "You don't have to have culture to be here."


Samantha could not be reached as the station's phones do not have caller ID, Monteiro said. But she called the station again yesterday morning to admit that she had been "a bit insensitive". She said: "I was slightly insensitive to people who might be offended to what I said. "I'm not retracting. I just apologise (sic) for them (people who might be offended) feeling this way."


She explained that she was at the Starbucks outlet at Holland Village on Wednesday when she called the station. She said that the people sitting beside her at the time, who looked to her "like heartlanders", were "talking really loudly, with vulgarities all over the place". "That kind of ticked me off a bit," she said.


She stressed that she did not say she hated heartlanders and refused to give her full name or contact number.


Monteiro then asked Samantha if she was married , explaining that he was asking as most couples' first home is a flat in the heartlands. Her retort? "What makes you think I'm not a rich person?"


But what about Mr Tock's mission to get people to Holland Village on April 9? Would his well-intentioned statement about inclusion be seen as a unlawful assembly?


Statement


Said Mr Tock: "There is no common meeting point, programme or protest. The intent is to encourage people to get out there and help break the perceived barriers that may currently exist. "This event is just for people to make a statement."


When contacted, lawyer Luke Lee said: "I don't think he needs a police permit. "I don't see how people coming together to drink coffee and take photographs is breaking the law, so it's definitely not an unlawful assembly."


Samantha herself hinted she might even show up at the April 9 gathering. She said yesterday during her call to the radio show: "I would love to see who actually bothered to show up. "I might go in my shorts and slippers. (But) I won't reveal who I am."

From Asiaone, "'Singlets, Shorts and Slippers' day' at Holland Village".

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