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GE2020: PAP MP Jessica Tan Apologises — “I didn’t realise she was referring to her tudung”

With Polling Day just around the corner, Singapore has seen no shortage of drama involving unfortunate electoral candidates who have fallen victim to election pressures, or whose mistakes of the past have come back to haunt them.

East Coast GRC’s Jessica Tan has already been in the spotlight once for a far-from-ideal reason—wearing her mask upside down on nomination day. This time, she’s once again in hot soup, albeit on different grounds.

“No need la, pretty already!”


Allegedly, Tan had spoken to a lady from a Malay Muslim household. After the conversation, the lady declined a photograph as she was not wearing her headscarf, to which Tan replied, “no need la, pretty already!”


Twitter user Haliza was not having any of it, and took to twitter to air her grievances about the matter.

Jessica Tan responds


Credit – Haliza

Tan has sent a private message to Haliza, explaining that she had been mistaken, and that she “didn’t realise that [Haliza’s mother] was referring to her tudung”.

It’s about racial sensitivity and consent

Her response, however, didn’t seem to suffice. Haliza has shared her reply to Tan publicly for full transparency in this public conversation.


The TL;DR of Haliza’s response was that the issue was centred more around the matters of consent and racial sensitivity.

“No means no,” wrote Haliza. “Is saying ‘pretty already la’ supposed persuade a woman to take a picture?”

Haliza also added that especially after serving as an MP for three terms, Tan should be more than well-versed in matters of social cohesion. She hopes that Tan will display a higher level of sensitivity towards such matters moving forward.

Below is the full response from Haliza.

Credit – Haliza

Credit – Haliza

Credit – Haliza

The internet reacts


Twitter user Ben Chia pointed out that Tan never actually included the words “sorry” in her so-called apology.


— Na’im (@Naim_broke) July 8, 2020

Other users agree that there is no excuse for an MP to be unaware of the needs, values, and beliefs of her residents.


Others took the opportunity to share their own negative experiences.


“Something that is seemingly a basic understanding of differences in culture is considered an ‘oversight’,” wrote user Shafique.


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Vera Leng

Why do we call them toppings if they sink to the bottom?

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