Shanmugam describes Sonny Liew as a 'good cartoonist'
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam described Mr Sonny Liew as a "good cartoonist" and a "talent" in a Facebook post yesterday, and said he understood why Mr Liew was unhappy.
Mr Shanmugam had spent close to six hours last Thursday grilling Dr Thum Ping Tjin on his work on Singapore history, such as Operation Coldstore in 1963, as part of the Select Committee hearings on deliberate online falsehoods.
The minister wrote in his post: "I can see that Sonny Liew is not happy with what happened with PJ (Dr Thum). It is quite understandable. Based on what he says, he and PJ are quite close; they work together in a venture."
Last Friday, Mr Liew, who won three Eisner awards for his graphic novel, The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, posted a cartoon on the website New Naratif titled Select Committee on One Tight Slaps.
Mr Liew is part of the team at New Naratif and Dr Thum, a research fellow at Oxford University in Britain, is listed as its managing director.
Early yesterday morning, Mr Liew put up an illustration of Mr Shanmugam on Facebook along with an 800-word post.
It featured the minister dressed in white standing behind a black dog with a lightning mark on its chest.
Giving his take on last week's exchange between Mr Shanmugam and Dr Thum, Mr Liew wrote: "What transpired during the six-hour hearing though was a kind of darkness I'd not quite seen before in Singapore with my own eyes."
Mr Shanmugam, whose Facebook post yesterday was published after Mr Liew's, noted that the cartoonist is "quite close" to Dr Thum and that his award-winning book is also "based on" Dr Thum's version of history.
"I have not met Sonny, but I have to say he is a good cartoonist," said Mr Shanmugam.
"He is a talent."
Mr Liew, in turn, posted a comment saying that while his book references Dr Thum's writings, it is "also based on a wider range of reading and consultation with texts and interviews".
When contacted by TNP, Mr Liew said he had nothing further to add on this issue beyond his original post and reply to the minister on Facebook.