Woman at Thaipusam incident: TRS report was 'all nonsense'
Woman testifies that its report on Thaipusam incident was different from version of events she had e-mailed The Real Singapore website
She was unhappy at the way police officers behaved at last year's Thaipusam procession.
So Ms Gowri Yanaseckaran, 32, shared what happened with the editorial team of socio-political website The Real Singapore (TRS), only for the article to appear in a version that differed from her account.
It included a claim, attributed to her, that the incident was sparked by a Filipino family with a young child who was crying because of "noise" created by the musical instruments.
Yesterday, Ms Gowri, a nurse, testified in a statement tendered to the court as evidence that the TRS article was different from her version of events that she had e-mailed TRS.
She also said that she shared an article from another socio-political website The Online Citizen on her Facebook page, using the alias "Ri Nitesha", and called the TRS article "cooked up" and "all nonsense".
Last April, former TRS chief editor Ai Takagi and her husband, Yang Kaiheng, were charged with doctoring and posting that allegedly seditious article, along with five other inflammatory articles and a Facebook post.
Takagi, 23, an Australian national of Japanese descent who is nine weeks pregnant, was jailed for 10 months last week after pleading guilty to four counts of sedition.
Yang, 27, a Singaporean, has claimed trial. (See report above.)
Yesterday, Ms Gowri testified that she was at last February's Thaipusam procession to support her fiancé, who was carrying a kavadi.
During the procession, she saw a group of plainclothes police officers ordering a group of musicians to stop playing their instruments before a tussle broke out.
Uniformed police officers later arrived and cordoned off the area.
Attaching a video of the incident, Ms Gowri wrote to TRS using her online alias and was shocked by the published TRS report.
"I was surprised when I read that... There was no such complaint by a (Filipino) family... I was surprised as I had made no mention of any complaint... in my e-mail to TRS," she told the police.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Chan Wai Hoong, who was on duty that day, testified that he had ordered his officers to advise the musicians to stop playing the instruments because of a ban on live music, which has since been lifted.
There was no complaint from any Filipino family, he said.
Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan wrapped up the re-examination of investigating officer Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Roy Lim.
He revisited the chat logs of Skype account "able_tree", which was shared by Yang and Takagi, seeking to prove that Yang was dealing with web developers and was involved in maintaining the TRS website.
DPP Kannan pointed out that one of the users of "able_tree" had often used Singlish phrases and Hokkien vulgarities. (See report on right.)
For example, "able_tree" told a web developer: "Eh fix my recommendation box on homepage."
When the web developer replied that he had not done anything to disrupt the site, "able_tree" replied: "Not accusing you la. Chill bro."
The prosecution called eight witnesses to the stand so far.
The trial continues today, with Takagi expected to take the stand.
If convicted, Yang can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to three years for each sedition charge.
SINGLISH IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Hokkien vulgarities and Singlish have taken centre stage during Yang Kaiheng's trial.
Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor G. Kannan presented to the court a list of Singlish phrases and Hokkien vulgarities that were used by Skype user "able_tree" in the prosecution's case that it was Yang who was using the account to communicate with web developer Damien Koh.
Here are some phrases:
- meh (meaning "is it?"; appeared at least three times)
- liao (meaning "already"; appeared at least three times)
- lor (an expression used to indicate dismay; appeared at least three times)
- zai (meaning "steady"; appeared at least three times)
- sia (another expression usually used at the end of the sentence for emphasis; appeared at least three times)
- sian (meaning "bored"; appeared at least once)
- Various Hokkien vulgarities that appeared at least six times.
Last month, Yang Kaiheng, 27, claimed trial to seven counts of sedition. An eighth charge of failing to produce documents to the police for investigations has been stood down.
The sedition charges are:
- An article falsely asserting that a Filipino family caused an incident between the police and participants in last year's Thaipusam procession.
- A Facebook post with similar content.
- An article alleging that a Filipino employee had bribed a colleague to delete traces of his misdeeds to ensure that only his countrymen were hired by the company.
- An article that "casts PRC women as home-wreckers whose main motive was 'trying to hook' Singaporean men" .
- An article that had an editor's note warning companies about hiring foreigners over Singaporeans.
- An article that claimed Filipino managers working here would give preferential treatment to subordinates of the same nationality at the expense of Singaporeans.
- Copied an article from the website Stomp, doctored it to say that a woman was a Chinese national who allegedly had an accent, and posted it on TRS.