S’poreans Take Umbrage at SPH CEO’s “Boorish Behaviour”; Over 9,000 Sign Petition to Fire Him

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By now, you would have surely heard of the term “umbrage”, and how enamoured the Singaporean public has become with it.

But lest you’re unaware of the term and its chim meaning, here’s a little note: it should not be confused with Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter universe.

(Though in hindsight, one could argue that Umbridge is very likely to use the term herself.)

For the record, the word itself means offence or annoyance, and when one “takes umbrage”, it means they resent something you said, as they perceive it to be a slight or insult.

And though it’s hardly considered a very common word, it shot up to prominence when it was utilised by none other than the CEO of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) himself, Mr Ng Yat Chung.

And in true Singaporean culture, the general public has taken to this new fancy word like a moth to a flame. From memes and printed shirts and bags, Singaporeans have now learned how to use this very word against Mr Ng.

S’poreans Take Umbrage at SPH CEO’s “Boorish Behaviour”; Over 9,000 Sign Petition to Fire Him

The term “umbrage” may have become the hottest trend nowadays, what with numerous individuals using it (jokingly) on a near daily basis.

But it seems that some have seen past the trend and into the severity of the situation, and decided that enough is enough.

According to MustShareNewsa Change.org petition has emerged a mere day after SPH’s life-changing press conference.

It’s pretty self-explanatory too, considering how it boasts the caption: “Singaporeans take umbrage at SPH CEO’s boorish behaviour, demand his sacking”.

Nothing hurts more than when your own weapon is used against you.

Apparently, the petition is calling Mr Ng out for his unbecoming behaviour during the press conference. It also accuses him of being undeserving of his position, and demands his dismissal.

As of the time of writing, over 9,900 individuals have signed the petition. And with the way the numbers continue to climb, the petition is expected to hit its target of 10,000 signatures by today.

Netizens seem to be of the consensus that Mr Ng had behaved inappropriately during the press conference, and that he should have practiced more consideration with his words.

Concerned about the state of things and the future of SPH, they ended up putting “pen to paper”.


According to news reports, Mr Ng has since apologised for his actions.


The statement was situated at the end of a related news article.

“I had stood up for SPH Media’s long-cherished editorial integrity and will continue to do so,” he said.

“Being a direct and blunt-speaking person, I apologise for any offence I might have caused and regret any distraction from the merits of the proposed restructuring.”

Press Conference

On 6 May 2021, SPH announced its plans to transfer its media business to a non-profit entity in a press conference.

Present at the press conference was SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung, whose feathers seemed to be ruffled by one reporter’s question.

When asked how SPH’s new media entity will preserve its editorial independence, Ng said: “Honestly, I take umbrage at your first question.”

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He used the same term shortly after:

“For SPH, we have always had advertising and we have never, never conceded to the needs of advertisers… The fact that you dare to question [the editorial independence of] SPH titles… I take umbrage at that comment.”

Naturally, instead of talking about the decline of print media, netizens grew enamoured with the word “umbrage” and started using it sardonically online.


Even Klook joined in on the fun.

“Took umbrage with something someone said at work? Un-rage and go Beast Mode here instead,” the booking platform wrote.

It looks like Mr Ng has made Ris Low proud after all.

Feature Image: Youtube (Dy Suna)

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