A Singapore company that offers training in public speaking has the public in Singapore talking today—but not about its services.
Instead, people are talking about Speech Academy Asia's decision to have men in clown makeup loiter outside of primary schools, and even (according to reports in The Straits Times and Mothership) talk to children, asking them for personal information such as their phone numbers. Some reports even claim the clowns offered children money to follow them, although a spokesman for the company has denied this.
Parents and school staff at the several schools that were targeted were understandably upset, according to The Straits Times. Pictures of the event were circulated widely, including by Singapore politician Tan Chaun-Jin (whose post is also the source of the photo above).
The Straits Times reported that the clowns had been sent by Speech Academy Asia, and quoted its director, Kelvin Tan, who apologised on behalf of the company and reported that the activity had been halted.
Singapore Police at one point issued a warning to at least one school, which stated that, according to some reports, the clowns had asked children to follow them. Speech Academy Asia's Tan denied that the clowns approached children or asked them to follow, according to The Straits Times.
A version of this article first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific.