Resident Says Tampines HDB Aeroplane Chess Painting Disrespectful to War Victims; MP Baey Disagrees

The newest design of Tampines N4 Neighbourhood Centre has raised a single eyebrow.

It looks innocent enough at the first few thousand glances: a nostalgic depiction of the classic childhood game of Aeroplane Chess.

Image: Facebook (@Baey Yam Keng)

The four-colour scheme of the game, which was inspired by Ludo, and its iconic aeroplanes are all immediately recognisable.

Complaint Alleges Tampines Aeroplane Chess Design Insensitive

But actually, it is a lot more sinister than you think. According to one complainer, this is in “poor taste” as it depicts “four missiles on target” or “dropped bombs targetting the block.”


Wah, I think we found our gold medalist for the Mental Gymnastics category this year. Congratulations!

This dissenting resident elaborated by saying that the drawings of “fighter jets…targetting residents” being approved concerned them.

They doled out the Russo-Ukrainian War, the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, the Myanmar Civil War, and Singapore’s history in World War II as examples of costly wars.

Image: Facebook (@Baey Yam Keng)

“To even have the slightest resemblance of missiles or bombs is uncalled for.”

It seems like I, alongside everyone who played the game as a kid, forgot the part in Aeroplane Chess where you have to bomb civilians and commit war crimes. Our bad.

Tampines MP Refuses to Remove Aeroplane Chess Painting

Tampines MP Baey Yam Keng actually took the time to seriously discuss the complaint with residents.

Ultimately he stuck with the town council’s decision to stay with the design.

In fact, the design was voted in by residents in the area in 2023. Two of the three designs featured the aeroplane chess board, and they received 81% of the vote.

Image: Facebook (@Baey Yam Keng)

The designs received much praise online at the time as well.

MP Baey said that the resident did not vote as he didn’t even live in the area.

Hopefully, Sir Kaypoh over here will finally understand the decision, if they aren’t too busy being concerned about the RSAF’s insensitivity towards the victims of World War II (they have a lot of airplanes).

A much more appropriate concern about the painting came from an actual resident in the Tampines N4 Neighbourhood Centre.

As part of the Aeroplane Chess theming, the Tampines N4 blocks are each painted in either blue, red, yellow, or green.

A resident of a unit facing a red wall ended up with an annoying glaring red reflection cast through their windows.

Image: Facebook (@Baey Yam Keng)

Presumably, it’s the blood from all those killed by Aeroplane Chess. Rest in peace.

Another block’s residents faced the same problem but with a green wall instead. As a result, the walls have been repainted in white, with the side beams keeping the colour scheme instead.

The complaint about the painting comes soon after another local building’s mural came under fierce scrutiny and debate.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) ordered changes of a Chinatown mural depicting a samsui woman smoking a cigarette.

Image: Instagram (@seanpduston)

They cited Singapore’s anti-smoking policy and feedback from a member of the public who said the mural was offensive and that the woman looked more like a “prostitute”.

This better not be the same kaypoh guy, I swear to God.

While anti-smoking policies are great, it does seem unlikely anyone would be motivated to run to the nearest Sheng Siong and start chainsmoking because they saw this mural. It is not an endorsement of smoking, but rather a non-sanitised version of the “clean” history we’re usually taught.

Following public outcry, the URA decided to re-evaluate their stance.

You can watch a video of the uproar here:

These two situations only really prove that Singapore’s national pastime is complaining and that not all of the complaints are worth listening to.

Of course, complaining can be a powerful tool to push against an unpopular thing. It can also be used to say women who smoke look like sex workers or that Aeroplane Chess is disrespectful to Palestine.

It’s also good to see MP Baey not folding to the demands of an obviously bad-faith actor.

Maybe we should remove the Merlion next month since it’s offensive to all those who have been eaten by lion mermaids in history.

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