After SPH CEO’s meltdown, Singapore can’t stop, won’t stop using the word ‘umbrage’

Umbrage t-shirt on sale on Lazada, at left, and ‘umbrage’ added to Ng Yat Chung’s Wikipedia profile, at right.
Umbrage t-shirt on sale on Lazada, at left, and ‘umbrage’ added to Ng Yat Chung’s Wikipedia profile, at right.

From ads to memes and witty social media captions, usage of the word “umbrage” had a major boost among Singaporeans on the internet following the meltdown of Singapore Press Holdings CEO Ng Yat Chung after he got butthurt over a reporter’s question — and we’re totally here for it. 

SPH unloads failing media businesses into nonprofit

Many Singaporeans have never even heard of the word until it got a mention at the company’s press conference announcing that it was hiving off its failing media assets into a nonprofit entity, drawing further doubts over the company’s editorial independence considering that it is already famously known for being government-friendly. Not only were Singaporeans surprised at the display of arrogance by the former military man Ng, and how he had taken offense (or umbrage) at a fair question, him bringing back a word that was trendy in the 1800s tickled so many of us that we just can’t stop and won’t stop using it in everything. Someone even added the word as Ng’s surname on his Wikipedia page before it got removed.

‘Ng Yat Chung, Umbrage’ written on SPH CEO’s Wikipedia page.
‘Ng Yat Chung, Umbrage’ written on SPH CEO’s Wikipedia page.

Here’s a list of umbrage-licious content you may have missed.:

The memes

Singapore’s very own meme-generator was among the first to get the umbrage meme ball rolling on the internet by taking a jab at the spike in Google searches for the word “umbrage.”

Social media joker Yeolo roped in fellow ex-army general turn minister Chan Chun Sing for his meme. Who knows, maybe taking umbrage and pointing fingers at others are just traits of a Singapore soldier. 

Screenshot from Umbrage Singapore Facebook group.
Screenshot from Umbrage Singapore Facebook group.

Believe it or not, the word even spawned a new Facebook group called “Umbrage Singapore,” where a user posted a meme mocking the word for reminding us of an “umbrella” for some reason. 

The ads

Travel booking site Klook had no qualms about jumping on the trending word to promote a place for people to unleash their rage. The company shared a listing for The Fragment Room’s Rage Room Experience, where angry people go to smash things, saying: “Took umbrage with something someone said at work? Un-rage and go Beast Mode here instead.”

Perhaps Ng might want to go for that.


Even Liqui Moly tried promoting their engine oil via an umbrage meme, saying: “Taking umbrage when someone comments on the poor performance of your vehicle? It’s time to switch to Liqui Moly oils and additives…”

If you ever clashed with someone on the road, guess it’s also a good chance to use the word!

Or you could also use it on days when you’re hangry, according to dim sum chain Tim Ho Wan. In an online post promoting its Baked BBQ Pork Buns, it said: “Feeling UMBRAGE from hunger? Our signature Baked BBQ Pork Buns are bound to satiate any hungry appetite.”

The merch

Can’t get enough of “umbrage”? You can now wear it or carry it with you too.

'Umbrage' merch on Lazada.
“Umbrage” merch on Lazada.
'Umbrage' merch on Lazada.
“Umbrage” merch on Lazada.

Other stories:

SPH unloads failing media businesses into nonprofit

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