DBS quoting German communist Friedrich Engels for IWD raises eyebrows

DBS' recent print ad on the Saturday edition of The Straits Times’ Life! has raised some eyebrows as to why a bank is seen quoting communist philosopher Friedrich Engels. The quote on the ad, in line with its International Women's Day activation, read “The emancipation of women will only be possible when women can take part in production on a large, social scale.”

The quote was flagged out on social media and shared by netizens over 400 times at the time of writing. The original post was made by the author of The Naysayer's Book Club Simon Vincent, who pointed out the irony that “DBS, one of Singapore's biggest agents of capital” has quoted a  communist revolutionary and co-author of The Communist Manifesto.

His post added, "I've always had the impression that the quotes are picked, without context or knowledge of the writers' works, for their feel-good factor. Now, I'm sure of it." Netizens who shared his post also largely echoed the sentiment. 

DBS Life quote

Speaking to Marketing, a DBS spokesperson clarified that the series of quotes in the ST Life! section this month were curated to reflect a belief in the importance of gender equality in lieu of the month-long International Women’s Day initiative.

In addition, the spokesperson said the quotes in the Life! section do not represent the support of any particular ideologies. DBS declined to comment any further on the context and choice behind the quote.

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Most recently, DBS Bank has been championing towards addressing Asia's evolving social needs. Through DBS Foundation, the bank recently called for social enterprises across the region to apply for grants to scale their business and build business resilience in today’s challenging business environment. To weather the uncertainties and challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank looks to provide holistic support for SMEs. 

In addition, as part of the bank’s collective efforts to support individuals, businesses and communities impacted by the COVID-19 situation, DBS has been collaborating with DBS Foundation-supported social enterprises to distribute healthy snacks, coffee and gelato to 25,000 healthcare professionals in Singapore. The bank joins the likes of several other companies expressing gratitude to medical staff who are toiling hard amidst the uncertain virus outbreak. Burger King Singapore recently gave away free burgers to the medical staff at National University Hospital through its branch at Kent Ridge Centre. In view of the challenging times given the COVID-19 situation, Burger King Singapore said it aims to to thank medical staff, and boost the morale for the individuals caring for the nation at its time of need.

Meanwhile, ride-hailing company Grab introduced GrabCare- a dedicated, round-the-clock, on-demand service to enable healthcare workers to travel to and from hospitals. Similarly, Far East Organisation said in a CNA article that it will provide 200 packets of food to NUH and Tan Tock Seng Hospital each day from 24 February to 28 February, as a gesture of appreciation for the hospital workers.

In addition, ad agency 72andSunny Singapore launched a series of pin badges in support of healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak. The badges were designed and produced pro bono, and the messages include “Majulah Medics”, “Nurses are the Nicest”, and “Tok Kong Doctors”. The badges carry images of face masks turned into heart-shaped icons, and also comes in the form of physical and digital stickers.

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