Yam Ah Mee - Returning Officer Extraordinaire

Yam Ah Mee - Returning Officer Extraordinaire

Updated Aug 11, 2015 at 02:21AM EDT by Brad.

Added May 09, 2011 at 08:00AM EDT by augustine28.

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Yam Ah Mee (Returning Officer Extraordinaire) is a Singaporean electoral official who became an internet celebrity following his memorable appearance on live TV to announce the results of Singapore's General Elections held in May 2011. Due to the strong presence of opposition candidates in this election, millions of Singaporean citizens tuned in to the announcement. However, as Yam Ah Mee began to pronounce his prepared report, many viewers became captivated by his monotonous manner of speech.


Yam Ah Mee is the Returning Officer (RO) for Singapore's 2011 election and the chief executive director of People's Association, a statutory board leading efforts to promote racial harmony and social cohesion in Singapore. Mr Yam Ah Mee had served in the Republic of Singapore Air Force and held a rank of Brigadier General

On May 8th, 2011, Mr. Yam appeared before the Singaporean press corp to announce the electorate winners. While it was a critical moment in the nation's closely contested race, many viewers at home became fixated with Mr.Yam's monotonous speech and indifferent expression, particularly on a legal clause that was repeated over 26 times:

“Pursuant to Section 49, Sub-Section 7E, Paragraph A of the Parliamentary Elections Act…”

Some of the other memorable lines from his speech included mispronunciations of Workers' Party candidate "Sylvia Lim" into "Silver Lim" and Minister of Education Masagos Zulkifli into "Masagos Chukifree." Even the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong name wasn't spared, which Mr. Yam pronounced as "Lee Hsien Loon."

Viral Remix

On the same night, YouTuber FallenSuperheroSG posted a "Club Remix" version[1] based on the broadcast footage of Mr. Yam's announcement. Within 24 hours of debut, the video gained over 100,000 views.


On Sunday night, "Yah Ah Mee" was the fifth most searched Google keyword[2] in Singapore and the second most searched[3] on the following Monday.

The Singaporean news media[4] instantly picked up on the buzz, further establishing Mr. Yam as the unlikely star to emerge out of the 2011 general elections. Upon gaining his internet fame, Mr. Yam Ah Mee released a statement[5] on his newly established celebrity status explaining that his robotic voice was caused by an operation he had undergone to "remove a fishbone in his larynx."

YAM THE MAN: Mr Yam Ah Mee (above) strutted down a catwalk at Paya Lebar station last year as part of the Circle Line's open house; (right) Mr Yam was the Returning Officer at the just-concluded General Election. (PHOTOS: JAMIE KOH, THE STRAITS TIMES) RO Yam 'surprised by the overnight attention' view, he gave the press a brief ceived."He did not answer my reported yesterday that a Face- statement via his assistant direc papers question as to whether book fan page called "Yam Ah tor at PA BY JEcOLIA TONG the tenor of his voice was a re Mee, Returning Officer Extraor- SINGAPOREANS hung on to "As the Returning Officer sult of a voice-box operation. dinaire had garnered close to (RO), my role is to ensure the His unexpected stardom has 30,000 "likes. It has since hit every word he uttered last Satur conduct of the election proceed alo sparked an entrepreneurial 37,900 as of 10pm last night he delivered live the election re- sults in a neutral tone and with a deadpan expression and be- came an overnight star fervour Aside from various efore this I had some tial manner, and uphold the Civ- YouTube clips and remixs of 1,200 friends on my own Face- il Service core values of integri his delivery, unofficial Yam Ah book page which is a platform Mee merchandise is now on for me to connect with my local ings in a professional and impar fervour. Aside from variou:s ty, service and excellence. jected on national television, Mr Flooded with questions sale. Facebook user Xylvie and foreign friends," he said in tive director of People's Associa- den rise to fame, he responded mugs and badges priced be- A check of his Facebook pro- media about his fame last night role as RO to the best of my abili- Not surprisingly, Mr Yam that he has already made more True to his dutiful image pro- Yam Ah Mee, 53, the chief execu- about his thoughts on his sud Huang Xinying is selling shirts, the statement. tion (PA), finally "spoke" to the humbly: "I was carrying out my tween $2.90 and $27.90 file at 10pm last night showed than 2,370 friends Well, not exactly. Despit nu ty and I am surprised by the has been inundated with Face t merous requests for an inter overnight attention that I re- book friend requests. my paper jtong@sph.com.sg Lianhe Wanbao 粉丝 心疼 爱上选举官 鉅媒体在本届大选得到充分发挥, 有网民对选举结果有怠 人物 杨荣文败选 民效 岡有舍 有也不 联合 見實声

A misspelled Facebook page[6] titled "Yah Ah Mee, Returning Officer Extraordinaire" was also launched, gaining more than 30,000 likes within the first day and spawning a number of photoshopped tributes.

Notable Examples

無 毒 質| YAM AH MEE MEDICATED PERSON OF THE YDAR Yah Ah Mee Returning Officer Extraordinaire How the man who announce the election results captured the heart of a nation ER AHMEE P a FLAVOUR PERISA BgQ

urma mania PhotoFunia

Many users commented on his stern "Poker Face" expression, joking that they would avoid playing poker with Mr. Yam at all cost, while others suggested that he should run for the presidential election, or become the "news anchor every evening, for good calming effect."

Yam Ah Mee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzzYzqKNJRw&feature-player-em bedded Yam Ah Mee Club Mix www.youtube.com Pursuant to Section 49, Sub-Section 7E Paragraph A of the Parliamentary Elections Act." For our foreign listeners. This is just a spoof of what was heard o... 18 hours ago Share Cai Jiali Kelly and 207 others like this. View all 16 comments Valerie Ng LOLLL! 15 hours ago Yam Ah Mee Yam Ah Mee Dubstep www.youtube.conm Lyrical skill 18 hours ago Share 73 people like this. View all 6 comments Wei Khai AHHHH. 18 hours ago Nazifah Amirah Great song!!!! 17 hours ago


Aftermath of meme

Mr. Yam himself was fully aware of the meme, even taking time to thank fans[7] for their support on Facebook.

On May 13, 2011, Mr. Yam posted a spoof video of himself on YouTube, using the same expressionless demeanor to invite fans to join him for the PAssion Movie Night on May 21, 2011 at East Coast Park in Singapore.

On May 21, 2011, Mr. Yam was at the 100 Plus PAssion Run, a marathon co-organized by the People's Association and beverage brand 100 Plus. There, Mr. Yam took to the microphone, reading out a modified version of the legal clause to spur on the runners. His move was met with applause and laughter from the crowd.

Right after the run, Mr. Yam attended the swearing-in ceremony of members of the Cabinet of Singapore, before making his way to the PAssion Movie Night to watch Shrek Forever.

3 days later, he posted a video containing a montage of scenes from the PAssion Movie Night on his official YouTube channel.

Mr. Yam was featured on local news programmes online and on TV the following day.

On May 25, 2011, Mr. Yam posted another video of himself, this time dancing to the original soundtrack of Korean drama Dream High. This video was uploaded to invite members of the public and fans to join him at the People's Association Ngee Ann City Line Dance Fiesta at Ngee Ann City on May 29, 2011.

On June 1, 2011, Mr. Yam was at the Pre-University Seminar as a guest speaker for a panel discussion at Lecture Theatre 26 at the National University of Singapore.

There, he parodied himself reading the election results yet again.

"Pursuant to section 3, subsection 1B, paragraph A of the Pre U Seminar booklet, I declare every participant here this morning – indeed, you're wonderful."

In May 2012, a by-election for the electoral division of Hougang, a single-member constituency in the northeastern region of Singapore, was called, after incumbent Member-of-Parliament Yaw Shin Leong was sacked by the Workers' Party for failing to come clean over allegations of extramarital affairs.

Mr. Yam was the Returning Officer for the by-election, and announced the candidates on Nomination Day, with Png Eng Huat of the Workers' Party and Desmond Choo Pey Ching of the Peoples' Action Party the as eligible candidates.

On 27 May, 2012, Mr. Yam announced the results for the Hougang by-election, with Png Eng Huat of the Workers' Party as the candidate elected.

On the same day, Fallen Superhero made a club remix in quick succession, with videos consisting of his announcements at the 2011 general and presidential elections, and the 2012 Hougang by-election.

External References

[1] YouTube – Yam Ah Mee Club Mix

[2] Google Trends – Hot Searches: May 8th, 2011 (Singapore only)

fn3 Google Trends – Hot Searches: May 9th, 2011 (Singapore only)

[4] The Straits Times – Yam Ah Mee: GE's new Internet star

[5] AsiaOne – Mr Yam's monotonous voice is result of throat surgery

[6] Facebook – Yah Ah Mee, Returning Officer Extraordinaire

[7] Facebook – Yam Ah Mee thanking fans for their interest

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