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Thursday, Mar 16, 2017
Thai actress and model Sutatta Udomsilp loved Indonesia's Bandung so much that she decided to send a message to the city's mayor.
But Bandung mayor Ridwan Kamil has come under heavy fire for his reply, when he implied that the actress may not be a woman.
Udomsilp was photographed holding up a slip of paper that read "I love Bandung", and addressed to "Kang Emil", which is the mayor's nickname.
Mr Ridwan reposted the photograph on his own Instagram account. But instead of reciprocating the kind message, he instead wrote: "Received a greeting from this Thai artiste. Hope she is not a man."
Although he has since replaced the caption by thanking Udomsilp and apologising, his original message received heavy criticism from netizens.
Journalist Yenni Kwok wrote on Twitter that the message had been sexist, racist and transphobic, with many others tweeting similar sentiments.
However, there were also many users who pointed out that Mr Ridwan's message was meant to be taken as a joke.
Mr Ridwan is an award-winning architect and urban designer, and has been highly praised for his work in transforming Bandung, The Star reported. On his Twitter account, he describes himself as "the caretaker of lovable Bandung".
However, he had previously stated his belief that people should not promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights on social media.
He told Indonesian publication Tempo: "To me, what people do in private is not a problem. It only becomes a problem when such private matters, which is not the norm is publicised. If there are such publications, then I will try to block it."