Chow Chows dyed to look like pandas

From ‘Dyeing Chow Chows to look like pandas: Cute or cruel?’, 4 Feb 2016, article by Melissa Zhu, CNA

Panda Chow Chows has been up and running for only about a month, but the new business is already drawing both admiration and criticism online.  A Facebook post by owner Meng Jiang’s husband, Mr Anton Kreil, last Friday (Jan 29) was widely shared with pictures of the three Chow Chows dyed and groomed to look like pandas. The business centres around photo-shoots with the canines at the couple’s home.

By Thursday morning, the post had more than 400 comments, with most either gushing about how “adorable” or “cute” the dyed dogs were or condemning the practice as “disgusting” and “cruel”. 

…Her Chow Chows, she said, live in a 3,500 sq ft home in Sentosa, enjoy 20°C air-conditioning, are taken for walks twice a day and are fed the “best pet foods and supplements available on the market”.

Thanks to pet grooming entrepreneurs like Meng Jiang, now you no longer need to tussle with crowds to take a peek at Kai Kai and Jia Jia at River Safari. Dog-Pandas have been a thing for some time, particulary in China. One such owner claims the makeover does wonders for her sheepdog’s ‘self-confidence’. So not only do advocates of canine panda-ing spoil their pets silly with home ambient temperatures that cater to actual pandas in some Sentosa Villa, they are also dog whisperers who can read animal minds, like ‘Wow, master, great mascara job. All my dog life I’ve dreamt of looking like an endangered species!’ Maybe I should dress up my cat as Cai Shen Ye and ask these people whether they can tell if she’s having the time of her life or not, provided she doesn’t scratch my eyeballs out.

Panda dogs are just one of the bizarre mutations that owners subject their pets to for their own entertainment. Here are some wacky creations straight out of the Island of Dr Moreau.

  1. Chickens as lobsters and sharks

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 9.32.15 AM

2. A rabbit as a hotdog

3. Cat as a bunny

Oh look how happy and self-confident that cat is! Nothing like a burst of candy pink than some boring grey tabby stripes eh?

It makes you wonder though, if owners who transform their pets into other beasts with dyes or put miniature human clothes on them for their walkies are doing it for the psychological well being of the animals, or just to stoke their own egos, to bask in the fawning attention, or fulfill some deep, forlorn yearning for real human children. Maybe all this animal cosplay is a manifestation of our desire to claim dominion over the birds, the bees and the fish in the sea like what the Bible tells us, to do a one-up over unfashionable Mother Nature, that I can put a blue Mohawk on my hamster and there’s nothing you, or my rodent minion, can do about it. What do you expect from a species that grows ears on innocent rats? It isn’t cruelty if it’s in the name of SCIENCE. If I attach a fake ear on a hamster, on the other hand, I’ll be called a twisted sociopath who’ll stop at nothing to throw kittens down HDB blocks.

You could argue that selective breeding itself is cruel, that dogs are not meant to look like pugs or poodles, that you’ve already committed abuse by buying a pedigree BEFORE even touching it. Pugs for example, suffer respiratory problems because we DESIGNED them that way. To look cute for US. Chow Chows are particularly susceptible to an eyelid disorder called entropion. Blacking the areas around their eyes definitely doesn’t help matters. So those who cry abuse are missing the forest for the trees. If you are a purebred owner, you’re already an accomplice to an industry that prizes cuteness over disease and deformity, whether or not you dress your dogs as cuddly bears. If you own a pug suffering from ‘stenotic nares‘ because it was born and built that way, then you have no moral authority slamming a Chow Chow for looking like a panda.

We are all guilty of decorating our pets at some point, irritating them by putting socks over their ears, Christmas hats on their heads, or making them jump into tiny boxes like Maru, assuming that they ‘enjoy’ the treatment like how a circus tiger ‘enjoys’ leaping through a ring of fire, succumbing to anthromorphic thinking. Chow Chow Pandas is just bringing that domineering nature in us to another level, assuming that those dyes are tried and tested. Still, claims like 100% ‘organic’ for chemicals don’t cut it these days. The jury is still out as to how safe this cosmetic manipulation, which does the animal no real benefit at all, actually is. Even if there are carcinogens in the dye, the animal would probably die a natural death before we even start to see the adverse effects.

Parents do the same shit to their unsuspecting babies all the time, who, like animals, haven’t the faintest idea of what’s going on. If my parents were to show me a picture of me as a baby wrapped in a taco, published on Facebook for the whole world to see for their personal gratification, I would walk right out of the house and never return. Dogs may forget if you ever made them look like damned cotton-candy coated losers in front of the bitches, but humans..never.

 

I Love Children campaign is ‘scaremongering’

From ‘Fertility ads give birth to controversy’, 5 Feb 2016, article by Tan Weizhen, ST

A voluntary welfare group advocating early parenthood has defended an advertising campaign featuring four controversial cartoons.

The ads – which show sperm and eggs in situations such as rowing together in a boat or playing darts – were placed in train stations by I Love Children (ILC) this week, with slogans like “Even the best marksman could miss the target” and “Women are born with a finite number of eggs”.

The group hopes they will encourage people to conceive earlier while they are more fertile, but they have been criticised by some members of the public for being distasteful and insensitive.

Women’s rights group the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) has called the campaign “scaremongering“, saying it might have an emotional impact on women who might be infertile or who have had miscarriages.

i-love-children-ad-10-data

It’s not just married folks without children who’ll be irked by the naggy tone of the ads. Even those with curious kids who’ve seen the ad will have trouble explaining to them what a sperm is and where it comes from, before they start asking you whether those two happy creatures are new Pokemons.

Like all evangelical fertility campaigns, I Love Children only presents a one-sided rosy picture of childbearing, and with it being launched in perfect timing with CNY, it’ll only add more fuel to the fire for those having to face the traditional interrogation by pesky relatives during visiting. This sudden urgency to bump up baby stats is a far cry from the ‘anti-natalist’ movement in the 70’s, where you’re advised to ‘take your time’ before settling down. If you ‘take your time’ these days, you’ll get parents giving you dirty looks assuming you’re a ‘children-hater’. You can ‘take your time’ to choose the right primary school, the right career, the right house, but when it comes to babies, it’s ‘WTF are you waiting for already!’

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 6.29.00 AM

From ‘Fertility and the Family:An overview of Pro-natalist Population Policies in Singapore’ Theresa Wong, Branda S.A Yeoh

To be fair, it’s hard to come up with a fertility campaign with the right nuance. Some mild threatening is needed for it to be effective. Like ‘Children – Life would be empty without them’. This would make sense in the 90’s. Today, if you don’t have children of your own, there’s always Netflix and line dancing to fill the gaping void in your otherwise lonely, miserable existence.

In 2013, some NTU students came up with a ‘Singaporean Fairytale’, which featured ‘negative stereotypes’ in the form of a Golden Goose laying eggs, with the terrifying warning that your ‘egg making device may become rusty and old’. Again, the usual scare tactics of that timebomb ticking away in your oven. Time to put a bun in it!

In 2012, Mentos created ‘National Night’, urging you to ‘perform your civic duty’, and tapping your partner’s body like an ‘EZ-link card’. Cringeworthy, but for different reasons.

ILC, you don’t need to tell me what I already know. Jubilee Babies, SG50 baby bonuses, enhanced parental benefits. We already have agents out there, intentionally or unintentionally, promoting procreation for free ALL THE TIME. Not just the Government, parents and kaypoh aunties, but every father mother son who’s ever posted a montage of their bundle of flippin’ joy on Facebook. I’m reminded of putting my sperm to good use everytime I send a Whatsapp message to a friend with his baby as his icon.  If I see a baby dressed like Obi Wan Kenobi, I get the urge to impregnate the nearest womb I see. When I see a mini-series about families with 8 kids it gives me a newfound passion for harem-making.

So there’s no need for pro-lifers to hire graphic designers to draw cartoon sperm and ova rowing a boat, doing pole vaults or doing the Lambada to give us the warm, tingly  ‘AWWWWW..SO CUTE..LET’S HAVE SEX NOW’ moment. In fact, these ads do the exact opposite. Like a badgering aunty telling you so-and-so just had a fourth kid and still got that promotion at work. It saps the romance right out of any form of sexual intercourse, oral, vaginal or otherwise. Unless you people are telling me ‘Screw romance and do it like they do on the Discovery Channel!’

In short, money wasted, which could have been put to better use helping people struggling with kids so badly they resort to giving them up for adoption, accidental teenage mums thinking of throwing their neonates down the rubbish chute, or going into some fund for assisted reproduction for desperate couples. If you Love Children so much, help children that are living NOW, not play bedroom Peeping Tom, matchmaker, and midwife.

This is all we need.

Nikon awarding prize to photoshopped aeroplane entry

From ‘Photographer whose viral altered photo won Nikon Facebook contest apologises for his ‘mistake”, 31 Jan 2016, article by Chew Hui Min, Sunday Times

The photographer behind an altered image that won a contest on Nikon’s Facebook page has apologised.

Chay Yu Wei had been awarded a prize for his black and white photo showing an aeroplane flying overhead, framed by a ladder. Scores of derisive comments and sarcastic memes were then posted on Nikon’s page, with many saying the photo was digitally manipulated.

In an Instagram post late on Saturday (Jan 30), Chay apologised for his “mistake”, saying that he added the plane into the picture “just for fun” and that he crossed the line by submitting it for the competition.

nikon1

Ni-Con’s winning photo

You don’t need a forensic analyst to tell you that the winning image is doctored. You just need a healthy dose of skeptism and know how to zoom. Instead of apologising for his act of fraud, Chay could have played this up as a deliberate prank to expose the contest judging process, that anyone, with the right tools and time on his hands, can fool the ‘experts’ into regarding a piece of crass forgery as a genuine masterpiece.

In science, the equivalent of winning a photo competition is having your paper peer reviewed and published in a renown journal. In 1996, physicist Alan Sokal tricked the scientific community into accepting his gibberish-filled parody paper as the real thing. It was titled, excruciatingly, ‘Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity’. So, even the top minds in experimental physics can be fooled, not to mention a Nikon judging panel. It still takes considerably more effort, though, for a scientist to write a sham article, than for an amateur photographer to Google image ‘Airplane shadow’ and paste it in his ladder photo with a PicArt app.

Judging the authenticity of a photo is one thing, yet assessing contestants in a beauty pageant is another. Take the case of the ‘Miss Korea 2013‘ profile montage, which had doubters crying foul about a farcical combination of plastic surgery and Photoshopping. If Miss Universe today confessed to having a double-chin reduction previously, I doubt anyone would go all Steve Harvey on it. Not that people still watch Miss Universe anyway.

Attack of the Cloned

Some photographers go to ludicrous extents to get their winning shot without any digital chicanery. A birder was fined $500 for animal cruelty when he tied a baby tern’s legs to a bush so that he didn’t have to skulk around and leopard-crawl in camouflage to remain undetected. A UK wildlife photographer was stripped of a 10,000 pound prize for getting a tame Iberian wolf to leap over a fence.  You could also con innocent minds into believing that your cat is a selfie queen, that she could pick up a smartphone, switch to reverse camera, frame the image and press the snap button. This would win top prize on ‘World’s Funniest Animals’, no doubt. Opposable thumbs? Screw that.

This incredible, controversial image of a frog riding a giant beetle below continues to raise eyebrows. This is the GOLD standard for all you wannabe photo con-artists out there.

If Chay had HIRED A PLANE to fly over that specific spot in Chinatown, or got a crane on top of a building to dangle a model plane over him, then he’d probably get an A for effort, despite the cost of these alone exceeding far beyond the price of a goddamn trolley bag.

In some instances, judges are forced to play spot the difference when investigating frauds. The 2013 winning entry for National Geographic was disqualified because the creator shopped out a PLASTIC BAG from his photo. Which raises the question of how much ‘image refining’ is too much. When does a minor artistic nip/tuck become a gross act of fraud? For all we know we may be placing so much emphasis on the crappy plane image that we miss out other finer details that may potentially kick Chay’s photo out of any photo contest. Maybe he edited out a protruding screw on the base of the rung without anyone knowing.

The viral plane photo, generating comedic meme gold aside, is also a social commentary on how EVERYONE, to some extent, tweaks their shared photos to get the perfect image, whether it’s manipulating hues with filters, cropping out anything that gets in the way of the composition, distorting the context to make an image newsworthy for a Stomp website, or posting an old (but real) photo of a rainbow during LKY’s funeral to stir up emotions. All this just for a fling with Facebook fame, to feed our insatiable hunger for Likes and Shares, or a $169 Nikon trolley bag.

NCMP scheme like a duckweed on a pond

From ‘NCMPs have no political muscle, says WP chief Low Thia Khiang, 27 Jan 2016, article by Justin Ong, CNA

Workers’ Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang said that even if Non-Constituency Member of Parliaments had the same voting rights as elected MPs, they are “very different” due to their lack of a local electorate to serve. A party with an NCMP does not gain any advantage or “political muscle”, he added.

“An NCMP is just duckweed on the water of a pond,” said Mr Low, speaking at a Meet the People Session on Wednesday night (Jan 27).

“You don’t have roots, unlike elected MPs where you have a constituency, you run a Town Council, you are in close touch with your residents, and you can sink roots there. NCMPs, make no mistake about it, are not elected MPs. They may be given the same voting rights in Parliament, but that only pertains to Parliament.”

In 2001, ESM Goh Chok Tong referred to Chee Soon Juan possibly getting the NCMP seat as coming in ‘second past the post‘. The entire Parliament breathed a sigh of relief as the position went to political upstart Steve Chia instead. Therein lies the irony of this ‘duckweed’ scheme, that the PAP has preferences only for certain breeds of aquatic plant, the kind that shows that the Government not only tolerates, but embraces, opposition voices, short of them being mere decorative ‘wallflowers’.

The PAP created the post, but fear that by some astonishing fluke, someone with a ‘megalomaniacal’ tendency may sneak in through the backdoor, though he or she may do nothing more than pound some fists and quack rather loudly, in 10 different languages if need be. In fact, even upon its inception in 1988, the Opposition already viewed it as the ‘plum whose seed would choke them’, that it might lull the Opposition into complacency or become used by the PAP as ‘political capital’. Judging by the results of our last election, the plum is already in the mouth, NCMP or no NCMP.

These Opposition folks are called, unflatteringly, the ‘best losers’. For most stints, NCMPs come and go with a feather in their cap, and put their Parliamentary experience to good use elsewhere. Which makes the floating, rootless, ephemeral duckweed analogy fitting.  Rarely does a NCMP move on to run for an actual election, with devastating results, like the case of Chia Shi Teck, who lost as an independent candidate in 1997, and later declared a bankrupt due  to the Asian Financial crisis. Like Chia, others became victims of ‘political suicide’, or what I would call the NCMP CURSE.

Here are some prominent examples.

  1. JBJ: In 1997, JBJ won an NCMP seat after losing marginally in Cheng San. By 2001, following a slew of defamation suits, he was declared a bankrupt and lost his place in the pond.
  2. Francis Seow: He was among the first NCMPs in 1988. That same year he lost it after being fined for tax evasion. And spending 72 days under ISA detention.
  3. Steve Chia: This guy had it the worst. Caught for taking nudie pics of his maid. Massively trolled by an anonymous website. He was supposed to run in Macpherson for last year’s election but has dropped off the face of the earth since.

 

 

 

Singapore: Melting pot or bowl of salad?

From ‘Let’s be a cultural melting pot, not a bowl of salad’, 7 Jan 2016, ST Forum

(Lee Teck Chuan): When we take a train ride, we often hear many languages being spoken and see attire that hails from varied origins. These are signs that we have become multi-faceted in terms of ethnicity and national origin.

But it begs the question: Are we evolving into a melting pot, where many distinct elements are forged into one? Or a bowl of salad, where each item remains separate from the other?

…We have gained from immigrants. They have added vibrancy to our economic and social landscapes, making Singapore more cosmopolitan. The new immigrants are quite unlike our forefathers. Many are professionals who are highly susceptible to more rosy propositions from elsewhere. Many remain distinct in their language, bearing, schooling, dwelling and way of life. Some have developed enclaves of their own.

This makes the Singapore identity even more disparate and harder to define.

Singapore was already known as the ‘melting pot of the East’ as early as the 1930s, according to Mrs Nicholas Du Pont of the famed gunpowder and nylon family. We’ve been using this banal metaphor to describe our mish-mash of races and cultures so often that we don’t ask ourselves whether the phrase makes any sense. When we say ‘melting pot’, we think of hearty soup, but if you want to be picky, nothing actually ‘melts’ when we boil a bunch of ingredients together. In fact, in the early 20th century, a melting pot was also used to describe the state of war, or otherwise it referred literally to a vessel for liquefying metals, like a king’s crown for instance.

Even Parliament had doubts about the melting pot analogy, as we all can’t agree on what flavour it should be. It can’t be bak kut teh, that’s for sure. Or perhaps we simply misunderstood the cliche all along, that a melting pot is not supposed to be about making soup at all. The term became popularised through Israel Zangwill’s play ‘The Melting Pot’, in reference to the ‘God’s Crucible’ that is America, where all the races of Europe are ‘melting and re-forming’. In that sense, it’s about breaking down old identities and forging new ones, like turning cannons into construction steel, sceptres into bullions, trainwrecks into electric cars.

This ideal state of assimilation has never been realised in America up till now, nor any other cosmopolitan state in the world today for that matter, Singapore included. We still have schools for specific ethnicities, shopping centre enclaves, a Chinatown, a Little India and dialect clans. Malays are denied some vocations in the army. Evangelists still slot flyers under my godless atheistic door. We are not going to demolish all religious buildings and re-assemble them into a giant white shrine worshiping only the PAP. We go to church, attend a friend’s Hari Raya lunch, give angpows to our grandparents and watch Bollywood videos. Let’s leave the ‘melting’ out of what we already have and enjoy, because we don’t know what we’ll get if we fuse into one united goo. It’s like slurping up the remains of a banana split. Separately, the vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream make gastronomic sense. When ‘melted’, it just tastes like sugar water, not to mention looks gross too.

So, if you prefer not to fuse with your brethren from other races or cultures to form a boring homogenous whole, want to have the freedom to hang on to your own traditions and not subscribe to the same belief system as everyone else like a socialist utopia, how else should one describe Singapore’s multiculturalism? Do we even need to resort to lame food metaphors to bring the point across? The Singapore Tourism Board belongs to ‘Team Salad’, comparing Singapore’s diversity to a hawker favourite: Rojak, often described to foreigners as a ‘local salad’. On the other hand, some ministers use ‘rojak’ disparagingly, in the ‘ugly chaotic mess’ sense of the word.

If I had to choose an analogy involving food, it won’t be a bland, traditional ‘salad’ or a lumpy, mushy broth that’s more suitable as confinement gruel. It would be a colourful, vibrant mix of flavours and textures that nourishes as well as refreshes, a dish that you can have as breakfast or dessert after a main meal. Yes, Singapore, to me you are an Acai Superfood Bowl.

 

Photogenic Girl takes a Selfie on the MRT track

From ‘Power fault halts train services’, 10 Jan 16, article by Danson Cheong, Sunday Times

Train services broke down for the first time this year yesterday evening, affecting a four-station stretch on the North-South Line – from the station in Kranji to the one in Admiralty.

The disruption, which lasted for over an hour, was due to a traction power fault, according to transport operator SMRT

Commuters were forced to get off the train and walk towards Marsiling Station. Undergraduate Vanessa Chia was one of them. She told The Sunday Times that her train had stopped for about 20 minutes, with the air-conditioning failing during that time.

“It was a really hot day and I could hear kids crying,” said Miss Chia, 20.

She added that the train was “only about a 20-second ride to Marsiling” but the distance took about 15 minutes on foot.

“A few of the passengers were quite old; it was quite painful walking on the stones for them,” she said. She added that she also saw an SMRT staff member giving an elderly man a piggyback ride.

She said that some commuters were quite agitated and were shouting. But Miss Chia took the incident in her stride. She snapped selfies and took videos to send to her friends.

“At first I was a little scared, but then I began to see it as an adventure. I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said.

“But it was lucky the weather was good and this was a weekend.”

Railfie

Railfie

Now what I really wanted to see was a photo of the SMRT staff piggybacking an old man on the tracks. Instead, the ST decided to give a positive spin to a MRT detraining, featuring a photogenic girl in a selfie, hoping to distract people from thinking ‘Barely 2 weeks into 2016 and we have our first power fault. Damn you SMRT!’

What the media wants you to think is ‘Hey, maybe this isn’t so bad after all. Now if only I could experience this awesome adventure in a TUNNEL too!’ And one day you just might. I’m not sure if the photo below was taken during an actual train breakdown or a MRT tunnel educational tour , like how people flock to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station on public holidays to hang around the tracks.

I pity the staff who had to go the extra mile for those in need, when people would rather take pictures of themselves having fun than everyday heroes in action. They still need to get back to work after the rescue mission, and instead of getting recognised for their act of kindness, the papers not only whitewash the breakdown, but sprinkle rainbows and candy over it as well. No, we don’t want pictures of crying babies, anguished faces or people collapsing from the heat, just for once we want an ordinary commuter believing this is the most exciting thing that happened to her over the weekend.

A well taken selfie can provide levity to any disaster, whether it’s a MRT breakdown, on a rescue boat after a ferry sinking, after fleeing from a burning building or just before getting gored in the kidneys during a bull run festival. Still, getting stuck on a train and having a stroll along the tracks under the hot sun is not even remotely in the Top 100 of my bucket list. Now I know what those sandbags on the tracks are for – to cushion your fall should you ever trip while taking a goddamn selfie.

There are instances that don’t involve risking your life where it’s inappropriate to snap selfies of though. Like LKY’s funeral, even if it’s a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity.

Kudos to MRT track girl for her chirpy attitude in the face of an unfortunate event. Singaporeans would do well to learn from her and stop whining about bad wi-fi connections, long queues, the haze and just chill their way through when shit happens. But I fear she may be wrong about this being a ‘once in the lifetime’ experience.

And where was this guy when we needed him anyway?

It’s a bird, it’s a plane..NO it’s knockoff Spiderman taking the MRT

 

 

 

 

Singapore, OCD capital of the World

From ‘Call for greater support as more suffer anxiety illness’, 3 Jan 2016, article by Janice Tai, Sunday Times

The number of adults being treated for obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) continues to rise, prompting experts to call for more support for sufferers and their families. Latest figures from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) show that 850 adults were treated for the condition as of November last year, up from 640 in 2010.

The first and only Singapore Mental Health Study released in 2011 found that Singapore was the OCD capital of the world, with higher rates of the illness compared with the United States or Europe.

…OCD is among the top three most common mental disorders here, with about 3 per cent of the population – or one in 33 people here – suffering from it, according to the Singapore Mental Health study by IMH. This is higher than the rate in the United States (2.3 per cent) or Europe (1.1 per cent).

Everyone of us knows someone with ‘OCD’ tendencies. The one who sharpens pencils down to the exact length, categorises socks by colour, spends half a day fussing over a particular stain on the furniture or arranges kitchen condiments by alphabetical order. Ever so often we frivolously label such ‘neat freaks’ as having ‘OCD’. At work, this OCD may even be viewed by some as a positive ethic, especially when the bosses need someone particularly good at number crunching and reviewing the finer details of important documents, someone who knows exactly how to get those annoying Microsoft Word bullets in one glorious line. They’re also known as ‘perfectionists’. They’re the corporate sheepdogs who get the flock in order. If you ever need someone to help pack for a long trip, you need someone like them on board so that your underpants do not spring out like Jack in the Box once you open your luggage.

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We should be careful, however, not to glamourise a debilitating disease, that having OCD is ‘useful’ in certain lines of work, that you could become a private detective like US drama series character Monk. It also seems like almost every major celebrity or mad genius has some degree of OCD, from Nikola Tesla to Einstein, David Beckham and Justin Timberlake. Even poor Steve Jobs was speculated to have it. The way OCD is being portrayed outside of medical circles, having ritualistic, neurotic tendencies can be turned into a force for good, that it brings ‘method’ to the madness. It’s often downplayed as an incidental ‘quirk’, when in reality most of its victims lose their jobs, even their families, and are too precoccupied with their compulsions to discover the theory of relativity or invent stuff. Otherwise we’d have a whole bunch of OCD-afflicted scientists, mavericks and superstars in our midst, which is surely not the case. We have many depression sufferers too, but too few comedians to show for it.

They say ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’, which seems apt to describe OCD because sufferers have a ‘religious’ desire to purify their hands through washing, among other ‘rituals’ that occupy most of their lives. That Singapore has one of the highest rates in the world seems to be in line with the country’s reputation as a nanny-state, with our national obsession with order and cleanliness, whether it’s the physical filth on the streets or our control over ‘moral contamination’ imported from the ‘Western world’. You could even say having OCD is ‘part of our DNA’, that our picky nannying, constant surveillance, rules and regulations are key to the country’s security and success. Our PM has even acknowledged that the PAP is a paranoid government, and who is to doubt him? Even the professionals hypothesise that our ‘national psyche‘ and ‘kiasuism’ have something to do with it. I mean, this is a country where the future of a child is measured by a specific number on his PSLE result sheet.

OCD is not a celebrity disease, a quirky habit nor a corparate ‘skill’. It’s not a label that you throw at people loosely who’re just picky over the use of punctuation. It’s not an answer to the interview question ‘What’s your weakness?’ because you think OCD is a mask for ‘thoroughness’. It’s a soul-destroying affliction, and if nothing is done to curb the rise in not just OCD but other trends including self-harming and elderly suicide, bearing in mind we already have one of the most burnt out workers in the region, Singapore will be more than just the ‘OCD capital’ of the world.

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