Lift Your Skirt, Save Your Life ad goes against Asian values

From ‘Ad catches the eye and raises a few eyebrows’, 8 May 2013, article by Debbie Lee, Eugene Chua and Joanne Lee, ST and 10 May 2013, ‘Cancer ad goes against Asian values’, ST Forum

“LIFT your skirt, save your life,” urges a new advertisement by the Singapore Cancer Society to promote awareness of preventive measures for cervical cancer. But the campaign appears to have raised eyebrows instead.

Public reaction to its posters, depicting celebrities in white dresses catching a rush of air from the ground, have varied from “catchy” to “obscene”…It features celebrities MediaCorp Radio 987FM DJ Rosalyn Lee, model and TV host Linda Black and 93.3FM DJ Siau Jiahui.

The campaign aims to encourage women to go for Pap smear screenings being provided for free by 178 clinics this month. However, more than 60 per cent of the 80 people polled by The Straits Times said the advertisement was not effective in delivering its message.

Respondents commonly mistook it for fashion or slimming advertisements….A quarter of the respondents felt the advertisement was offensive. “Most people are saying, ‘Oh, it uses sexual undertones to get attention, it’s effective.’ But just because it gets people talking doesn’t mean it sends the right message,” said Miss Yvonne Jin, a 21-year-old student.

The Association of Women for Action and Research agreed. Its executive director, Ms Corinna Lim, said: “It is a sad reflection on society that good causes also have to resort to sex to promote their message.”

(Dr V Subramaniam):…We have long cherished and promoted the age-old values of decorum, decency, good morals, respect for tradition and other attributes that go with our rich Asian culture. These values provide us with the cultural ballast against the influx of unhealthy foreign cultural trends and behaviour.

The ad to promote awareness of preventive measures for cervical cancer, which comes with the tagline, “Lift your skirt. Save your life”, is not in keeping with our Asian morals and is degrading to women. Left to the imagination, the crude insinuations can easily corrupt the morals of our young.

Otherwise you’ll get more than just a 7 year itch

Cervical cancer is no joke of course, as ambassador DJ Ross Lee would attest, having had a near brush with the dreaded disease herself. But you don’t need a controversial headline to grab the attention of Singaporean women. One four letter word starting with the letter F would do the trick: FREE, and that magical word that possesses Singaporeans into queuing long hours for stuff they don’t need is restrained here by small caps and boring font. Hell, you may even get a MAN to queue for cervical screening if you market your freebie a little TOO well. Maybe SCC should try the same tactic for prostate screening. I doubt anyone would complain of such an ad as obscene, sexist or defiling ‘Asian values‘, though some may accuse it of causing nightmares, loss of appetite and general distress.

manpants

It’s always tempting to employ ‘sexual undertones’ when you’re talking about cancers of intimate body parts. In 2010, another local cancer foundation used nude models to encourage women to, well, keep ABREAST of cancer prevention, painted NIPPLES and all. Just like those crying foul about this PAP smear campaign giving upskirt perverts ideas on the escalator, some dismissed body painting as crass objectification of women everywhere.

A very cheeky ad

Take away the provocative images though, and what you’re left with are awful puns like ‘Treasure the BREAST things in life’ in 2011, the kind of tagline that would only draw the attention and non-stop giggles of females with their breasts still under development. Unlike boobs, there’s very limited wordplay when it comes to organs around the pelvis without offending someone, especially when words like ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ are still avoided by the media till this day. Even saying things like ‘Hey ladies, come spread your legs!’ can be as insulting as an orgy invitation.

You can’t make visual puns of erogenous zones without coming across as downright vulgar, like the ‘Unfurgivable‘ ad by the Ministry of Wax, which got some all fired up over a purse resembling female genitalia. Still, cervical cancer is the ONLY preventable cancer in women to date, which means delivering a necessary message and making it stick may be more important than what the good folks at AWARE think. All it takes is one person to notice the ad, ‘lift her skirt’ and get saved from disaster for the campaign to work. I don’t see how ‘skirt-lifting’ is a problem for AWARE considering they endorse anti-rape campaigns called SlutWalks. It’s also better to benefit from a lewd ad that is a ‘sad reflection of society’ and be ALIVE, than get your knickers in a twist and dead.

About these ads

Sukki Singapora’s ‘albino Indian’ look

From ‘Burlesque babe’, 21 April 2013, article by Melissa Sim, Lifestyle, Sunday Times

For more than a year, burlesque dancer Sukki Singapora, 26, led a double life. By day, she worked in IT support – wearing formal skirts and fitted shirts – but once the work day was over, she cast off her office wear for corsets and sequined outfits. “It was very much a Clark Kent existence,” says Singaporeconnected, Britain-based Sukki, who quit her IT job with the British cycling Olympic team to become a full-time burlesque performer in April last year.

…“I was fortunate enough to be offered enough shows that I no longer needed a day job,” says the dancer, who uses a peroxide cream to create the look of an “albino Indian”

…What keeps her going, she says, are the letters she receives from Asian women and men, nearly 100 from Singapore alone. “Some want to learn how to do it. However, more often than not, they are too scared to try because of their strict backgrounds and feel they have no one to talk to except me,” she says.

So she set up The Singapore Burlesque Society, a Facebook group which has 64 members, to provide a “safe community” for those interested in burlesque in Singapore. She also started The Singapore Burlesque Club, a touring show which has a policy of hiring at least one Asian burlesque performer at every event.

…Denying that she chose her stage name because it was more exotic to be from Singapore than the UK, she says: “I picked it because it represents where I felt I was from. I still consider myself a citizen.”

Born to an Indian Singaporean father and a British mother, both doctors, Sukki Menon was a Geography major before achieving grand diva success. She became a British citizen when she was 18, and would give our very own drag queen Kumar a run for the money. Most Singaporeans, however, would rather play Angry Birds than see dancers dressed up as peacocks, this despite Moulin Rouge and the less successful Burlesque movies spurring the revival of a vintage stage show. ‘Showgirls’ probably gets more illegal downloads than both movies combined.

Sukki isn’t the first Asian sensation to seduce audiences with wild, sexy dancing. Malaya used to have her very own ‘Queen of Striptease’ in the 1950s, none other than the late, great Rose Chan. Referred to as a ‘stripper’ in those days, her shows were banned here by the police in view of its ‘improper nature’. She was also badass enough to wrestle with pythons. Today’s burlesque artistes settle for boas instead.

I suppose many Singaporeans have matured since then to accept burlesque dancing as a respectable profession, nude or no-nude, but it’s mostly viewed as a hobby to tone your abs or surprise your husband on Valentine’s Day (for $180 you can have 10 hourly lessons of Exotic Dance/Lap Dance). I’m not sure if albinos or Indians would take offence at Sukki’s use of whitening face cream. I’ve never seen an Indian albino in the flesh, but I doubt they look like Courtney Love as Sukki does. Going ‘Blackface’ for your company DnD with a Bollywood theme, however, is a terrible idea.

Crazy Horse, which bears similarities to burlesque though it boasts as the most ‘avant garde’ all of Paris cabarets, failed in Singapore after just 14 months.  Supporters were quick to denounce the country for being intolerant of such ‘raunchiness’. But it also offended housewives who thought it was ‘pornographic’, ‘derogatory to women’, and promoted all sorts of wrong values. A layman would find difficulty differentiating burlesque, cabaret and exotic dancing, though flashy costumes (and eventual lack of it), ample cleavage, flirtatiousness and feathers are all common elements. Some would call her a ‘high-class’ stripper, and in fact Sukki in her Facebook page has acknowledged her job as a ‘striptease artist’. Here’s a video of her jiggling out of traditional Indian dance costume into a slutty red bikini:

Burlesque dancers tend to give themselves names indistinguishable from adult movie stars or James Bond girls (think Pussy Galore).  Not all have glamorous monikers like Dita von Teese, which sounds like a villain from a 101 Dalmations cartoon. Here’s a quick test to see if you know your burlesque from your XXX stars.

1) Aurora Galore
2) Aurora Snow
3) Lexi Belle
4) Dottie Lux
5) Dirty Martini
6) Summer Haze
7)Lady Beau Peep
8)Vicious Delicious
9)Kalani Kokonuts
10)Calamity Chang
11) Kitten de Ville
12)Lily Labeau

*2, 3, 6 and 12 are porn actresses

Dancers also tend to argue that their art is a ‘celebration of feminity‘, yet  there is an internet magazine for ‘all things burlesque’ named BurlesqueBITCH.com. An organiser for international events like the All Asian Burlesque Spectacular calls itself THIRSTY Girl Productions.  Sukki herself acts in The PEEP SHOW, and performs at a La Bordello Boheme. It’s all in the name of good ol’ naughty fun, of course, but I doubt the folks at AWARE are amused. I’m sure the Esplanade can bend its ‘No Sleazy Uncles’ rule to slot in a Sukki show somewhere.

Incorporating Singapura in her stage name aside, she has also wowed audiences with what she calls The MERLION strut,  a homage to a ‘mythical beast’. There is also the “Sparkle for Singapore’, complete with ‘glistening Singapore orchids’. We should rope Sukki in for the next National Day Parade since we’ve done pole-dancing anyway, and pair her up with Kumar in a Battle of the Divas. With our ailing fertility problems, perhaps sexy burlesque is one way to sizzle up our bedrooms, and no one better to promote it than our Burlesque Ambassador and Superheroine, Sukki Singapora herself.

Go Away MDA bypassing porn filters

From ‘Web add-on bypasses porn censors’ filters’, 28 Feb 2013, article by Lim Yan Liang, ST

A WEB browser add-on that lets surfers bypass the Media Development Authority’s Internet filters to access pornography and other sites has been gaining popularity online. The free tool, for Google’s Chrome browser, has been downloaded more than 6,300 times since it was made available to the public in the browser’s Web store on Feb 16.

It lets users access sites that would normally be blocked in Singapore by masking their true location. The MDA maintains a list of 100 websites that Internet service providers have to block. The creator of the browser extension, a National University of Singapore (NUS) computer science graduate, said usage figures have been growing thanks mainly to word of mouth.

While he had dedicated the tool to users of the popular Eat-Drink- Man-Woman forum of the HardwareZone discussion portal, forum threads discussing his creation have since been deleted or locked.

“There is no need for the word to get out, I can barely manage the traffic as it is,” said the 26-year-old, without giving specifics on the amount of traffic. He does not want to be named, citing previous run-ins with the law. “And it’s running off a server that I’m paying for.”

He added that the tool was “merely a fun hobby project” he set up during Chinese New Year as he was learning about a set of Web development tools.

Soon to be a thing of the past

Soon to be a thing of the past

While your run-of-the-mill hacker defaces government websites and replaces them with porn, the creator of Go Away MDA (you can download the tool for free at http://getgom.com/) hands you the golden key to online forbidden fruit. If the MDA hadn’t themselves went on a limb to declare war on the 100 objectionable sites, there wouldn’t be a need to device a tool to smash their firewalls down, nor would we proceed to satisfy our natural curiosity to see if unlocking Playboy.com with this actually works (It does at time of writing). There are many hidden treasures yet to be picked up by MDA’s internet sniffer dogs which are far more gratuitous than the softcore goodies of the Playboy empire. The complete list remains a mystery, but the folks at MDA clearly missed out the nefarious CHURCH OF SATAN (google it) website. The horror!

Porno material is generated so effortlessly maintaining a ‘100 banned sites’ list is like fencing up a grapevine to keep out the starving foxes but leaving the rest of the sprawling bush unscathed. They haven’t even got a list started on mobile sex apps yet. To many men who spent their formative cyber years journeying through erotic utopias, this is a godsend, like a reunion with an old flame which they’ll greet with an euphoric  ‘Come to PAPA!’. Some would laud this anonymous ‘hacktivist’ the equivalent of porno Wikileaks, tearing down the barriers to the revolutionary ideal that is ‘internet freedom’.

In 2005, two gay sites were clamped down by MDA. They banned one featuring explicit sex and photography while fining another gay dating site called ‘Meet Gay Singapore Friends’ (no longer exists). Three years later porno versions of Youtube were added to the list. When queried about the usefulness of keeping this blacklist when it’s near impossible to block out undesirables without killing the Internet completely, an MDA spokesperson replied that this ‘mass-impact’ censoring was a ‘SYMBOLIC statement of our CORE SOCIETAL VALUES’. In 2010, then acting Minister for Information and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew regurgitated the same reasoning, that the ban ‘serves as a reminder that there is a significant body of material on the Internet that is unsavoury and unedifying’. That’s as enlightening as telling people there are wild plants and mushrooms out there that you shouldn’t be putting in your mouth. It’s like a clueless puppy chasing its own tail; the hydra of porn is always leaps and bounds ahead of you. Nobody goes to Playboy for their fix anymore. A random amateur sex video from a couple of local students may score more hits than all 100 banned sites combined.

Now that the banned sites are being liberated by a tinkerer’s electronic Get out of Jail Card, this ‘symbol’ of all things good and moral about our society has come crashing down like the terminal stage of a badly played Candy Crush game, though our spate of sex scandals has made enough mockery of this surface gesture of moral policing. It’s like putting a helmet on a baby strapped with explosives in a bid to protect it from harm. The more likely reason that this ‘symbolic’ banned list still exists, even if you could find SEX.COM on it, is that it would be an admission of utter failure to take it back. If there’s one consolation for MDA, it’s that their eagerness to ban stuff has given rise to talented, enterprising, rebellious individuals with this inventive drive and mad skills to crack smutwalls, a skill that would make you a top draw for secret military projects, or for hacking into our Ministers’ accounts to see what they have been doing with their million-dollar salaries.

Victory for the high-priests of Internet activism, for Google Chrome, tech geeks and anyone who feels that MDA deserves to be embarrassed for its vile treatment of artists and filmmakers all this time. MDA, you got ‘pwned’. Big time.

Ebisu Muscat’s rope trick banned in Singapore

From’ No sexy rope trick here’, 19 Jan 2013, article by Rachael Boon, ST Life

Mui Kuriyama, a member of sexy Japanese idol girl group Ebisu Muscats, has a special skill she normally shows off on stage: She can tie herself up in rope. But for fans in Singapore, they did not see this at the group’s concert here on Thursday.

Kuriyama, 24, says she was advised to leave out her sexy little trick because it is associated with deviant sexual acts collectively called BDSM, or bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism. “I usually perform with rope bondage on, but I was told it was better not to do so,” she says in Japanese during an interview at Resorts World Sentosa’s Hotel Michael, ahead of their concert.

Ebisu Muscats are a singing-dancing pop group that comprise soft-porn video actresses and gravure idols, or models in Japan who specialise in sexy shoots and assignments but do not strip. They were formed in 2008 as part of TV Tokyo’s variety show Onedari Muscat SP!, and have no fixed line-up.

Mui is a knotty girl

Mui is a knotty girl (NSFW)

Ebisu Muscats are not your average girl-group. For one, its fanbase appears to be mostly males, in particular males who have seen them wearing much less clothing than when they’re performing song-and-dance. Many would raise an eyebrow when the media describes the group as an assemble of SOFT PORN actresses, because anyone familiar with the Jap porn industry would know that certain Muscat members are known more for their no-holds-barred erotic performances in a studio bedroom (mostly), rather than their vocal talents or dancing. Calling them soft-core is like saying KFC is ‘low-fat’. If you view a random Ebisu video, you can tell that they’re no Girls’ Generation in the making, and they could very well be the Milli Vanilli of pornstars. You would get the same adulation from men if you take a bunch of aging action heroes and put them in an all-star ultraviolent movie as a last hurrah to an illustrious career of kicking ass. Wait, that’s already been done before. Twice. Speaking of movies, it’s strange how a bunch of pornstars are allowed to hold a concert here with curbs, but an indie film by an acclaimed director featuring a porn starlet was never screened here. I’m sure there are as many fans of Sasha Grey as they are of Kuriyama.

Mui is a BDSM tease and self proclaimed ‘rope artist’, while others in the line-up, such as Yuma Asami are, or used to be, hardcore pornstars. It’s ironic that the authorities would clamp down on what they perceive to be a public display of bondage fetish, when tens of thousands of Singaporean men view the same Ebisu muscats perform ‘deviant acts’ or having sex online every single day. I also wonder if people take offence to lyrics of songs suggestive of bondage. Like British duo Tears for Fears’ Woman in Chains. But what’s a mere song when people have written whole teenage fiction revolved around it?

If rope and chain bondage is not your cup of tea, perhaps you’re more a ‘woman in a cage’ kinda guy. I’m not sure if MDA banned Shakira’s She Wolf video for its deviant BDSM nature.

If a girl in a Sailor moon outfit with a history of showing off her butt and cleavage close-up on camera ties herself up in rope, it’s frowned upon as a fetish. If a sexy female magician does it, it’s called..well..magic. The only difference is that for magic tricks, one is supposed to escape while in BDSM you’re supposed to just LOOK like you want to escape.

Here’s a little test if you can tell your ‘magic’ from ‘BDSM’.

A)

B)

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 9.34.12 AM

C)

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 9.41.28 AM

Yes they’re all acts of MAGIC. If you got all 3 right, you either have no idea what BDSM is or are an expert practitioner of it.

In Chiobu We Trust extremely distasteful and vulgar

From ‘Suggestive poses in exhibition distasteful’, 8 Sept 2012, ST Life!

(Koh Shimei Magdalene):I refer to the article Online Queen Bees Born To Pose (Life!, Aug 27), about an art exhibition called In Chiobu We Trust – A Pop-up Art Party.

Organised by the Chiobu Movement, the exhibition took place on Aug 31. I found some of the pictures exhibited of near nude girls in suggestive poses to be extremely distasteful and vulgar. The pictures featured in the article speak for themselves.

I take great offence to them as I feel they are insulting to the female gender. These days, it seems that anything and everything can be considered art, just by spinning a complex concept or story around it.

I am shocked and disappointed that no relevant authority has stepped in to comment or impose restrictions on this event. I would also like to suggest that art exhibitions be given viewership ratings similar to films.

In my opinion, Singapore society should not tolerate and encourage unhealthy subcultures to thrive, and we definitely cannot afford this to become a norm in our society as we have witnessed in Western countries. The effects are detrimental to nation building.

Nice Ass…mask

Magdalene Koh did not specify whether she actually attended ‘In Chiobu we Trust’, a ‘secret’ pop up party whose location was divulged in the Life! section of the ST.  Not sure how successful Chiobu turned out to be, with its build-up subdued by another ‘secret’ event held during the same period, Diner en Blanc. According to the article on Aug 31, Chiobu is a collection of photo submissions by ‘hipster’, social-media savvy females below 30 doing wild, cool stuff on road trips, the brainchild of photographer Alvelyn Koh (or Alko). It’s like someone compiling Instagram photos or Facebook profile pics and exhibiting them in an Indie gallery. It could have been called ‘In Camwhore We Trust’, though the writer above may think the use of that word alone will have a profoundly destructive effect on our ‘nation building’.

Check out this entry of a woman having an orgasm on a stone lion. I wonder if the Taoist Federation of Singapore has anything to say about this; the most sacred of temple guardians being defiled by straddling, moaning chiobus.

The jungle cannot sleep tonight

A senior SAM curator referred to these ‘chiobus’ as ‘an interesting SUB-CULTURE of young women who are ‘opinionated, fashionable and daring’, among whom must include ‘My Grandfather Road’ creator Samantha Lo. It also helps if you have a jazzy name that’s a combination of two proper names. The key members of this chiobu troupe are also popular bloggers; The girl in the donkey mask Tan Min Yi has a blog called “Psychological Romance’, as well as a Facebook portfolio with glam model shots of her wearing Red Indian headgear and sticking a gun in her mouth. Ang Geck Geck’s blog is a mouthful: ‘A Female Cat roars, Louder Than Before’, from which you may download her Chiobu video, a meditative celebration of femininity that seems to be inspired by Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life (both videos have SPARKLERS in them). Tree of Chiobus, perhaps. It also features some naked lesbians preening away to the hashtags of #dreams and #freedom. #Cool!

It’s not all about ladies in various states on undress or gay love though, Holly Graberek presented portraits of herself in a Mexican wrestler mask, a Bedouin bandit and as a VERY EVIL LOOKING JIA JIA PANDA. The stuff of nightmares, really. I can’t go to the River Safari after this. Ever.

Another submission has a subject planking face down in the Botanical Gardens in what appears to be a swimsuit, a typical prank shot which somehow qualifies as art. It looks like someone Photoshopped away the ‘Do not cross’ yellow police line around it.

This is both planking and Horseman-ing. Or Plorsing.

I did the same thing on the old Bukit Timah railway tracks once but it didn’t go viral on Facebook as I had hoped. Maybe it had something to do with the fact I was fully clothed, or more likely, I’m not a chiobu who uses emoticons that look like complex math algorithms, use the word ZOMG in my tweets, or insert the line ‘I am Chiobu, Hear me ROAARR’ in my email signature. But is the Chiobu movement solely for skinny photogenic waifs with fancy cameras? Would ‘plus-sized’ ladies posing nude in the name of art and charity be considered part of this ‘movement’ as well? How about those oversharing images of their buttocks for artist Amanda Heng?

The event itself, according to this review, was held in the dimly lit, cosy premises of book-cafe Pigeonhole. There’s also a couple of DJs in the house, yo! I’d imagine the playlist full of Lana Del Ray dubstep remixes.

God is a DJ, and so are these chiobus

It also puts AWARE in a difficult position to comment given the good intentions of the Chiobu movement. Just like ‘anything and everything’ can pass off as art, pouting to the camera semi-naked can also pass off as a powerful statement of self-expression. The word ‘chiobu’ itself is ironically derogatory to some women, a Singlish/Hokkien slang for ‘hot babe’, ‘chick’ or ‘shawty’.  But it helps that it’s ridiculously catchy, just like the Ladies’ card slogan ‘The Men Don’t Get It’. It wouldn’t have worked if the organisers called it ‘In Queen Bee We Trust'; that would sound to me like a gallery full of Bridezilla collages, in which case you don’t just need an age restriction; It should be totally MANDATORY that you forbid MEN to enter for health and safety reasons.

Vulgar or not, the cult of Chiobu is a sign that our arts community is very much alive and in vogue, that there are young edgy women out there pushing boundaries who give Vernetta Lopez a reason to sell her memoirs, though it does hint that it takes some eye-candy and soft-porn to tickle the Singaporean nerve for art. But what else is new? Has Magdalene heard about Josef Ng’s Brother Cane act? Or Indian artist T Venkenna sitting naked for hours and charging people to pose with him? Maybe they should have submitted the Chiobu Movement for the Venice Biennale instead. I mean, surely the Europeans can relate to chiobus in semi-Furry attire, eh?

It’s been a poor year for men in general, with many thrown in the slammer for underaged sex or corruption. In response to the Chiobu movement, maybe it’s time for the other sex to stand up and be counted. No, you don’t have to be Pan-Asian or ‘cool’, or pose on a windy beach for it, in fact, the more ‘uncle’ you are the better, whether you’re chillin’ with a Singha or hangin’ in Yangtze cinema. I’ll call it In Ah Peks We Trust.

Man posting upskirt videos on Youtube

From ‘Man targeting S’porean women posts their upskirt videos online’, 27 May 2012, article in asiaone, Digitalone.

A man targeting women in Singapore has been posting a collection of ‘upskirt’ videos online. The man even went as far as to lift the skirts of some of the women he filmed. The man’s activities were brought to light on Stomp by a reader who sent screenshots of the man’s collection of videos on video-sharing site YouTube.

A check on the user’s YouTube page shows the user last uploaded a video a week ago. The user was last active on May 22, 2012. The reader told Stomp: “It’s very disturbing to see someone filming Singaporean women and post them on a public site like YouTube.

“What’s even more disgusting is that he even numbered them, like ‘Singapore office lady 21′, and documented where he found them. “He even lifted their skirts in some cases! “I really hope the police put a stop to his reign of terror!”

While it’s safe to assume that the pervert was a man, even young girls may get hooked on upskirt voyeurism, thanks to a free online game called ‘Under Cover’, where one scores points by snapping photos of animated women in vulnerable but tasteless positions. Though it’s unlikely that such games would spur men to prowl MRT stations and shopping centre escalators to snap under women’s skirts (more likely to be porn that’s the source of inspiration), the act of peeping is as old as civilisation itself, when humans first put on clothes and had something to hide from prying, horny eyes. Or maybe it’s all Sharon Stone’s fault for her scene-stealing spread in Basic Instinct.

Modern voyeurism has been played down as a form of sexual neurosis, or a symptom of major depression. The nature of compulsively hording images or videos, even categorically labelling them in folders, has added a dimension of ‘obsession/addiction’ to the voyeur’s ‘disease’.  Such upskirt attacks have been on the rise since 2004, with many otherwise respectable men being admitted for ‘treatment’. Even a National Day medal winning grassroots leader has succumbed to such gross indecency. In 2010, an officer in the police force was caught for not just filming an upskirt of his female colleague, but for adding his semen into her drink, which suggests that ‘voyeurism’ is just one ‘symptom’ of a spectrum of related deviant fetishes.  We live in an age where Freud, if he were alive, would have been at his most prolific. People no longer maintain a ‘collection’ for hours of personal entertainment. Video-sharing, forums and blogs, with social media elements like ‘hits’,  ‘ratings’, ‘likes’ and reputation points, have supplemented one’s upskirt obsession with something equally stimulating to the unsound mind; an audience.

One may blame technology, porn and the incessant drive to miniaturise gadgets for this wave of peepshow gratification, but even before James Bond pinhole cameras or mobile phones, men still found ways and means to catch a glimpse of female bottoms, even if it meant lying down in a prone position to try their luck. Some would do away with the gizmos and stealth altogether and lift skirts directly.  But where’s the ‘thrill’ in that? The more discreet would use mirrors to satisfy their curiosity, while the rest would peep through cracks in toilets, showers, bedrooms and changing rooms. One guy in Tampines made it a daily ritual to view upskirts from below an overhead bridge while on a bicycle.

In 1956, the penalty for looking at your neighbour bathe is a staggering $20, compared to the up to one year jail term today. Which means seeing someone completely naked deserved less punishment in the past than spotting someone’s undergarment today. We still call such sneaky folks ‘peeping toms’, a term which suggests a boyish naughtiness that deserves nothing more than a rigorous spanking. Today the term ‘mischief’ no longer applies, you have instead committed a sexual offence. But it’s not just women who need to watch out for suspicious bags floating beneath their skirts, we men have been known to have our ‘modesty outraged’ by cubicle stoopers as well, especially when we’re taking a shit. We don’t even have to dress sexily to be stalked by a sicko. It’s also a  really dumb, not to mention smelly, position to adopt if you want to spy on innocent people doing their business.

But if indeed voyeurism were a sexual disorder, such incidents may trigger another sort of neurotic behaviour, a wave of paranoia that there is always some sex predator out there with an invisible gadget looking to steal a shot of your underwear. Terrified women may start avoiding overhead bridges, spend more time checking for bugs in the cubicle than urinating, or avoiding the Mint Museum of Toys and its glass ceilings. Every staircase, ladder or locker room would be approached as if it were booby-trapped. Thanks to this share-the-nasty-stuff culture, I can no longer text on the stairs, under a ladder or on an escalator without the fear of getting mistaken for a lecher and receiving a flying handbag in the face.

Sure, we can’t do without mobile phones or tiny cameras, but let’s just pray no one invents an invisibility cloak.


Xiaxue taking revenge on Facebook bullies

From ‘Blogger Xiaxue fights back against Facebook abuse’, 25 May 2012, article by Grace Chua and Jessica Lim, ST

MEN who this week called popular blogger Xiaxue a ‘stupid bimbo’ and a ‘whore’ online are getting a taste of their own medicine. She is fighting back by posting their photos and information on her blog, in an attempt to show that they do not have much of a leg to stand on in the looks and intelligence department themselves.

The furore started when photos of her with two friends, taken without permission from their blogs, surfaced on the Facebook page of political website Temasek Review on Monday, Tuesday and yesterday, with an invitation to caption them. The photos of the three – Xiaxue and her friends Qiu Qiu and Sophie – were taken at a People’s Action Party (PAP) rally in Aljunied GRC during last May’s general election. In the photo, Xiaxue, 28, and Qiu Qiu, 24, have PAP logos on their faces.

…Commenters responded to the Temasek Review’s invitation readily: ‘Cheap b****,’ said one. ‘Pretty and sexy girls, which part of Geylang they work?’, said another. To get back at them, she trawled Facebook for their photos and information – and Facebook was obliging, because many of their profiles were public.

…’She added: ‘What kind of men would say this kind of thing? Singaporean men are such bullies. They think I’m a nobody – just a random girl they can bully.’ Among the men who featured in her gallery of ‘bullies’ were several who are married with children.

…One of the victims of Xiaxue’s revenge, swim coach Lim Soon Chwee, 34, told The Straits Times last night that his comment, ‘Pretty and sexy girls, which part of Geylang they work?’ was incomplete. ‘I didn’t mean that at all,’ he said, adding that he was actually trying to defend her.

…Another man who got one back from Xiaxue, Mr Hong Xing, a 35-year-old father of one, was less forgiving, because the photo Xiaxue held up for ridicule also featured his wife and child. The engineer admitted that he had insinuated that Xiaxue was an underage prostitute, but said he preferred women in more conservative clothes.

‘Look at what she is wearing. When she bends down, you can see her breasts,’ he said, adding that he has seen prostitutes in Geylang who dress this way. He added that he might not have posted the comment if he had known she would see it, but that she should not have posted photographs of his family online. He said: ‘My wife feels really bad. This is between Xiaxue and me. She shouldn’t have attacked my family.’

This girl has a reputation of not giving a fuck, and whatever one’s position on such merciless revenge, this incident has unveiled the social cost of ridicule if you happen to step on the toes of someone immensely popular, while allowing yourself to be exposed via Facebook. Of course Xiaxue isn’t a ‘nobody’, some have even revered her as ‘a slice of Singapore’. Xiaxue.blogspot.com has even been archived by the National Library Board, somewhat like the Declaration of Independence from the National Treasure movie. A million light years from now, aliens will be downloading and translating her blog out of a time capsule and wondering what the ‘KNN’s scattered all over her posts mean.

Celebrities will be targetted from whatever portal there is available for mudslinging, should trolls choose to show their face or hide behind a cloak of anonymity. Most stars would ignore the verbal hooliganism, but Xiaxue has answered, somewhat defiantly, the ‘What if celebrities bite back?’ question. The very convenience of commenting on a Facebook  page or website without the hassle of registering and thinking of passwords has made people forget their place in cyberspace, that the target of their insults, especially one with the classic hallmarks of a narcissism complex (like everyone else who posts stuff on Facebook), is bound to find out through not just her loyal fanbase but from her haters as well. It’s time to finally figure out those privacy settings instead of checking out ex-flame photos, guys.

One could argue one has every right to throw baseless insults at the expense of people you hardly know in the name of ‘entertainment’.  In real life it’s called gossip, and celebrities used to take the slimeballing as part and parcel of the job, while some comedians do it for a living.   When a site claiming to be a ‘socio-political’ blog like TR encourages such behaviour with a seemingly innocuous ‘caption contest’, it’s obvious that you’re not going to get anything remotely ‘political’, witty or smart. I’ve seen the pic myself and all I could think of is whether one of the girls was a spokesperson for Pepsi Cola instead of a PAP supporter from the way her face was painted. One of the victims featured in the ST article even tried to deflect attention away from his prostitute insults by talking about Xiaxue’s BOOBS. It’s like you just dumped cowdung on someone’s head and then saying that you smelled like shit before that anyway. Not clever at all, man.

The web is no longer the venting channel we were once so used to where you can get away with snide, anonymous remarks, curse any saint, god, politician or grandmother you want and leave no trail behind. You could get charged for concocting hoaxes of NS men getting killed (via another ‘Temasek’ clone site), threatened for relaying some juicy tidbits about the PM’s brother(Temasek Emeritus), or blasted for inserting LOLs in all the wrong places. Hell, it’s much easier these days to get into trouble name-calling than downloading hardcore bestiality porn. Xiaxue decided to save on lawyer fees and instead dished out a characteristically bitchy mode of punishment, the online equivalent of catching a molester, pulling down his trousers, strapping him in public and having his wife and kids recoil in horror instead of calling the police. Not a pretty sight, but somehow painfully, worryingly effective. Xiaxue playing the avenging vigilante-angel card is likely to start a anti-bullying meme among blogger celebrities with a similar reputation for attracting all sorts of ‘whore’ accusations, that you’re no longer ‘pwned’ if your occupation, hobbies, innocent pets, embarrassing Bejewelled scores and ugly photos get leaked onto a revenge post, but ‘Xiaxued’. All you need are tens of thousands of followers and have a face that at least some men will get an erection to.

But isn’t Xiaxue herself guilty of flogging strangers, you say? Isn’t her meanness and sharp tongue the secret to her success ? In a 2007 post, she had a field day flaming the ‘7 most disgusting bloggers in Singapore’ , victims include the hapless Steven Lim (‘overhanging foreskin with smegma’),  Maia Lee (‘loserish’) and amateurs like Celeste Chen (‘attention whore’). In an attempt at satire she put herself in the list as well. So Xiaxue, of all people, in her ‘do onto others’ element, should expect to receive the same sort of treatment from those she chooses to be nasty to.  In 2005, someone was so offended by her he/she decided to hack her very bread and butter, her blog and e-mail accounts. Over New year in 2006, a netizen petitioned against her ‘racist’ post for a remark about foreign workers (banglas) molesting local girls at Orchard Road Xmas eve/New Year parties (Netizen petitons against blog, 29 Jan 2006, ST). Rival sex kitten blogger Dawn Yang slapped her with a lawyer’s letter for ‘defamatory remarks’ in 2008 (Xiaxue won’t say sorry to Dawn’, 23 July 2008, ST).

By putting random men in the spotlight and getting their families caught in ‘friendly fire’, Xiaxue seems undeterred from past experience and may be setting herself up for another round of hater retaliation. One of these guys may even file a police report for ‘harassment’, but I suppose that’s a risk she’s willing to take, just like these slap-happy morons who compared her to Miss XXX, underaged prostitute and asked for ‘prices’ while leaving their Facebook profiles open to scrutiny from not just Xiaxue herself, but their bosses and wives as well, like sticking an ang pow over your anus before a charging bull. People have mostly good things to say about her ‘heroics’, though.  AWARE treats her like some kind of Joan of Arc now, referring to her post as ‘EPIC’, just like nearly everyone else who read it. This incident also deserves a spot on Oprah because of how ‘You Go Girl-ish!’ it has all become.

Then I read that this woman is married and it makes me suddenly realise how woefully OLD I am. Ris Low, please don’t get any ideas, wherever you are.

Brastrap flash in Triumph ad a disservice to women

From ‘Not so triumphant for women’, 11 May 2012, Voices, Today online

(Tham Kun Moon): It was not too long ago that International Women’s Day was celebrated here and in many other countries. In the same month, an advertisement by an undergarment brand, in which the protagonist wowed her male audience by showing off that bit of her undergarment and appeared triumphant in the deal, aired regularly on the free-to-air channels.

It is pointless to celebrate the wonders and beauty of being a woman when old stereotypes persist. It is a disgrace and a disservice to women. To suggest that the modern woman succeeds on the merits of her undergarment is an insult to many women who rise up to the highest ranks in the corporate world, including several well-known ones locally.

( Ad could be this one below by Triumph. Who would have guessed?)

Nothing sweetens a deal like a little peek-a-boo, and as much as this depicts sultry women as wily go-getters, it also insults men as shallow creatures, that our executive functions are clouded by an exposed brastrap even if it’s flashed for less than a second. It’s like a cinema flick running subliminal split-second images to tell you that you want a hot dog. This ad may be a ‘disservice and disgrace’ to femininity but it merely dramatises a sullen truth that sex has been used, and will always be used, to secure deals, among other things worth getting. Countless movies have depicted women weaponising their cleavage to disarm violent criminals, escape from captivity or steal tiny keys from pockets, yet here we are, only on International Women’s Day, suddenly realising that there’s discrimination going on all this while. It’s like remembering we have someone to love on Valentine’s Day.

But wait, if you view the ad a couple more times, you’ll appreciate the context of what at first glance looks like a prelude to a striptease. The men were having trouble picking a colour scheme, and perhaps, by sheer coincidence, the bra’s shade of orange was EXACTLY what they had in mind. Or they just wanted to see a brastrap. Either way, both sexes are stereotyped, and an underwear ad without stereotyping is like a Burger King ad without fries.

Whether it’s a glimmer of a smile, affectionate touching, laughter or a winning bosom, sensual gestures will always influence the outcome of a sale or a payrise. A maximiser bra and a silly flash are just a few of the many flirtatious tools at a woman’s disposal, whether she’s conscious of her actions or not. Kudos to bosses who manage to see through the visual foreplay and make purely objective decisions without the reptilian brain being stimulated by primal mating signals (Or they could just be gay). It’s so hard to market underwear without pissing some women off. If you take the sexist messages away, you’ll have prudes complaining about topless models, or models unzipping their tops suggestively. At least the ad makers kept the scene restricted to a typical suit-and-tie corporate board room. If recent events are anything to go by, the ad would have been more accurate if it had been men in uniform discussing tenders of IT projects instead.

Super Import Nights too sexy

From ‘ Car show heats up with sexy bikini girls’, 4 May 2012, article in insing.com

Some are wondering if upcoming car show Super Import Nights (SIN), which features not just cars but also sexy girls, will prove too raunchy – especially for children. SIN is returning for the fourth time this year and will be held at the Singapore Expo from 25 to 27 May.

For the first time, the show is also organising a beauty pageant – Miss SIN Search 2012 – and inviting women to submit their photographs to the website. According to Shin Min Daily News, the pageant rules, first published in late April, required aspiring contestants to submit two kinds of photos; one of them clad only in a bikini, and another of them partying in a club.

As the result, many submissions depicting women in little or no clothing can be seen on the website. The flesh parade has raised the temperature in Internet forums. Cabelle Liew Sheryln commented: “Why so X-rated? Promoting cars or boobs? For a moment, I thought I’m looking at Playboy’s website.”

A Shin Min Daily News reader, housewife Wu Ning Jing, also pointed out that the show was offering tickets priced at $5 for children. The 41-year-old is concerned that children may attend the exhibition and “see things they shouldn’t”.

Bikinis and cars go together like ham and cheese. Today, the word ‘model’ has become standard double entrendre when it comes to car show displays.  Flashy cars have been linked to beautiful women since at least 1970, with the ‘Concours International d’Elegance’ motor show being staged at the appropriately titled Gay World, bringing together ‘the glittering status symbols of modern man’. You won’t see such sexist promotions anymore, but ‘race queens’ as they are known today, are wearing much less than their 70’s counterparts. Automobiles have been feminised by men for as long as anyone could remember. We call our toy ‘a beauty’, talk about her ‘sleek curves’, and how she ‘purrs’ when the engine is ignited.  Placing an actual female next to a car is merely extending its gender, maybe personality, into flesh and bone. In 1936, there was even a model called the ‘Hillman Minx’. In Kill Bill, the Bride calls her ride the ‘Pussy Wagon’.

Biker chic

In 1978, one lucky Lagonda was ridden by seven models during a fashion show at Mandarin Hotel. Even vintage cars that seem to have come right out of the Monopoly game get their share of the ladies.

Herbie is jealous

What would a motor show be without women then? Perhaps a ‘ringside magic show’, or a ‘dance band’ for entertainment (1965)? Steak without the sizzle, fireworks without the noise. Today, the car is not the only hardware that sells better with sex. Tech fairs selling smartphones, TVs, cameras, Playstations, tablets are all employing models to caress products with their fingers, though the likelihood of snaring a babe with every purchase is dismal compared to buying a car. Why didn’t we have such things during the days of VCR tape recorders and mini-compos? If only Borders had thought of this gimmick before they closed shop. The only way to promote the reading habit and sell encyclopedia these days is to have bikini models manning booths at book fairs. You can even make the Oxford Dictionary look sexy if you try hard enough.

Go go gadget gals

But what’s this about a ‘pageant’ then? If you have women vying for a title and using their sex appeal to outdo each other, who cares about the cars? Perhaps Super Import Nights is overselling its sideshow perks, and since it’s harder to be tempted into buying a car than a new set of speakers, having a bikini contest instead of the usual anonymous flesh parade is unlikely to boost sales at a motor show. In fact, with hordes of guys busy gawking and not browsing merchandise, it may even backfire on the organisers if the crowd of horny onlookers turns off genuine car buyers.

Here’s a list of strange things you can get a pretty lady to sell at trade fairs. Nope, no books still.

1) Mouse

2) Keyboard

3) Battery Grip

4) Stuff that look like they belong to another type of lifestyle fair

Facebook pictures photojacked onto porn sites

From ‘Facebook photo ends up on porn, dating site’, 30 April 2012, article by Irene Tham, ST

HOUSEWIFE Jules Rahim was shocked when a friend tipped her off last Wednesday that her photo was featured on a pornographic website. That was not the only unauthorised use of the picture of her in a bikini, which she had posted on her Facebook account three years ago.

Last Tuesday, another friend told her that the photo had also popped up on a dating site called sgGirls.com. It was accompanied by a caption which listed a telephone number to call and how much it cost to chat.

‘It’s embarrassing,’ said the mother of four children, aged one to 10. ‘People I know may think wrongly of me.’ Ms Rahim, 32, has filed two police reports – one about the porn site and the other about the dating site.

The Straits Times understands that at least two other Singaporean women have also discovered that their Facebook pictures have surfaced on these two websites. The three are victims of what is known as ‘photo-jacking’ – the act of stealing pictures from social media like Facebook and Twitter and exploiting them for use on, say, porn sites.

Tipping off a friend that her photo is being used in a porn site is an awkward admission of guilt that one surfs porn. If I were the victim, I wouldn’t know if I should thank him or give him a funny look. Worse things could happen if you’re a celebrity though; your pic may be photoshopped and superimposed over actual porn actors. Or you could be used as bait for ‘click-jacking’ pranks such as the Facebook ‘Fiona Xie sex video’ link which doesn’t lead you anywhere other than spreading the message to all your friends that you want to see Fiona Xie naked. Disappointment AND embarrassment.

Internet privacy has been a problem since the late nineties, when a similar site to Sggirls known as JCGirls  featured candid shots of girls in public (Harmless or has it invaded privacy?19 Oct 1999, ST) . Though there wasn’t any intention to shame or outrage the modesty of schoolgirls,  nor did the creators sell soiled panties on the side, it was an unspoken fact that this site was drawing a specific audience, mainly men in the ‘old enough to be your father’ demographic. When you let ‘netizens’ take over, it’s like giving a psychotic clown an lifetime’s supply of pies. I would rather have my face on a porn ad than being caught by some busybody Stomper in an embarrassing situation taken out of context. Getting Face-Stomped (tagged and linked in both sites) is the worst fate that could befall decent human beings. It’s like getting gang-raped by Alien and Predator, with the resultant offspring gnawing its way slowly out of your insides with the aid of a laser-guided cannon throughout the  incubation. But then again, males in general don’t have much of an issue being ‘photojacked’ in sex ads. In fact, if you tag our faces with a ‘I GREW 2 INCHES in a WEEK’, it may even be taken as a compliment.

You don’t have to be in a sultry bikini pose to get spotted by porn marketeers. Even wearing a seemingly innocent Minnie Mouse hat could have you mistaken by paedophiles for a Lolita prostitute in an online sex ring. If you’re not cute, nor have the body to flaunt, you could also get targeted if someone has a bone to pick with you; an ex-lover, a jealous colleague, or a complete stranger who simply doesn’t like what you put on your Facebook wall. Or you end up as a random target for someone who needed a convenient scapegoat.

You may also misuse photos as fronts for bad behaviour. In 2007, a couple of brats created wearemean.blogspot.com, a now defunct site that mocked people caught unawares in public. Interestingly, it’s not so much their snapping of random passers-by and commenting on their ugliness or dress sense that’s illegal (people currently do that all the time on STOMP), but impersonating other people on their blog using  their photographs without permission. If you’re cowardly enough, you could troll Facebook discussions logged in as somebody else. Sometimes, even your own spouse can’t be trusted when it comes to online misrepresentation.

Vicious rumours could also get you recognised for all the wrong reasons, as what the ‘mystery woman’ angle created by the media led to, with wild guesses and snapshots of innocent parties being tossed about in forums. Ironically, in the attempt to protect a key player in a scandalous tryst,  this has resulted in  several other people, minding their own business and having absolutely nothing to do with the case, becoming unnecessarily involved and suspect. Putting our reputations on the line online is the price we have to pay for the benefits of social networking, and privacy controls alone may not be guarantee that you’re safe from harm. Even people not on Facebook get caught in ‘friendly fire’, as long as people snap, post and comment, without even having to tag you in the process. Facebook narcissists are free to exhibit and pose in whatever they want, but if you decide to wear a Playboy bunny suit, intimate lingerie or lie on the beach nude for your FB profile pic, then you should expect to draw the wrong kind of attention.  I’m not sure whether it’s a good idea provoking the culprits and going public as what Ms Rahim has done here though. It has already sparked plenty of interest in the lady herself, no thanks to ST releasing a ‘porn-worthy’ image of her with face digitally masked, and in this climate of scandal, a censored face means instant fame/notoriety as one the top 10 search hits on Google trends Singapore.

No 8 on the charts 30 April 2012, same day as article

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