Singa the Lion’s quitting in bad taste

From ‘Singa quitting sends the wrong message’ 16 May 2013, Voices, Today

(Tay Yong Hong): The advertisement yesterday of the letter to all Singaporeans from our kindness mascot Singa may have been meant in humour, but it was in bad taste.

Singa the Lion also represents Singapore, and how can Singapore or Singaporeans quit? What signal are we sending to our children? That because we cannot get things done our way, we just quit?

Singa’s departure should be reconsidered. Maybe he needs a sidekick to help him; MediaCorp artiste Gurmit Singh should be a good choice.

Singa the Lion was conceived in 1982 as a courtesy mascot to represent the ‘ideal, nice Singaporean’. In his earlier incarnations, Singa did send mixed messages to the public about his true mission, mainly because he looked like a drug addict A&W bear than someone you can trust to escort your grandmother across the road.

Like, courtesy is groovy, dude

Like, courtesy is groovy, dude

In Singa’s ‘resignation’ letter, he revealed that he was ‘too tired to continue facing an increasingly angry and disagreeable society‘, and judging by the state of kindness in Singapore today, you could say with 30 years in the business, zero career progression and without the pleasure of seeing your efforts bearing fruit, stepping down would be the ‘honourable’ thing to do. Disgraced Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer may relate to that. It was a tough job right from the start, with Singa admitting to being ‘overworked’ from ‘bouncing out of his den’, ‘dancing’ and ‘BLOWING KISSES’ at a Scrabble competition in 1982.

It was later revealed that Singa’s last ditch plea for us to buck up on our graciousness was the Singapore Kindness Movement’s attempt at guilt-tripping us all(Singa the mascot may stage a comeback after ‘quitting’, 16 may 2013, ST), when the fact is no one ever could really relate to a Mr-Nice-Lion without his own origin story. Singa had become such a mute doormat of a pussy that he makes Winnie the Pooh look like a Tiger Mom in comparison.

In a letter to primary schools, Singa was supposed to ‘teleport’ to his home in ‘another universe far away’, which makes him an ALIEN with superpowers, and not a cowardly Singaporean quitter as what some believe. Which is apt because kindness today has become somewhat of a remote, foreign concept anyway. It also appears that in Singa’s faraway leonine universe, the creatures go to school, play soccer and speak with American accents, as the cartoon ‘Singa and the Kindess Cubbies shows us:

This isn’t the first time that Singa has been taken out of action to make us feel bad for ignoring his wise teachings. In 2009, he was actually KILLED off, with SMU students organising a wake over 2 weeks to honour our beloved mascot, coffin and all. No one mentioned how he died, but his death and eventual rebirth has a dramatic biblical ring to it. It’s like how comic artists kill off heroes like Superman to boost sales, only to resurrect them in later issues with some convenient plot device when they realise they can’t find anyone else to replace the Man of Steel. Likewise, the SKM’s probably out of ideas for an alternative Face of courtesy, but at least come up with a more interesting reason for his resurrection, like he’s from another universe so he’s probably got magic healing powers of immortality or something. Either way, it’s still emotional manipulation. It’s like telling a kid Santa Claus crashed into the sea and drowned because the present he requested was too heavy for Rudolph to manage.

If the SKM is serious of deploying Singa as a symbol of courtesy, they should make our kids actually CARE about him, which means more than making him cuddly enough to collect as a free Happy meal toy at McDonald’s. Slot him in before animation movies to educate the young about handphones in the cinema. Give him a cameo in Ah Boys to Men 3 to tell off NSmen nicely whenever they swear. Employ him at IT shows to remind customers to stop shoving. Give him a Facebook page, or put him in a mobile app game. Anything but a Phua Chu Kang collaboration, which would surely send poor, misunderstood Singa six feet under, or shooting off into the darkest regions of space again, never to return to this godforsaken land.


3 Responses

  1. […] Singapore’s courtesy lion and then mascot for kindness since 1982 has resigned. Complaining against an “increasingly angry and disagreeable society” the lion felt it’s time […]

  2. […] Singapore’s courtesy lion and then mascot for kindness since 1982 has resigned. Complaining against an “increasingly angry and disagreeable society” the lion felt […]

  3. […] Singapore’s courtesy lion and then mascot for kindness since 1982 has resigned. Complaining against an “increasingly angry and disagreeable society” the lion felt it’s time […]

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