Esplanade promoting bestiality with man on a chicken sketch

From ‘Esplanade to take down Vincent Leow artwork after kerfuffle’, 6 June 2018, article by Justin Ong Guang-Xi, Today

The Esplanade will be removing a sketch showing the back of a naked man on top of a chicken from its exhibition walls, after the artwork sparked an online furore.

In a statement by Esplanade’s chief executive officer-designate Yvonne Tham on Wednesday (June 6), the performing arts centre said it came to this decision following a discussion with Mr Vincent Leow, the artist featured in the exhibition BLANK at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

…Facebook Group Singaporeans Defending Marriage and Family accused the Esplanade in a Tuesday post of “promoting bestiality” by featuring the work in a public space. The group noted that the exhibition, which spans the school holidays, is located near a children’s art space and play area.

Several parents and passersby interviewed by TODAY on Tuesday also expressed concern. A 69-year-old retiree, who gave her name only as Madam Chan had said: “We don’t want to see our children being exposed to this. Their values will be shaken. They will find that there is a new norm appealing to people.”

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I believe there’s a long history of naked people sitting on animals.

Lady Godiva, for example, strode through town riding a horse.

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There are also stock images aplenty of man-gods straddling their noble steeds.

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Ancient folklore and mythology is chockfull of twisted human-beast carnal affairs. Men falling for and marrying demon snakes. Cow-head monsters seducing peasant women. Adolescents seeded by wolf-fairies in their sleep. Children borne out of forbidden pairings between mer-men and milk maidens. In the realm of sci-fi/fantasy we have mutant alien spawn, gods inseminating mortals, orcs gang-raping elves, Jaba the Hutt keeping Princess Leia as sex slave. It’s the bane and beauty of the human imagination. We have such an intimate kinship with creatures big and small that it’s inevitable we’ll develop attachments that go beyond domestication and consumption.

So the only reason why Singaporeans defending Marriage and Family would think nasty bestiality thoughts about a naked man on anything other than a horse, like a chicken, for example, is because it seems easier to penetrate a innocent bird. It also doesn’t help that a synonym for chicken is cock. Wonder what they would say if it wasn’t a clucking bird but a dragon or a dinosaur for example. After all, a donkey could have babies with a dragon, according to Shrek. So such inter-species consummations are fine but man-roosters are creations of the Devil?

Without preconceived notions about what depraved people do in barns when Farmer Joe isn’t looking, Vincent Leow’s art is, in essence, a man astride a slightly distraught looking rooster. A work that a child may find amusing, while a grown-ass adult with repressed sexual anxieties would find it utterly detrimental to the moral fibre and ‘norms’ of this society. Because clearly anyone who sees this profane image would be struck with the urge to trawl through Lim Chu Kang in the middle of the night looking for chicken butts to rape and leave a trail of semen-stained feathers all over the coop.

Poultry of the world thank you for your concern. Maybe you guys should change your FB name to Singaporeans Defending Chickens’ Virginity.

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Tangs having frying pan promotion on International Women’s Day

From ‘Department store TANGS panned for offering discounts on Women’s Day’, 10 March 2017, article in Today.

A popular Singapore retailer came under fire on Thursday (March 9) for “trivialising” International Women’s Day by cooking up a promotion offering cut-price frying pans. The department store chain TANGS marked the day, which falls on March 8 and is observed across the globe by women pushing for greater equality, by discounting a range of items, including two frying pans.

Other deals included beauty products, high heels and shavers.

The retailer sent out a promotional email to customers with the S$38 frying pan offers listed at the top, according to Marketing magazine. The deals were still listed on TANGS website on Thursday.

Campaigner Ms Jolene Tan said the promotion appeared to overlook the struggle of women in the city-state, who are pushing for better representation in company boardrooms.

“International Women’s Day is a day to honour the struggles of women for equality, safety and respect,” said Ms Tan, head of advocacy and research at Singapore’s Association of Women for Action and Research.

“Sadly, too many retailers present it as a consumerist event to be trivialised through sales and discounts rather than attention to the serious issue of gender equality.”

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If there ever were an International Men’s Day, and Tangs decided to have bargains on six-pack beers, remote controls, Crocs and cycling shorts, not only would NO ONE complain, but it would be a total non-event because men and shopping go together like AWARE and flour rollers.

So, what should retailers do to contribute to the recognition of women’s ‘place in the boardroom’? Discounts on designer power suits? Special edition name card holders? Wouldn’t that ignore other no less steely women like the the grandmother who’s also a taijiquan master, our Paralympian swimmers, nurses, Mother Theresa? Would Bollywood Veggies’ head honcho Ivy Singh-Lim call Tangs out for not having sales on potted plants and daisies? If these don’t apply, then International Women’s Day should really be renamed as ‘Alpha-women Day’, or better still, ‘AWARE day’.

For ages, the kitchen has been cast as a symbolic prison for the female of the species. Gone are the days of corsets and chastity belts, and women are referred to as the ‘weaker sex’. Though we had a minister who once said he would rather women spend money on mammograms over a trip to the salon, overall we still live in an era of ‘girl power’. The best selling artistes in the world are women, pop culture is awash with strong female characters, from Dragon Queens in fantasy epics to zombie hunters facing down the Apocalypse to goddamn nasty aliens.  We spend more on Mother’s than Father’s Day. Yet here we have feminists, in the face of a grim economic outlook, slamming deals on household items, footwear and cosmetics, because apparently women are not supposed to benefit from them on Women’s Day. Because the frying pan is the yoke that chains a woman to a livelihood of servitude. Throw away that apron, woman, and join the Sisterhood of the Travelling (Office) Pants.

Congrats Tangs, you just made yourself on the list of nominees for the ALAMAK AWARDS. Imagine the blood that would be spilled if they had offered promos on THIS instead.

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Xiaxue calling K-pop boyband trannies

From tweet by Xiaxue, Feb 25, 2017

 

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Girls who are boys
Who like boys to be girls
Who do boys like they’re girls
Who do girls like they’re boys
Always should be someone you really love

– Blur, Girls and Boys

In one tweet, Xiaxue – still at it all these years – has managed to offend not just the K-pop cult, but some members of the LGBTQ movement who consider the word ‘tranny’ derogatory. Well, what alternatives could she have used if the tweet was intended as an insult?

Bapoks? Pondans? Transvestities? Ladyboys? Shemales? Ah Kuas? Queers? Nope. Would ‘cross-dressers’ deliver the same punchline? Probably not. ‘Sissies’ sounds old fashioned, the kind of insult your granduncle would have used on the 80’s sensation New Kids on the Block.

OK how about the politically correct terms. Transgender? Transexual? Or the bewildering ‘non-binary‘, a term that seems to describe calculators rather than actual human beings. If she had said ‘look like a bunch of girls’, it may even be taken as a compliment, because maybe these performers DO want to look like girls. Neither would you use ‘drag queens’ because these kids are nowhere as fabulous. And it would be an insult to Kumar.

So yes, in order for the insult to ‘work’ and since no celebrity is immune to insult, Xiaxue decided to use ‘tranny’, which to me has the same borderline effect as referring to someone as ‘cheena’ without coming across as a blatant racist. Would LGBT people find it offensive if I say to a ‘cisgender’, straight person ‘that shirt makes you look gay’? Or ‘That hairstyle makes you look like a butch’? Why can’t ‘tranny’ be an identifier like how people call others ‘geeks’, ‘weirdos’, ‘tai-tais’, ‘mummy’s boy’ or ‘gym-rats’ without someone flaming you for being an insensitive bigot?

If you need to point out a transgender in a crowd to another party, imagine the awkwardness of coming up with a description. Um, the guy wearing lipstick. The one in a dress with muscular arms. Would you even say the word ‘Transvestite/Transexual’?  Have we become so PC that you need to describe a trans individual carefully without making references to either gender? Like ‘You know – hand gesture – nudge nudge- wink wink’.

Being an experienced blogger who gets paid for attention, I’m sure XX knew what was coming when she threw the bait. Ultimately there are only 2 people in the world to stand to gain from this silly altercation: XX herself and the ‘Tranny’ Band from Korea.

 

Naked Ladies and Undressing Room censored by IMDA

From ‘Two plays at upcoming M1 Fringe Festival exceed R18 rating’

Two performances at next year’s M1 Singapore Fringe Festival will have to be changed or dropped after the Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) assessed that they contained excessive nudity.

In a statement on Friday (Nov 25), the IMDA said the two performances, Naked Ladies and Undressing Room, exceeded the R18 rating under the Arts Entertainment Classification Code (AECC) due to “excessive nudity which included scenes of audience-participants stripping naked, and graphic depictions of exposed genitalia”

…Naked Ladies and Undressing Room were singled out for criticisms in a Facebook post by a group called Singaporeans Defending Family and Marriage. The post questioned whether the festival was trying to pass off pornography as art.

Undressing Room, by Singapore dancer Ming Poon, is a one-to-one performance between the artist and a participant who will be challenged to bare all in a private space.

Naked Ladies is a performance lecture about the history of the naked female body by Canadian artist and academic Thea Fitz-James. She undresses during the performance and will be naked for large parts of the show.

In Ming Poon’s Undressing Room, a random member of the audience is brought into a private room where the performer proceeds to silently take off your clothes. R18 or not, I can’t imagine anyone participating in this awkward act while keeping a straight face, whatever your sexual orientation. The Singaporeans Defending Marriage and Family and its vivid imagination, however, proceeds to add ‘exploring each other (sic) naked body’ in its Facebook post, citing the work as an excuse for sexual assault. No sane artist will tear your clothes off for no reason and start, as Trump would say, grope you by the pussy, without risking jail. Incidentally, if people didn’t explore each others’ body naked, there would be NO FAMILY to defend.

More disappointingly, it took a complaint by a legion of prudes masquerading of saviours of humanity to prod the IMDA into making the cut. Would they have made the same call to Minsters to act on the ‘porn disguised as art’ cabaret show Crazy Horse back in 2005? Could this lot be anymore hypocritical about the harmful effects of sex and nudity on the national psyche – sharing a anti-nudity Facebook post in one tab, and discreetly surfing Pornhub in another? People like these are why we can’t have nice things, and instead of visiting museums and festivals and enjoying provocative art, we’re at home grilling the kids and promising them Nintendo DS consoles if they score more than 250 for their fucking PSLE.

But maybe it’s not about drawing a line between art and porn, but between art and crazy nudie stunt. The educated person’s Jackass if you will. Like stripping naked and asking an audience member to stare at you while you’re both sitting on custom-made toilet bowls, for instance.

In 2011, T Venkanna charged his audience $250 for posing with him while he was butt naked at the Art Stage MBS. According to the Singaporean Defenders of all things good and moral, this would be as close to ‘prostituting’ the arts sector as you can get.

Or this extreme WTF-ish piece that involves plopping eggs out of your vagina onto a canvas. I hear there are shows in Thailand where performers do similar vaginal stuff with drink cans.

It’s also arguable if you could classify snipping off your pubic hair for an audience as art. But maybe that’s what art, especially those that involve icky private parts, is supposed to convey, to stimulate internal monologues like: Hey, is this art? How does this make me feel? What am I doing here? I paid money for this? How abstract is that pair of glasses on the gallery floor?

Glasses (spectacles) placed on the floor in an art gallery at SFMONA as a prank by TJ Khayatan and his friend to see how people would react.

You’d figure anyone by the age of 18 years would be able to appreciate such conflicts without needing to see a psychiatrist for trauma. You’d think the smorgasbord of online porn would inure us from images of people unnecessarily touching themselves in all sorts of places in the name of art. But NOOOO, the IMDA still doesn’t think we’re discerning enough to handle such controversy, vindicating a Facebook group that also champions discrimination in the name of an illusory greater cause. This coming from a society where key leaders commit personal indiscretions despite their families, and bored married people pay for VPN tokens to sign up with still banned Ashley Madison.

Dress code for everyone in public places

From ‘Mind how we dress in public’, 8 July 2016, ST Forum

(Benjamin Sim Buke Huang): The case where a dentist was jailed for molesting an MRT passenger who was wearing shorts (“Dentist jailed 6 weeks for molesting woman on MRT”; July 2) reminds me of the kampung days, when adolescent girls were told by their parents not to wear hot pants or shorts in public.

The reasons given were that they were “too revealing” and did not reflect well on the girls’ modesty or upbringing. There is definitely a good case for today’s parents to relook how our adolescent girls – and adults, for that matter – dress when in public.

Women wear shorts to many places, even to places of worship. This shows a lack of respect for others as well as for the religion.

Perhaps there can be some dress code – for both men and women – when they are in public places.

There is already a Singaporean dress code in public places, and it entails a lot of shorts, spaghetti straps  and flip flops. Even if you wore jeans, long skirts or yoga pants you still risk being harassed in a crowded train.

While other readers were focussed on the fact that the molester was a dentist, the complainant decided to draw attention to what the victim was wearing, specifically mentioning ‘hot pants’. By linking the crime and the pants and proposing that people dress more decently in public, he’s suggesting that the woman may not have been groped had she not ‘ASKED FOR IT’. In other words, it’s the woman’s fault for dressing sexily and turning men, even dentists, into rapists and molesters. Which is exactly what some people in the 80’s believed, not to mention our ‘kampung’ parents who had the cheek to control what girls wear when they’re walking about in sarong without underwear. AWARE should be up in arms over this letter, and likely to argue that if men can’t control their base desires then the problem lies with them, not with a woman who decided to flash her fair, inner thighs because it makes her feel ’empowered’. Or because the weather’s just too damn hot.

Anyway, even if by some bonkers, dystopian ruling we end up all abiding by a universal dress code because hot pants are so damn dangerous, we all know what colour that will be.

 

MDA censoring two men kissing in Les Miserables

From ‘Same-sex kiss cut from Singapore staging of Les Miserables’, 11 June 2016, article by Chew Hui Min, ST

A kissing scene between two male performers has been removed from the staging of Les Miserables after complaints from the public. The Media Development Authority (MDA) confirmed that action was taken upon “receiving feedback from members of the public”.

The show, now on at the Esplanade, was given a ‘General’ rating as the same-sex kiss was not highlighted in the script when it was submitted for classification, MDA said. The Straits Times understands that kiss did not appear in performances from June 3.

The scene involved a brief peck during the song Beggars at the Feast. It was not in many other productions of the long-running classic. MDA said it reviewed the performance after receiving feedback from members of the public.

After being advised that the scene exceeded its ‘General’ rating, the producers decided to remove it, MDA said. Earlier, Facebook user Alvin Ng posted in a Facebook group that he wrote to MDA to complain about the scene.

He wrote in a June 1 post that he saw the kiss in the second last scene during the opening performance of Les Miserables.

“This was never in the original production but now it’s been included here,” Mr Ng pointed out. He also appealed for others to lodge complaints too, if they saw the scene in other Les Miserables performances. On June 10, he posted that MDA has liaised with the producers of the show to remove the scene.

Do you hear the people complain?

The Facebook group in question is ‘We are Against Pink Dot Singapore’, and the exact words used by Alvin Ng was ‘gay kiss’. Though the play is set around 1832, I’m pretty sure ‘gay’ isn’t used here in the same context as ‘happy’. Also, clearly we’re not comfortable with people pushing boundaries. Sometimes we cut them off completely, like the boundary between Government email and the Internet. Am I right, IDA?

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Maybe MDA should ban the entire Beggars at the Feast song too, for it contains some lyrics that would offend morality ‘watchmen’ (as some commenters have praised) like Alvin Ng, such as:

Here comes a prince/There goes a Jew/This one’s a QUEER/But what can you do

It also contains the words ‘buggers’ and ‘blowing’. Yep. Just ban it, MDA, and while you’re at it, you could collaborate with IDA to ban the segment videos from Youtube too. After all, you stopped Ah Mei from singing a song about rainbows.

Personally not a fan of Les Miz, though I did catch the film version starring Borat, Wolverine and Catwoman, but there was no hint of homoeroticism in there at all, just a lot of shouty chest-thumping singing and people raising muskets. Wait a minute, isn’t this whole French revolution thing about ‘pushing boundaries’?

MDA did not elaborate on the context of the ‘brief peck’, whether it was on the lips, forehead or on the cheeks, but label it as a ‘same-sex kiss’ and it becomes grossly distorted from something cheeky, even ‘bromantic’, to a full-blown pro-family, anti-LGBT, pink-dotty issue likely to rile both camps into another futile war. There was also a controversial, impromptu ‘same-sex’ kiss between two actresses during a Star Awards some years back. Not sure if Alvin Ng was complaining then. Those two ladies still have their jobs, and I don’t see the Star Awards producers making sure that men only sit next to women to minimise the risk of any gay kissing whatsoever.

The whole point of a ‘General’ rating then, is that the show is suitable for children, though I don’t see how Les Miz would appeal to young impressionable minds.  What MDA, and the anti-Pink Dot people, should be worried about, really, is same-sex gratuitousness in CARTOONS.

Spongebob kisses Squidward on his nob. DISGUSTING.

Tom and Jerry same-sex slow dancing? UNACCEPTABLE

Who would have thought Bugs Bunny would be a serial sex-sex kisser as well. JUST LOOK AT THIS WASCALLY WABBIT DOING QUEER SHIT!

Smooching Yosemite Sam

Marrying Elmer Fudd. Oh the humanity!

Perhaps in their next run the Les Miz producers should not only ensure they comply with the licensing conditions by removing suggestively gay scenes, or better still rename their play to ‘Miserables’ without the suggestive ‘Les’ in it too. You can push your boundaries elsewhere.

Singles village for the unmarried to find love

From ‘Build singles village to help young people get hitched’, 16 March 2016, ST Forum

(Chua Boon Hou): While I respect the decision of those who have opted to remain single, a check with my single friends revealed that most of them did not choose to be so (“More young people staying single“; last Friday). Our working schedules are so packed that we simply cannot find the time or opportunity to meet other singles.

We have to think out of the box to increase the odds of a meeting exponentially. Most of my friends got attached during their university days, when they stayed in hostels and had chances to mingle in places like the canteen and library.

Hence, building a singles’ village would be a good way to go. For this to work, a lot of criteria will have to be fulfilled.

First, the rent to stay in the village must not be high. However, the term of rental should be restricted to two years as singles are there to find love, not access cheap housing. Second, these rental units have to be small or even shoebox-size. We do not want those staying there to be too comfortable with living alone.

Wi-Fi or other entertainment should not be provided in the units. Those who want to watch TV or surf the Internet will have to go to community halls. All day-to-day activities, such as laundry, must be done in public places, so that singles will have the chance to meet and chat with strangers.

There can also be meetings or outings planned every weekend, or even every night. At the end of the day, even if one does not leave the village with a soulmate, one will leave with more friends than before.

Thanks Chua Boon Hou for giving me an idea for a YA dystopian novel. This is the synopsis.

2049. It is one year to SG100, the hundredth anniversary of Yewtopia, the city-state formerly known as Singapore. Project Red Seed, the covert supplementation of the citizens with the novel hormone Ovaryn to boost the birth rate has led to an unexpected rash of sudden deaths. Desperate to repopulate the country, the Silver Council has rounded up all the unmarried into enclaves for birthing, while their elderly parents are summoned to the National Sanctuary where they will be placed under temporary hibernation. Failure to consummate whilst in residency would be punishable by a 6 month compulsory service to the Seedlot as subjects for the Annual Procreation Harvest, where subjects essentially serve as living sperm and egg farms.

Selected for residency is 25 year old Ban Hock, who was sacked from work for a minor ‘personal indiscretion’ on the pretext of making up the numbers at New Bidadari, a village modelled after every Luddite’s fantasy. Without the Internet or contact with the outside world, residents were forced to attend procreation programs. Trapped in the routine of  awkward conversation, campfire games and the dreaded Laundry Hour, Hock, with the help of like-minded rebels; a giant with the face of a murderer but a heart of gold, a 40 year old spinster with a history of horrific ex-boyfriends and a secret transgender, plan their escape from their prison. The Ministry of Family, Fertility and Social Services, on the other hand, already has a contingency plan in place against those unwilling to serve the nation’s Prime Motive, with devastating consequences. Spearheaded by the cunning Vice minister of State and Tiger Mum Violetta Dranker, Hock and company would find themselves the target of the ‘Love Mercenary’ known only as the ‘Matchmaker’, an agent deployed only when all other programs fail.

Will Hock and his motley crew break free of the Ministry’s clutches, or will they succumb to the intoxicant of love and resign to a life of manufactured matrimony?