Recently, I was called into “The Castle” (as Kafka called it) to receive a polite but insistent reminder to keep our ads wholesome (referring to the massage and chatline ads) while being told there had merely been some citizen feedback and no clear violation. The interlocutors were friendly and polite and it was nice talking to them… When I read the guidelines which I’m supposed to sign to acknowledge that I understood, it spelled out clearly again the need for “wholesome” imagery which doesn’t appeal to prurient interests or promote deviant or homosexual lifestyles.
I had to ponder on what they meant for deviant, just who is the moral arbitrator who decides this matter, and how are they eminently qualified to decide… it kind of reminds me of that old Oingo Boingo song about what people do behind closed doors often being the one thing they persecute others for.
I had to wonder about the wisdom of this policy however, against making people horny or turned on, especially when the powers that be are so urgently urging people to procreate… but perhaps the lack of titillation puts people out of the mood for sex, which is blessedly they state they need to be in to make babies! SEX!!! (Or the promise of it) is what drives humankind’s perpetual humping machine onwards. It should not be restricted, nay, it should be celebrated, by all!
And as for homosexuality, (and I’m speaking as a hetero here, if I want a penis, I have one already, thank you), humans are deviant from the norm of species on earth, who all engage in it one time or another…. think about that.
Another, more fun experience, involves dancing, which I’ve come to learn is a form of expression which requires a permit, as if expressing yourself through ritual body movements without a permit is a danger to the state.
Yes, I speak of the Public Entertainment License, which lumps acrobats and circus performers together with guitarists, jazz musicians, jugglers and two people grooving to music in a bar together in the requirement that the place has a permit.
Yes, that’s right, the place you shake your booty at needs PERMISSION first for you to do that. How on earth could this law have come into existence, and with the desire to reshape Singapore into a vibrant entertainment hub, it is the first thing that should be ABOLISHED!
Moving on to the social lubricants (and check out the great article “Rotgut Man” in this issue), the high price of alcohol here creates a nation of irresponsible drinkers.
I lived in Prague, a place where 10 year olds can go to the pub and get their father a jug refill for about $3US, (they knock back more than any other nation – an incredible 160 litres per man, woman and child a year, or half a litre daily).
And because alcohol isn’t such a status symbol or forbidden fruit, they drink much more responsibly. I personally believe the high price makes binge drinking more attractive, but hey, at least someone’s getting a lot of taxes.
And speaking of taxes, the move to restrict smoking even more in Singapore, because of “the high cost of those who smoke and inevitable get sick”, I say wait-a-minute! Where exactly is that ten-dollar a pack tax going, if not for the smoker’s lung replacements? Jeesh, I’m outta here…