She may be a university student from a humble background, but everyone in China knows 苏紫紫. Her real name is Wang Yanyun 王嫣芸 and she does nude modelling with some socio-political agenda. The stir she created in China after she went public with her nude photos was probably matched only by Ai Weiwei’s antics.
Her vital statistics, according to Baidu are as follows:
Vital Statistics: 33-23-34
Birthplace: Hubei, Yichang
Occupation: Artist, undergraduate at Renmin University of China
D.O.B: 29th June 1991
Favourite star: Anita Mui
Hobbies: jogging, swimming
The nickname of 苏紫紫 first came to light when thought-provoking photos of a man in academic gown standing next to a nude model submerged in a glass tank filled with water went viral in China. The majority of netizens in China felt that she was just seeking attention like the many controversial bloggers out there. Some were very supportive of her artistic pursuits and like all those who are in the limelight these days, she has her fair share of haters.
Going back, 苏紫紫 hails from Hubei and her parents not only separated but abandoned her when she was just a toddler. Though her father won custody over her, she was brought up by her paternal grandparents under dire circumstances. In 2007, when she was just 16, she took part in teen modelling competition and won. Modelling became a means for her to earn a little extra pocket money. In 2009, her grandmother lost the use of her legs due to negligence on the part of the hospital staff. While pursuing her studies at Renmin University, she used the nickname 苏紫紫 and was modelling nude for 500 yuan per hour, apparently due to financial difficulties. Most of her nude photos remained in the private collection of photographers until photos of the glass tank shoot came to light.
Thankfully, the majority of Chinese netizens reserved judgement and saw her merely as someone making a living courageously. 苏紫紫 also claimed that she had quit “commercial” modelling and now does shoots only for artistic reasons. In a recent shoot, she had all the vitriolic comments that her haters hurled at her painted on her body. 苏紫紫 insists that she is not doing pornography. She plans to further her studies, but definitely not in China. Some of her most quotable views are:
I’ve embedded a couple of video clips showing 苏紫紫 bravely facing the media and her critics. By now, a question should come to many of my readers. What if it happens in Singapore? For the record, it has already happened. The winner if FHM Models 2012, Miss Jamie Ang had her nude photos leaked online. Another FHM Models finalist Jenell Ong also had her nude photos leaked online. Some time before this incident, Miss Ong made a police report against a certain website that identified her as one of the escorts featured in the online prostitution ring that got 48 men into trouble when they hired an underage prostitute.
Of course, these women are nowhere as brainy and charismatic as 苏紫紫, but even if we had this sort of talent, will she survive in Singapore? I would love to do her biography.
But in our dull, sterile, clean and safe environment, the moralists and concerned parents out there would not allow a public debate like what you see above to even materialise (my apologies for the split infinitive). Imagine a respectable academic who dares to tell us that the very fact that such things can go viral in the way it had is an indication that society is ill.
Why does Prof Shao Ying insist 苏紫紫’s photos are not art while admitting that his students produce similar works (considered art) without posting them on the internet? Doesn’t it sound a bit silly the deciding factor is whether you exhibit them on the internet?
There is one basic assumption that needs to be questioned here. Is art incapable of being erotic? Is pornography not art when it is done tastefully? Defining such pictures as art or pornography will probably only determine the legal consequences. Really, it doesn’t even matter what the “experts” say now. Standards change over time. Different people with different tolerances and fetishes react differently. Why do we need so many qualifiers and excuses to decide on what is acceptable?
Mr Chua Lam once commented that the willingness to take one’s clothes off for a fee (without excuses) is an innocent gesture. The willingness to pay to see that naked body (without excuses) is also an innocent gesture. It’s when people start giving excuses that guilt becomes evident. It’s when news and pictures go viral in spite of widespread condemnation that hypocrisy manifests.
Prof Zhang Ming has earned my respect. To a certain extent, I agree that 苏紫紫 does look good with her clothes on, but to insist that she keeps her clothes on because of that would be downright lame. Noodles are tasty, so you won’t eat rice because of that? Lettuce is tasty, so you won’t eat meat because of that?
新加坡人呢?是不是永远都是这副德行? If these folks think that China is bad, wait till they come to Singapore.
© Chan Joon Yee