Before I go to what’s new, let me tell you an old story. Like all old stories, it’s not only familiar but also often repeated. An uncle walks into a dental clinic and furiously told the folks in there that he was going to complain. His wife’s chrome denture had a clasp that had broken off. That was very likely the result of the user trying to bend it to her liking using a pair of pliers.
Anyway, Mr Angry said that he was going to complain to MOH about the dentist’s malpractice and would also be submitting the broken denture to the lab at HSA to test for toxic substances and he even threatened to sue. Needless to say, he also went on social media with the sensational story of how a metal denture that can suddenly fall apart. Later that day, when the staff at the clinic was still recovering from the shock of that angry blast, Mrs Angry (who was not angry at all), called up and apologised on her husband’s behalf. It was her mistake for trying to DIY the adjustment. Her husband, according to her, was suffering from Sudden Loss of Power Syndrome.
You see, Mr Angry used to be a mean and hardnosed inspector with a certain government regulatory board. Like some army RSM, he enjoyed being hated sometimes but feared always. After his retirement, he couldn’t get used to losing his authority over people. For his new unpaid occupation, he would go around his estate every morning and look out for people saying the “wrong” things, safety lapses of workers at worksites (even when there were none), “offensive” or “misleading” advertisements, noisy buses, people talking in the library and make calls to every governing body he knew.
You can imagine how he would go to town with a broken denture. For such a highly regulated country like Singapore, there is always some official authority to call if you are unhappy with something. This is not a Lee Bee Wah story. There are many people like Mr Angry out there, anxious make up for their Sudden Loss of Power. Because they actually enjoy what they are doing, you can’t be sure whether they are happy or unhappy. Given Mr Angry’s loudness and tenacity, it doesn’t matter whether he represents the majority or the minority.
So what’s new in 2022? The Mr Mookata shop on Liang Seah Street in Bugis had collaborated with Asia Farm Beverages to hire four handsome, muscular guys to serve drinks to customers on 8 January 2022 and 15 January 2022. On the very first evening of this promotion on Saturday, someone had already reported the restaurant to the police after apparently mistaking the hunky staff for “naked exhibitionists”. The restaurant owners said that they were “slightly shocked” that the police were called on them. Slightly shocked? Yao mo gao chor ah? Why should anyone be shocked; not by the shirtless men but by the one who complained? With an event so “visible”, it’s only a matter of time that someone here calls the police. History repeats itself.
I’m not sure if you still remember, but something like that has happened before in December 2011. In keeping with its tradition here more than 10 years ago, Abercrombie and Fitch employed a bevy of hunks to stand shirtless outside their flagship store at Knightsbridge Mall (270 Orchard Road) to promote the brand. Unsurprisingly, the publicity stunt generated a lot of excitement and attention. Many curious Singaporeans proved that they are not that shy by approaching the hunks to have their photos taken with them. I was there myself and everyone young and old, male or female was fascinated by the “scene”.
Then, some people complained. The brand had allegedly pushed the boundaries in all the wrong ways by choosing to hire a team of attractive in-store greeters who were known as ‘models’ to stand shirtless at the door and welcome customers. Guess who complained? I wouldn’t know, but I would certainly not be surprised if Mr Angry is one of them. These folks could be in a small minority, but given their tenacity, which governing body would dare to tell them that their complaints are frivolous? It’s tough arguing with someone on a moral high horse. The virtue-signalling spreads like fire. Those who wish to appear virtuous fall right into place. The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) jumped on the bandwagon and slammed A&F’s for its “hiring policy” being discriminatory by placing a premium on good looks”. Yao mo gao chor chor ah? Are we denying human nature and business wisdom for the sake political correctness?
Anyway, the promotional effort was suspended by (yet another virtue-signalling organisation) the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore ASAS (pronounced ah-sas or as-as?) for breaching “local guidelines on decency”. The wisdom of the civil service. You always stand with the moronic moralists if you don’t wish to argue or take responsibility for any possible consequences.
The authorities could say, “I followed your bible. I can’t be faulted.” Would anyone be as robust about defending the freedom to let promoters stand shirtless on the street? No. We need to give way to moralists who need to say something and those who have not recovered from their Sudden Loss of Power?
Fortunately, Andy Lau does not have to advertise to fans that he’s going to take his shirt off on stage during the concert. He wows his fans, word just gets around and more turn up at his concerts to watch him stri … I man sing. Will he sell a lot more tickets by taking off his shirt? Certainly. Will anyone complain? Probably not because concerts like this are probably out of Mr Angry and the moronic moralists’ scope.
Some time ago, there was a piece of news about swimsuit competitions being taken out of Miss America. Instead of having contestants parade around on stage in bathing suits, the new program (rebranded as “Miss America 2.0”) will include a “live interactive session with judges,”
That’s according to the Miss America Organisation, where contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be asked to talk about their passions and how they would uphold their title of Miss America. The organisation is also reportedly ditching the evening gown portion of the program. Instead, organisers will allow participants to slip into something that makes them feel “more confident and comfortable” while expressing their personal style. Boomz?
Yao mo gao chor ah?
Is that going to make women more respectable? Who wants to show so much skin on TV without getting paid for it? Depriving the curious watchers is only going to empower women to show their swimsuit pics and attract more curious followers on their own Instagram or even Only Fans accounts. The other day, a person mocked Titus Low’s fans for paying to see porn, boasting that he knows where all the free porn is. Well, the “beauty” of censorship or showing yet not revealing is that it attracts the curious. Why do YouTubers and Instagrammers make money from platforms like Only Fans? It’s because these folks (who may include Miss America or any beauty pageant that doesn’t feature swimsuits) have a huge fanship that has only seen them clothed. Porn stars are just nobodies. There is good reason for people to pay to see influencers naked and that’s how the Miss America pageant without a swimsuit competition can make the participants’ swimsuit photos, disseminated outside the official platform so valuable.
Let’s get real. Political correctness cannot change human nature. It’s not easy to legalise with safeguards, but that’s the only feasible way to manage lust and curiosity. However, It’s much easier to preach virtues and promote bans. The illusion of a conservative society is projected by all the folks shouting down on us from their moral high horses. Stand with them and you’ll look virtuous and it pays. That’s why there are retired porn stars who have made a complete U-turn to denounce their former career to look virtuous and popular in their new “career”. In a way, they are bit like the Mr Angrys who have suffered from a Sudden Loss of Power syndrome.