Sometimes a piece of local news doesn’t get the attention it deserves because people are distracted by other events around the world like the killings in Norway, the train crash in China and the death of UK singer Amy Winehouse.
In Singapore last week, we were distracted by this poor guy from China who was vilified for making fun of Singaporeans in a YouTube video.
Mr Wang Peng Fei was expelled from his school and a police report was made against him. He has since fled the country.
I tried to watch the video so that I, too, could be outraged – but it was in Mandarin and being the potato-eating Chinese banana that I am, I could barely understand him.
And it’s not even the familiar Channel 8 drama Mandarin, but some hardcore super-fluent overseas Mandarin that made me feel even more inadequate.
There were no English subtitles or director’s commentary, but then I remembered I wasn’t watching a DVD.
If ever there was a time I wished my Mandarin didn’t suck so much ...
I gave up after five seconds, even though the video is almost four minutes long, which is an eternity when you don’t know what the hell he’s going on about.
So as much I would like to jump on the outrage bandwagon, my kindergarten-level Chinese comprehension skills simply didn’t allow me to.
I felt so left out.
Last week, Singaporeans were also a little distracted by football of all things.
The Singapore team beat Malaysia to make it to the next round of the World Cup qualifiers.
So unlike Mr Wang, China-born Singapore players Shi Jiayi and Chubby Qiu Li don’t have to flee the country.
But if Singapore had lost... who knows?
So anyway, what was the piece of local news that deserved more attention but was overshadowed by the Singapore-Malaysia football rivalry and a YouTube video I couldn’t understand?
On Thursday, The Straits Times reported: “A fetishist who gets a sexual thrill out of riding other people’s motorbikes was spared a prison sentence for theft.”
I had to read that more than once just to make sure I got it right: So running loose out there somewhere is some perverted freak who gets off on riding stolen motorcycles?
Now don't you think that's big news?
I believe it was the first I time I had ever seen the word “fetishist” in The Straits Times. Or possibly anywhere else for that matter.
The paper said that the 48-year-old man was diagnosed with the fetish more than 20 years ago. As a teen, he experienced sexual pleasure while riding his uncle’s bicycle.
And we wonder why Singapore’s birthrate is falling.
He later graduated to stealing motorcycles and has landed in jail at least three times since the mid-90s.
So when he’s riding a stolen motorbike, does he wear both a helmet and a condom?
Hey, you can never be too careful.
Last week, he was just placed on two years’ probation for stealing a Honda at Marina Bay Sands.
Did they try to take him to motorcycle fetish rehab and he said no, no, no?
But you know what I find most shocking of all?
The “fetishist” isn’t The New Paper’s Biker Boy Zaihan Mohamed Yusof.
Can a man love motorcycles too much?
Remind me never to ride pillion with him.
- Published in The New Paper, 31 July 2011
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