Sunday 29 June 2014

Real reason cops stopped street screening of World Cup?

It is clearly an issue that has divided the nation.

What started as a simple gathering of folks from different walks of life coming together for a common cause turned into a major controversy in Singapore last week.

There are those who are against it. There are those who support it. There are those who couldn’t care less.

What it comes down to is compassion versus the law. Community versus authority. Openness versus intolerance. Us versus them. Argentina versus Nigeria. (Sorry, World Cup overdose.)

It’s about The Powers That Be crushing the Little Guy like a butterfly on a wheel, even though the Little Guy was only trying to help his fellow butterflies.

Or maybe moths are a better analogy, since I’m still seeing those damn bugs all over the place.

Actually, “A butterfly on a wheel” is the title of an article in The Economist about Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation suit against former Tan Tock Seng Hospital patient coordinator Roy Ngerng, which the PM’s press secretary rebutted recently.

Butterfly On A Wheel also happens to be the title of my favourite song by UK goth band The Mission, led by a guy who used to be in another great UK goth band, The Sisters Of Mercy.

Which makes me wonder if the person who wrote the headline for The Economist article is a goth fan. I’m assuming the PM’s press sec is not.

But I’m not talking about Mr Ngerng.

I’m also not talking about the Pink Dot event at Hong Lim Park yesterday, which encountered opposition from religious groups.

A Wear White movement was started to protest against the Pink Dot event.

But what if you’re a black-wearing goth fan who wants to join the anti-gay movement? Would wearing grey be a suitable compromise?

And it seems homophobic goth fans are not the only ones facing a sartorial dilemma when it comes to picking what colour to wear.

On Friday, my man-crush and Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng pondered on Instagram: “What to wear for tomorrow’s rice distribution? Red, white or blue top.”

At first, I thought it was just his subtle way of reflecting on which side to take on the gay issue, but then I realised pink wasn’t one of the colour options.

Maybe it was just his subtle way of reflecting which team to support in the World Cup.

Well, he could wear all three colours and root for Chile in their match against Brazil.

But which hue you hew to is not the issue I’m pursuing here.

The issue I’m talking about that has divided the nation is whether the cops should have busted up a makeshift outdoor showing of the Argentina-Nigeria World Cup match in Balestier on Thursday night.

Folks from different walks of life had gathered outside a house on Sing Avenue for a common cause – watching a football game on TV for free.

But the police were against it, citing safety concerns.

There are those who supported it, citing the community spirit.

There are those who couldn’t care less, citing having better things to worry about, like wearing the right colour top.

The Little Guy being crushed by The Powers That Be is 24-year-old Rooban Kanth, who had set up his 42-inch LCD TV on the street to share his love for The Beautiful Game.

Where did he think he was? Hong Lim Park?

About 80 World Cup fans reportedly assembled outside Mr Kanth’s home.

Fewer people than that have been arrested in the past for unlawful assembly.

Some have criticised the police for overreacting. I mean, it’s not like anyone bit anyone’s shoulder.

But I believe I may have figured out the real reason the cops stopped the screening.

It was because Mr Kanth was forcing those 80 people to watch the game on a microscopic 42-inch TV!

What are we? Animals?

My eyes hurt just thinking about it. Are we still living in the 90s?

Come on, Mr Kanth lives in a terrace house. Couldn’t he afford at least a 60-inch TV?

I just saw one on sale at Courts for less than $1,500.

I’m not even going to ask whether he provided a 2.1 soundbar.

And why stop at just World Cup games?

If Mr Kanth should ever decide to screen a three-movie Transformers Blu-ray marathon for people before they watch Age Of Extinction, I’m there.

But for that, I expect no less than a 5.1 surround sound system.

I’ll even wear my Optimus Prime T-shirt.

It’s blue.

- Published in The New Paper, 29 June 2014

UPDATE: The Baey wore white. Does it mean...?