Sunday 16 October 2016

You can take the SIN out of Singapore, but you can't take out the sin

I guess we can now cast the first stone.

At least at international sporting events.

Last month, Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) announced on its Facebook page: “Our NOC code is now ‘SGP’ instead of ‘SIN’. In line with the United Nations (UN) / International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) official 3-letter country code.”

Yes, we are finally without SIN.

Fortunately, legalised online gambling isn’t one of the seven deadly ones.

But lust is.

Thirty National University of Singapore (NUS) students were punished for “disorderly and offensive behaviour” and “organising and participating in improper orientation activities that potentially put other students’ physical welfare at risk” during the freshman orientation period.

What kind of “disorderly and offensive behaviour”?

To quote Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung: “Pretending to ejaculate into the face of a fellow student.”

Hey, at least, it was just “pretending”.

But NUS wasn’t the only local tertiary institution in the news last week for the sins of its undergrads.

Perennially behind NUS in world rankings, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) wasn’t going to let NUS corner the market on students behaving badly.

On Thursday, a male NTU student was caught allegedly taking videos of other male students in the shower.

NTU campus newspaper The Nanyang Chronicle reported that 66 videos of male students showering were found on the phone of the 24-year-old suspect, who is a final-year student from the National Institute of Education.

Wait, the National Institute of Education? You mean, this voyeur was going to be a teacher?

The operative word being “was”, I hope.

The Nanyang Chronicle also quoted the residence hall president as saying: “We strongly advise all residents in every hall, no matter their gender, to be careful when they shower or use the washroom.”

Careful when showering? I already have enough on my mind, concentrating on not dropping my soap and bending down to pick it up.

“No one is safe,” the residence hall president added. “So bathe quickly and be observant of the openings in the toilet cubicles.”

But what if you’re not the Usain Bolt of bathing?

The only way to be really safe is to skip showering and going to the toilet at NTU altogether.

But isn't this a form of victim-blaming?

Instead of telling students to be careful when they shower, shouldn’t students be told not to take videos of other students showering?

Even though the possible future voyeur-teacher has been arrested, that doesn’t mean our children’s innocence is safe.

That’s why we should be grateful to Facebook user Mylilbookworm who warned parents about a comic book sold at Popular Bookstore called Bro Don't Like That La Bro #2: My Bad Bromance by Malaysian cartoonist Ernest Ng.

This is in addition to the warning sticker on the book itself, which says: “Careful! Cheeky content inside! Suitable for ages 18 and up. Or really matured kids. Or people who are not easily offended.”

But that sticker is clearly not enough as one parent pointed out: “The label they had used looks like something not to be taken seriously.”

The book was also categorised under “Local interest” in the adults section, but since there are no bouncers or door bitches to stop underage children from entering the adults section in the bookstore, Popular took the books off the shelves on Wednesday.

Informed of this bad news about his book on Facebook, Ng replied: “I don't think this is bad news at all hahah.”

He also posted: “Exposure is best currency. I can buy food with exposure. And then I die. Ballin' in exposure yo. Don't be hatin'.”

So it’s win-win for everyone. Mylilbookworm got Popular to remove the books and the book’s author got some free publicity.

It’s almost like The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye and that book about the gay penguins all over again.

Lust may be a sin, but you still need it to improve our country’s fertility rate.

This much is tacitly acknowledged by Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo in an interview last week with The Straits Times about whether young people are not getting their flats early enough to have children.

“You need a very small space to have sex,” she said.

In other words, size does not matter, which is what I have been telling all my girlfriends.

The Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, who also oversees the National Population and Talent Division, added:
"In France, in the UK, in the Nordic countries, man meets woman, tonight they can make a baby already. They love each other."
Is that love?

Sounds more like lust to me.

Perhaps we should’ve remained as SIN city after all.

- Published in The New Paper, 16 October 2016