Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sticky Laws

In March 2007, a Swiss man was charged in a Thai court after being accused of insulting the Thai King for spraying-painting images of him. For his act of graffiti, he faced a 75-year jail sentence. That's because Thailand has strict lèse majesté laws.

The Sticker Lady, best known for plastering circular labels printed with street humour captions at road crossings, also infringed upon our own variant of graffiti laws. But one suspects what prompted the Land Transport Authority to make a police report was not her creative attempt to push the boundaries of art in our backyard.

The police spokesman who responded to press queries claimed they "carried out intensive inquiries and leg work" and diverted "substantial resources to identify the suspect involved". Presumably more attention than was allocated to the subject of stolen confidential minutes pilfered from an alternate political party's premises, and conveniently leaked to the main stream media. With an eye on the year end bonuses, he added for effect, "This is on top of the considerable time, effort and cost to clean up the roads and affected areas." Really, how difficult is it to peel off a sticker from a lamp post, or hose down a road which is usually flooded after the torrential rains we have been experiencing recently?

Limpeh Is Not Amused
 "Offenders will be dealt with in accordance to the law" sounds ominously like they intend to fully extract the proverbial pound of flesh, meaning a $2,000 maximum fine, jail time up to 3 years, or both. One plausible reason for reading the riot act could be the spray painted sign "MY GRANDFATHER ROAD" found on the road adjoining the Ministry for National Development. In the Singapore context, that is not a respectful acknowledgement of filial authority. It's more of a rude reminder that the guy in charge is still wielding an iron hand, or the message his sycophants want to reinforce. You don't need to have an anointed king to think lèse majesté.


  1. When graffiti artist Shepard Fairey turned his talents to US politics, his reward was int'l acclaim & a letter of thanks from Barack Obama for the creation of his famous 'Hope" poster.

    When the Queen celebrates her diamond Jubilee, there's a graffiti festival described as the biggest urban paint festival in Bristol. Even Banksy left his mark with a little boy kneeling at a sewing machine while he makes bunting for the celebrations.

    Unlike the previous foreign guest vandals who left distasteful destructions on this red dot, this one is at least a home bred artist who understands local culture & did an excellent humorous take of the citizens' angst in the midst of massive aliens intrusion. Her classy arts no doubt brought some funny relief among us. To see that our humorless and dry city state officials who spend millions of tourism dollars trying to promote its hipness & inject creativity by forced population engineering couldn't see the irony that genuine creativity has already started organically from its citizens is actually amusing.

    Just like chewing gum, they don't appreciate the sticky local talents. Yet those footloose talents with fake license to drive our buses & their shopping trolleys onboard have caused more destruction on the public roads actually get to stick around. You gotta hand it to the ruler who thinks this place is his grandfather's country.

    1. Apple's ex-founder Steve Wozniak once lamented the punitive state like singapore and asked "where're the creative people'?

      Well, that sums up how this government is very good at stifling creativity , entrepreneurship and all other kinds of artistic and civic expressions. They would prefer to import those like eduardo saverin the business kinds then to invent our own. You won't Kony 2012 creation happening in SG either. They way our law enforcers do it, they will just drive the young voters to vote with their feet.

  2. I am amazed by the swiftness of Police in the detection of the artist involved. If only the same force is able to catch the Ah Loongs who have been harrassing our citizens. Sigh!

  3. Tattler

    What standards! why not campaign for the MRT art/vandalism parties involved.

    It is art? right? cock a snook?
    you can claim hypocrisy to those, yet your own article has the same tendency as those you accuse

    1. the main difference is those foreigners broke into a supposedly secure area and also cleaning up meant some disruption to public service. as of now, MRT can ill afford whatever disruption.

  4. English fairy tales begins with;
    "Once upon a time ..."

    Singapore fairy tales begins with;
    "Limpeh kali kong .... "

  5. Looks like to more and more Singaporeans, our "Limpeh" is becoming what our own version of a disgraced leader would look like, anyone disagree ?

    Some more 1st time in our history, one of our DPM got fucked off publicly by a 17-year old student.

    I suppose this is probably the start of what they call "you reap what you sow" for all the wrong things they have done in the past.

    So the moral of the story is never do evil to anyone if one don't want evil to befell oneself. Some people simply call this karma.

    1. I thought the 17 year old student and his parents are invited for coffee with the DPM, and made apology?

    2. Yeah right! When you are under 21yrs old, you have to limkopi with your parents. If this is not scare and shame tactics what is? Apparently, they even want to teach the parents how to raise their kids, freaking joke. If I were the parents of the kid, I will tell the DPM to go run the country well first before lecturing them on parenting skills. You have to wonder why apology has to be done through the mouthpiece of msm when he has his own blog. And his blog is suspended/deleted now?

  6. She hasn't been charged. Is possible that she was the original designer of these prints but since they were given away freely, the stickler/s could be anyone else!..This is also easily duplicated. So anyone who has a statement to make, could be doing it.

  7. You means that isn't ah meng? The similarities are uncanny. You very sure?

  8. SAJC student : My principal showed us there is no future for art students.
    I take double-science due to parental pressure. I'm on the escalator where everyone is going, also to open my options.

    DPM Teo: "You have a wonderful school (like SOTA) and you feel constrained? That your horizons are dimmed, is this really true?"

    Irony irony.

    Reminds me of a student to Goh Chok Tong " I don't know what I'm defending for now"...History always repeat itself.