Then again, his day job is exhibiting human mannequins on the stage (also called a manikin, dummy, lay figure or dress form). Think cattle trade, fresh meat paraded on a catwalk.
When Cheng was President of Singapore's modelling association, his aim was to increase the pay and welfare of models in Singapore. Not protect the human dignity of a profession which is unregulated and relies on a compliant labor force of children. To this day, in an industry dominated by minors, there is no policy of informed consent for jobs involving full or partial nudity.
To be clear, we are not talking about scientific modelling, the aim of which is to make a particular part or feature of the anatomy, as in medical studies, easier to understand, define, quantify, visualize, or simulate. It requires selecting and identifying relevant aspects of a situation in the real world and then using different types of models to better understand, quantify, and visualize the subject. Modelling is an essential and inseparable part of scientific activity, and many scientific disciplines have their own ideas about specific types of modelling.
Cheng deals with the kind of model (from Middle French modelle), which is a person in a role either to promote, display, or advertise commercial products (notably fashion clothing). Acuity in mental faculties is not a prerequisite for the calling. Male, female or transgender models are valued for their clear skin, healthy hair, and attractive facial features. Sexual abuse in the industry is a pervasive problem. Consider just the last few years: in 2008, fashion designer Anand Jon was found guilty of rape and multiple counts assault on aspiring models, who ranged from 14 to 21 years old. Terry Richardson, one of the industry's most powerful photographers, has been accused of pressuring models to disrobe at castings and conducting shoots that involve what he claims are consensual sex acts performed on him by models.(Among Richardson's regular clients are H&M, Vogue, and GQ.)
Now you can appreciate why they are saying you don't need a university degree to succeed in life. All you need is a bit of guanxi, the right political connection, and maybe an amoral preparedness to go with the flow. Brains are definitely optional.