Wearing my Flag on my Trunks

Singapore’s water polo team at the 2010 Asian Games have caused waves for the wrong reasons. Their custom-made swimming trunks feature the Singapore flag’s crescent moon and stars at the groin.

If you don’t think displaying the national flag at your groin is in bad taste, take a double look of the crescent lying strategically at where a certain male anatomy is. Previously, the team would wear plain black trunks.

When asked whether they had sought approval for the design, team manager Samuel Wong told The New Paper, ‘No need.’

Yet the Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Act states that approval must be sought from the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts to use the flag as part of any costume or attire, provided there is ‘no disrespect’. Anyone found guilty of misusing the flag can be fined up to a maximum of $1,000.

In a statement today, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, said: “Unfortunately, the team did not seek our advice on the use of the crescent moon and stars when they designed their swim trunks. We would have told them that their design is inappropriate as we want elements of the Flag to be treated with dignity. This is because many Singaporeans recognize these elements as representing the Singapore Flag.

Ms Tan added: “We have spoken with the Singapore Sports Council and was informed that the team is apologetic and had meant no disrespect. We understand that under competition rules, they may have difficulty switching to another set of trunks for their match tomorrow (Thursday). We wish them well and hope that they will do Singapore proud tomorrow.

Singapore’s men’s water polo team has advanced into the quarter-final stage despite losing 5-21 to Kazahkstan in their final group match. Singapore will face Japan in the quarter-final.

Looking at posts from the Straits Times Online discussion board, reactions have been diverse. Some feel that there is nothing wrong with the design, others that it is in poor taste. There are those who think it is nice. Several who chose to see the funny side of things followed up with innuendos. Thegreyguy said the design was ‘a very in-the-face-way of telling Singaporeans to have more children’. What do you think?

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