Posts Tagged ‘Straits Times’

Holland Village nudist couple – Why?

May 4, 2009

In the AWARE media frenzy over the past two weeks, the court trial of the naked Holland Village couple received much less attention than it would have on a normal Singaporean newsday.  It used to front page news, even inspiring an IKEA ad campaign.  I’ve pulled some interesting tidbits together from various sources to try and answer the question on everyone’s minds – why?

From the ST news article:

Court papers state that Eng Kai Er, 24, and Jan Philip, 21, did what they did ‘to seek thrill’.

Considering that all those who witnessed their stroll through Holland Village on a busy Saturday evening saw every bit of them there was to see, the pair used umbrellas to keep their faces hidden from press photographers waiting at the Subordinate Courts on Thursday.

Philip was in a full suit with tie, and Eng, in a black skirt suit and cap, sunglasses and a face mask.

A bizarre sartorial choice – check out the duck umbrella and the Michael Jackson muffler scarf mask:

Photo from The New Paper

Photo from ST

Quite a contrast from their stroll down Holland V.:

Photo from ST

The sequence of events, detailed in court proceedings, that led to their deliberate wardrobe malfunction was even more bizarre (emphasis in bold my own).

In court, it was revealed how the pair had met at the Karolinska Institutet, one of Europe’s largest medical universities, where Eng, an A*Star scholar, was a student.

The temperature was about 22 to 23 degrees Celsius, considered hot in Sweden.

Philip, who was topless, asked Eng if it was okay to walk around topless in Singapore, and she said it was.

Philip then asked her if public nudity was acceptable in Singapore. Public nudity is not illegal in Sweden.

Eng did not take his question seriously and they both joked that it would be funny to walk around naked in Singapore.

In the pair’s mitigation plea, Philip said that before he came to Singapore, he had checked the Internet to see if it was an offence to walk nude in here.

He said that he read the Penal Code but did not see anything inside that said nudity was illegal.

Two things worth noting: first, the description of the “hot” weather in Sweden, which ostensibly explains what he was doing topless there as well.  Can you imagine the conversation with his lawyer before they decided on that language in his plea?  Hypothetical:

OK, look Jan, right now popular opinion in Singapore is that you’re some druggie-hipster-socialist-pedophilic-exhibitionistic foreigner.  We have to turn popular opinion in your favor, try to relate you to the everyman in Singapore.  Hmm what about the hot weather during Swedish summers?  That’s something all Singaporeans can relate to – Singaporeans complain about the hot weather all the time, which will help them relate to your unrelenting desire to disrobe in public, not unlike those uncles hiking up their singlets to expose their bellies in kopitiams.  Slip it into their minds – you were naked because it was warm.

Obvious FAIL – 22-23 degrees Celsius is considered a cold day in Singapore’s tropical weather.

And then the classic turn-the-tables counter-attack: blame the authorities for not explicitly including details about laws against public nudity in the Penal Code online.

Again, backfired – you mean this guy actually READ the whole Penal Code, looking for some mention of nudity???  I don’t even know where to find the Penal Code online, much less find out what it has to say about airing one’s Swedish meatballs in public.  Doesn’t it make him out to be even weirder than he already appears?  Looking for the word “nudity” in the Penal Code presupposes an intention to walk around naked!

And of course, The New Paper defers to the esteemed experts in their article entitled “Thrill or mental disorder?”

However, Mr Koh pointed out indecent exposure is not necessarily exhibitionism.

Dr Lionel Lim, a consultant psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre agreed.

He said that in certain cases, like that of the nude couple at Holland Village, it may not be exhibitionism, but merely a case of seeking attention.

‘Some people expose themselves because of a dare, or to gain attention. If they do not gain sexual satisfaction from exposing themselves, that is not exhibitionism,’ said Dr Lim.

Wow – thanks for the medical definition.  I always thought that Penn was full of ill people who needed medical attention, especially  those fratboys who streaked on Locust Walk.  Thanks to the clarification, I now understand – they just wanted attention.

Even funnier – the recounting of the events that fateful night itself:

On 24 Jan, he and Eng were at a pub in Holland Village. Philip had one beer while Eng had two. Then he suggested walking through Holland Village nude.

According to previous media reports, they took off their clothes at a nearby staircase at about 11pm, then walked down Lorong Mambong, clothes in hand, smiling and waving at patrons in the area’s eateries.

Seemingly oblivious to the stares they were attracting, the couple made a U-turn and walked the same path back to the staircase.

Midway through their walk, they even stopped for a brief chat with patrons of the Wala Wala bar. They did not attempt to hide their faces as the cheering and applauding crowd took their pictures.

The incident lasted about 15 minutes, before they returned to the staircase and got dressed.

C’mon, at least they were considerate enough to hide in a staircase while changing, so that that people wouldn’t catch accidental glimpses of them naked.  Oh wait, scratch that.

So at the end of the day – no real answer as to “why”.  One comment I read had the most logical explanation, even referencing her background in academia as part of the explanation – she was studying the aerodynamics of the ang moh body in the Holland V. wind tunnel.

Interesting to note that the AFP chose to use this picture below for their brief report, “Couple fined for strolling naked in Singapore”:

Photo from AFP

Not entirely sure what a Gurkha on guard duty has to do with a naked couple (maybe shoot nudists on sight), but what new developments have there been around this incident that haven’t raised even more questions?


Jerry Ee turns himself in…

March 19, 2009

Jerry Ee, the ex-staff member of Cortina Watch who is allegedly the mastermind behind the largest heist in Singapore history, surrendered himself to the Singapore embassy in Bangkok some time last week.  He is apparently home in Singapore now, in the custody of the Singapore police.  Read more here.

This whole episode had the makings of a potential Hollywood blockbuster:

Disgruntled employee, down on his luck in life (divorce, separation from daughter, etc.), orchestrates the biggest heist in Singapore history ($8mm) from a busy luxury watch outlet in the middle of town on Christmas day (while the world is in the throes of the worst economic downturn since WWII).  He goes into hiding because the Interpol is on his trail.  Bereft of family, friends and a good night’s sleep, he eventually surrenders himself to the authorities.

Now all we need is to find out that he also did capoeira as a hobby.  Then we can insert the mandatory heist/dance sequence:

Watch heist at Cortina Raffles Place – Burglar wanted by Interpol

January 18, 2009

This is the face of a man wanted by the Interpol, who orchestrated a heist of $7.9 mm SGD in timepieces and cash this past Christmas Day:

Hai Chiizu!

Couldn’t the Straits Times at least have found a more suave photo with a less cheeky pose, befitting an international thief wanted by the Interpol, like:


From The Straits Times:

Cortina burglary: Ex-staff wanted by Interpol
By Teh Joo Lin

A FORMER employee of the Cortina watch outlet that was cleaned out of $7.9 million in timepieces and cash on Christmas Day is now a wanted man internationally.

Mr Jerry Ee – who has been missing since the theft was discovered and got the sack from the company – has been listed under Interpol’s wanted list for theft.

This came in the form of a red notice – the same alert level used for escaped terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari – against the 35-year-old to the international police organisation’s member nations.

This means that any of these 187 countries can arrest him on the spot and extradite him to Singapore.

Mr Ee’s height and weight was given as 1.62m and 50kg on the notice, which is available online and included pictures of him. He is stated as being conversant in English, Mandarin and Thai.

The international alert against him comes after the Christmas Day heist – said to be the biggest burglary in Singapore in years – at the Cortina outlet at Raffles City.

Staff at the Raffles City outlet discovered 386 timepieces and cash – with a total value of $7.9 million – missing when they turned up for work on Dec 26.

Security guards who were on duty on the night of the incident said that no alarms had gone off, and there were no signs of a break-in at the store.

Mr Ee has has been missing since the theft was discovered, with police attempts to contact him futile.

He had worked with the luxury watch retailer for at least four years and is divorced with two young children.