December 4th, 2004

krazy koati

Fire, fire upon your wicked tongue

SMRT, which runs two of the three mass transit rail lines and most of the bus services, is holding a contest; with each SMRT trip you get a chance to win a car. This apparently self-defeating promotion advertises itself with a picture of a New Beetle set on the tracks at Choa Chu Kang station, pulled up to the platform.

Here's the thing. The background of the picture is a lovely grassland and forest. Choa Chu Kang is in the middle of suburbs. There's exactly one spot on the platform where you might take a picture with only one background building in view in a spot that might be hidden by the car frame. But they didn't even do that; the trees don't match the real setting, the signs don't match the actual signs, and there's a balcony cut in the floor in the real station where the picture shows solid tiling.

A car at the MRT platform is a fine image, but why do they go out of their way to lie about what station it's at? Why identify a station at all? If they had to identify one, why not use the one where the picture was taken? I know advertisers lie habitually, but why this lie? Choa Chu Kang's an older town with its own Light Rail Transit loop, but does that make it more distinctly Singapore than Sembawang or Yishun?

Trivia: The English East India Company bought its first ship, the Susan, on 25 September 1600. Source: Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Giles Milton.

Currently Reading: Naked Airport: A cultural history of the world's most revolutionary structure, Alastair Gordon.