If there's one place kids love to be, it's a bank. At least so desperately hope the marketing department behind banks, who seem to believe that if they can get kids to want to visit a bank branch this will somehow make their parents more likely to bring business there. So HSBC -- the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, incidentally my bank from Troy, New York, but not my Singapore bank -- really threw open the gates for its new branch opening on Orchard Road. More, they tied the opening to Over the Hedge: The Motion Picture. Hedge-themed giveaways included magic shows, sand art, free Ben & Jerry's ice cream, bags of ``products'', and some kind of coloring contest for which each participant would get an Over the Hedge notebook.
Meanwhile out on the road, before an audio system playing ``Rocking the Suburbs'', extraordinarily extended and infinitely repeated loop, they had people in Verne turtle, Sammy squirrel, and RJ raccoon costumes, lining up eagerly for pictures with everybody. (If the song choice is tied to the movie, I imagine they've rewritten the lyrics for it, based on my checking the usual evil lyrics web sites.) (I don't mean the lyrics are evil, but that web sites hosting lyrics are prone to evil.) I made a fair try at getting pictures, but there wasn't any hope of a picture. Pressing the button made someone jump in front of whatever character I was trying to photograph, including when I went around and tried photographing them from back, behind the crowd. It was an overcast day, and not so hot as usual. This probably saved the people in the costumes from immediate heat stroke and bursting into flames, but I still imagine they've got to be getting considerable hazard pay.
In some good casting, they a bit of a ham for RJ. Singaporeans like raccoons, based on the gang always watching at the zoo, though that may be because there's always at least one raccoon up to something interesting. The otters get a similar crowd, albeit with fewer people saying ``raccoon''. But you'd imagine they'd be natural to have a kangaroo-style panache as curious and exotic and entertaining animals. Get someone in a raccoon costume, though, hugging people or making Charles Atlas poses, and you've got an impenetrable crowd.
Trivia: When future ceramics giant Josiah Wedgewood's rich and eccentric aunt Katherine Wedgewood Egerton died in 1756, she left him a legacy of £10. Source: The Lunar Men, Jenny Uglow.
Currently Reading: In Quest of Spices, Sonia E Howe.