It's the season for the Great Singapore Sale, a time of year in which Singaporeans take a break from the national pastime of shopping to enjoy a stretch of shopping at a larger discount. This year the range of shopping complexes participating in the sale is extending, growing farther into what's called the ``suburbs'', which you can tell apart from downtown because there's sometimes only one mall per block of city, and which can be pretty well described as the regions not particularly catering to tourists.
The sale lends itself to bigger mall promotions and tie-ins than usual. For example, Plaza Singapura has worked up a Barney and Friends promotion. You may remember in the mid-90s, Barney was seen as one of the greatest threats to civilization, beyond even the menaces of disco, Communism, interleague baseball, and whoever is responsible for Cartoon Network these days. It's popped up recently on Playhouse Disney and I've caught a few episodes. It's hard to see what the fuss was about. The show's a bit cloying, yeah, but it's not worse than average children's shows in that regard. Its worst feature, probably, is that it's a pretty mundane thing; the kids just play some nonsense with Barney and the lesser dinosaurs and the squirrel puppet and all. Great children's programming tends to embrace its surreal side; all Barney does is put dinosaurs into a playground. Any child worthy of the title will let you put dinosaurs into the playground. It's what you do with your dinosaurs that creates greatness.
Anyway, Plaza Singapura's offer is that if you spend S$120 in one day -- or just S$80, if you use their corporate overlord's credit cards -- you can get a Barney and friends cushion, and have the faces of brightly colored cheery dinosaurs squashed under your rear end. A good deal, sure, although for just S$30 you can enter a contest to win a Subaru Impreza or Forester which, once you wash off the spots where the cars were fondled, will show you the worst movies ever made in a plan to take over the world. Even Barney won't promise you that.
Trivia: Winsor McCay drew Gertie the Dinosaur on rice paper mounted on cardboard. Source: Of Mice and Magic, Leonard Maltin.
Currently Reading: The Benchley Roundup, Robert Benchley (Edited by Nathanial Benchley).