I do still like keeping up on the news from Singapore since I miss it and now and then a wonderful item comes over the virtual wires. In this case it turns out there was a court decision last week: a pair who walked nude at Holland Village back in January were fined S$2,000 for the offence. Holland Village is a fairly dense cluster of restaurants with the only really Italian restaurant that I visited in the area. It's got a healthy variety of types of food to eat, all the way down to Burger King and a Subway. It was also the vicinity of the nearest bank branch to my office once the one in the hospital was closed in the wake of the SARS crisis. It also features a cute little fake Dutch windmill.
Jan Philip, one of the convicted pair, said that he hadn't quite understood the law regarding obscene acts, and that he didn't know public nudity was an crime in Singapore. I have to admit that I didn't know that it was myself, but if I were to make a decision about appearing naked in a restaurant district then I would have bet on ``probably illegal''. If the article I read was accurate, the pair stripped at a car park near the village and then walked in. Again, I would have expected the absence of places to take off your clothes in Holland Village would be an indicator that it wasn't regarded as being in the spectrum of acceptable behaviours.
If I weren't having enough faintly juvenile humor over all this, there's the discovery that what they were specifically charged with was a violation of the Miscellaneous Offences Act. I know it's just a practical title for gathering together criminal acts that can't be given some thematic unity. But the mental image I have is of Parliament spending a long afternoon, legislators sprawling out over the floor or on inflatable cushions or so, thinking up little things they don't want to see done and writing it all, giggling now and then, until it gets too late and they have to go home.
Trivia: At a 1925 conference discussing depletion of eastern river shad populations Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover reported that two million pounds of shad caught on the west coast, where the species had been transplanted decades earlier, were being shipped across country annually to be sold as ``fresh Atlantic shad''. Source: The Founding Fish, John McPhee.
Currently Reading: The Bagel: The Surprising History Of A Modest Bread, Maria Balinska.