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Despite the fact that public nudity is illegal in Singapore, people have been appearing naked in public with increasing frequency since 2009. This phenomenon has spawned a lively debate in the press, the broadcast media and on the Internet over whether there should be a space for people to express themselves in the nude in public in Singapore.

Miscellaneous Offences Act

In Singapore, it is illegal to appear nude in public, or in private if viewable by passers-by.

This is governed by the dictates of Chapter 184 of the Singapore Penal Code - the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, specifically Section 27A of Part IV - VAGRANCY[1],[2]. The law came into effect on 27 February 1996 and states:

"Appearing nude in public or private place

27A. —(1) Any person who appears nude

(a) in a public place; or

(b) in a private place and is exposed to public view,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to both. [12/96]

(2) For the purpose of this section, the reference to a person appearing nude includes a person who is clad in such a manner as to offend against public decency or order. [12/96]

(3) Where an offence under this section is committed in a private place, it shall be lawful for a police officer to enter the private place without the authority of the owner or occupier of the private place to effect the arrest of the offender. [12/96]

(4) In effecting entry under subsection (3), it shall be lawful for a police officer to use such force as may be necessary to enter the private place. [12/96]

Any person may arrest offender

28. It shall be lawful for any person whatsoever to arrest any person found offending against this Part and to deliver him to any police officer."

Background

Original Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act

The Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act (Chapter 184) of the Penal Code was enacted by the British colonial authorities in 1906[3].

Under PART IV- VAGRANCY, it contained a section on Rogues and vagabonds which stated:

"27.- (1) Every person -

(d) wilfully, openly, lewdly and obscenely exposing his person in any street, road or public highway, or in the view thereof, or in any place of public resort, with intent to insult any female;"

This was the indecent exposure law which applied only when it was done in a public place and with the intention to insult a female. Therefore, at that time and for ninety years thereafter, being nude in private, even when viewable by passers-by was not an offence, nor was indecent exposure directed at a male.

Status in other former British colonies

Prior to the enactment of Section 27A in 1996, being nude in a public space per se, if it was not intentionally done to offend anyone, eg. in a secluded area with no passers-by, was not specifically illegal. This remains the situation in other former British colonies where public nudity is not an offence unless the act of being naked is done with the intention of offending someone.

Under Malaysia's secular laws, it is technically not illegal to be nude in public[4]. There is no specific mention of nudism being illegal as well. The Laws of Malaysia, Act 336 (Minor Offences Act of 1955) Clause 28e states it is an offence only for:

"Exposure of person with intent

(e) every person wilfully, openly, lewdly and obscenely exposing his person with intent to insult any other person;"

Therefore, being nude in Malaysia is only an offence if one purposely, openly, lewdly, obscenely and intentionally displays one's genitals (or one's nude state) to others with an intention to insult them.

Section 27A introduced

In Singapore, however, this situation changed in 1996 when, after a recent review of the laws under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs, then Senior Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Home Affairs (Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee) proposed three amendments to the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act during a parliamentary session held on 27 February of that year[5]:

"1. making nuisance or silent calls on public emergency telephone lines, ie, 999 or 995 calls;

2. using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards a person to provoke violence, cause fear, harassment, alarm or distress; and

3. appearing nude in public or exposed to public view."

The third amendment, which was to become Section 27A, the anti-nudity law, was justified by Ho thus:
"Members of the House may recall the strong public sentiments over a case of a couple who was seen nude in their Yishun Town flat. Although one has a right to privacy in one's home, this should not, however, be at the expense of public decency such as nude exposure. This is especially so in the context of our public housing. With an increasing number of Singaporeans living in close quarters in high-rise buildings, such behaviour must be checked. We must maintain a certain level of public morality and behaviour. The purpose of this section is therefore to protect the morality and dignity of neighbouring residents and passers-by.

Clause 11 of the Bill seeks to create a new section 27A to make it an offence for any person to appear nude in a public place or in a private place which is exposed to public view. The penalty is a fine not exceeding $2,000 or three months' jail or both. To facilitate enforcement, the police officer is given the necessary power, including the use of force, to enter a private place to arrest such an offender under subsection (4).

Here again, Sir, as in the case of abuse of emergency lines, Police will be judicious in invoking the provision. In most cases, Police would very likely be acting on complaints. Complaints are unlikely to be lodged unless the offensive acts are regular or blatant."

Ho was referring to a 1993 case when a couple was spotted walking naked around their Yishun flat late at night. The first English article on this particular case being dubbed "A Room With R(A) View in Yishun". This lead to quite extensive coverage in the press.

Heated parliamentary debate

The reading of the Bill introducing the new law generated a relatively heated debate in parliament with then Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) and future Attorney-General Assoc Prof Walter Woon opposing the inclusion of the clause which criminalised nudity in a "private place"[6]. The following is a transcript of the arguments advanced by Walter Woon, then PAP MP for Jalan Besar GRC Choo Wee Khiang and Ho Peng Kee[7]:

Assoc Prof Walter Woon: Sir, I beg to move,

(1) In page 7, line 32, after "who", to insert "intentionally".

The first amendment that I am proposing to section 27A is self-explanatory. As it stands, section 27A merely says that "Any person who appears nude ... shall be guilty of an offence ...". If these were Victorian times, the mere appearance "nude" might revolt people's sensibilities. But we are 90 years removed from Queen Victoria, and the question of whether or not just the sight of a nude body is so disgusting that we have to criminalise it becomes an issue. If you do not have the word "intentionally", you are going to have arguments in courts between lawyers as to whether or not this is strict liability or not strict liability.

Remember that apart from prosecution which is brought by the Police and by the prosecutors, there are things called private prosecutions. Do we want to open the door to this kind of situation where some prudish prim busybodies have seen a nude body and are so revolted and try to bring a private prosecution because they cannot stand the sight of nudity? So to make things clear, I have proposed that we insert the word "intentionally" in the first line of section 27A. The person only commits an offence if he intentionally appears nude. That cuts out all the problems of those who accidentally appear nude or do not intend to expose themselves. The problem of proving intention is one that the courts are well capable of handling. The laws are full of sections that require intention and prosecutors have thus far no problem of proving intention even in serious crimes like murder. I do not think it is beyond the wits of our public prosecutors to prove intention in something like appearing nude.

Choo Wee Khiang: Sir, I find that the proposed amendment by Prof Woon to add the word "intentionally" before the phrase "appears nude" quite problematic. First of all, Sir, I cannot understand how a person can unintentionally appear nude. Can a person take off his clothes when he has no intention to do so? Not unless this person is sleepwalking or is unconscious and being stripped off by someone.

But, I think, Sir, this provision actually seeks to protect the public from the embarrassment and harm that can be caused, especially to children, by the sight of a naked human body parading around in his own apartment. The case cited by Prof Ho, which was widely publicised, is indeed a very good point. When it comes down to protecting public morals and decency, especially those of our children's, I agree that we should take a strong stand.

I am happy that Prof Ho has assured the House that the Police will not take a blunderbuss approach. I think ample notice and warnings will be given to the so-called telephone subscribers and people who appear nude. I am sure sufficient notice and warnings will be given to them. Prof Ho has actually assured the House. I do not think it is necessary for Prof Woon to ask the House to consider adding the word "intentionally" just before the phrase "appears nude".

Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee: Sir, I would like to thank Mr Choo for his comments. He has mentioned the key point in my speech where I have mentioned that the Police will not take a blunderbuss approach. The intent behind this provision is to ensure that those who are exhibitionists, those who are regular, persistent or blatant, there will be in the law a tool by which Police can hit at them. I think the Yishun case brings up very clearly that Police should not be made to stand helplessly by, not being able to do anything, especially where public morals and decency are involved. Given the fact that we live very closely to one another, and I am sure our children will live even more closely to one another, this provision is necessary. Quite apart from the conceptual point that Mr Choo raised, ie, whether a person can really be nude unintentionally, from a practical point of view, if we insert the word suggested by Prof Woon, it will in fact give an outlet for a person who actually is an exhibitionist to say that, "Oh, I was absent-minded about it." or "I didn't know that I was nude." How do you prove that he intentionally took off his clothes unless you have a video camera, and that Prof Woon would not want because he will say there is big brother overlooking him. He may think it is an overkill, but given my assurances in this House and given the practical need to ensure that the situation in Yishun does not repeat itself, I hope that this Bill, as it is, will be passed.

Assoc Prof Walter Woon: Sir, if Mr Choo cannot imagine how people can be accidentally nude, I suggest that he is a man of very limited imagination. You go to a beach, you do not have proper changing facilities, you change behind the bush and, for some reason, your towel gets caught in a gust of wind, or pulled away accidentally. Is that intentionally nude? Assoc Prof Ho has been the Master of a Hall of Residence. No doubt, he has heard of student pranks where on somebody's birthday, they decide that he should appear in his birthday suit. They strip him. They take him to the end of the road. They dump him in the bushes. Is that intentionally nude? Is this what you mean to prosecute? He is after all appearing nude in a public place. "Intentionally" is there to make it clear that only those who intend to appear nude are prosecuted, not those who through no fault of their own or through accident appear nude. This is the point. Does the Senior Parliamentary Secretary mean to say that if a person is nude in a public place, whether it is a fault or not, he is guilty of an offence and can be prosecuted?

It is not the police that I am worried about. It is private prosecution by over-zealous members of the public, by people who are brilliant, by people who are prudish. This is the kind of thing that we worry about. "Intentionally" nude makes it quite clear that you have to have the intention. As far as proving intention is concerned, like I said, the Penal Code and the whole corpus of statutes are full of sections that require the proof of intention. If the public prosecutor can prove sufficient intention to convict people of murder, why can they not deal with the intention in something like this?

Choo Wee Khiang: Sir, the Senior Parliamentary Secretary has already assured the House that the police is not going to take that kind of approach. I do not go to beaches as often as the Member does. I do not know about bushes. I am sure along the East Coast Park, there must be a proper place for you to change. While you are changing clothes, something drops off and you appear nude, I am sure the AG's Chambers and the police will have the view that you are doing it unintentionally. Someone must prove beyond reasonable doubt that he appears nude unintentionally. So let us look at it from a wider scope, from a macro point of view. How many Singaporeans appear nude at home and walk or parade around, or they change in the bushes? How often and how many of them really intentionally appear nude in public places? We are not trying to catch the general public, ie, the law-abiding public in Singapore. Not at all. I think we are trying to catch the exceptional ones. And I do not think Prof Woon should be so eager in wanting to add the word "intentionally".

Cheo Chai Chen (Nee Soon Central) (in Mandarin): Mr Speaker, Sir, I support Prof Woon's proposal to amend clause 27A by inserting the word "intentionally" because some people are in the habit of sleeping in the nude. If suddenly there is a fire, they would have to rush out naked as they would probably have no time to put on any clothing. Even if they are clothed, their clothing may have been burnt and they may end up being naked. Under the amended law, they could be prosecuted. Therefore, the word "intentionally" is important here.

Assoc Prof Walter Woon: I take it from Mr Choo's speech that he does not think that people who accidentally appear nude should be prosecuted. Am I correct? Then why the resistance to making it plain in the law? Why leave it unsaid? This is the point. I think it is very unfortunate that we should have laws that are very wide, leave the definition to debates in the House, and when it goes to court, the court's hands are tied because the court does not have recourse to Parliamentary debates unless there is an ambiguity in the language. If the language is clear, the court must apply this. This is why I am saying that when we draft these laws, we have to be very, very careful about what we are doing. It is not just a philosophical point. It is also a practical point. We do not want to have a situation where people can be accused of breaking the law where there are no merits to the accusation because the law has been drafted widely and sloppily widely.

Assoc Prof Walter Woon: Sir, I beg to move,

(2) In page 8, at end, to add,

"(5) It shall be a defence to a prosecution under this section that the accused reasonably believed that he was not exposed to public view.".".

The last amendment that I have proposed is a defence to section 27A. Section 27A provides that if you are in a private place and you are nude and exposed to public view, you can be prosecuted for an offence. May I ask Members of the House again how many of them have sometimes appeared nude in their houses without thinking that anyone was watching? But somebody might be watching. We are talking about public housing here. You have situations where you could, not realising that your window blinds are not properly closed, not realising that your lights may be on, and therefore people can see into your house, appear nude. We are making it an offence for a person to be nude in a private place when exposed to public view. I am saying that it should be a defence and you reasonably believe that you were not exposed to public view. For those people who are offended by the sight of nudity in their neighbours' houses, may I give a little simple piece of advice, "Stop looking into your neighbour's windows!" But for those people who are accidentally exposed, as it were, because they do not realise that people can see them, why should we make it an offence? Why should it be a police case? Police come banging on your door. The embarrassment of being seen is already enough without having a police officer knocking on your door, seeking entry as well to arrest you. I am merely asking that we should have a little bit of reasonableness here so that the person can show that he did reasonably believe he was not exposed to public view, he has not committed an offence.

Choo Wee Khiang: Sir, I am quite amazed by what Prof Woon is trying to propose because I think the amendment seeks to protect the public, and it appears to me that the Member is trying to protect the nudists. In our Asian society, how many of us have the habit, like what Mr Cheo said, of walking in our sleep without clothes on and, like what Prof Woon said, accidentally walk around in private homes without any clothes on? How many of us do that? And I think if these people who appear nude and walk around in their own apartment and it is within sight, it will give rise to public embarrassment. If the public complains, the police will take the necessary action to investigate and find out more about it before the police and the AG's Chambers decide whether to prosecute them. I am sure the Senior Parliamentary Secretary can confirm it. So I do not think Prof Woon should be too worried about adding the word "intentionally" and talking about nudity at home as an excuse. Is that what he is trying to say? I do not understand.

Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee: Sir, again, I think Prof Woon is well meaning in his suggestion. Here, again, I hope that he would take a closer look at my speech where I put in context the reasons for the amendment. The police will not take a blunderbuss approach. Before the case goes to court, the AG's Chambers, which is the prosecutorial arm, in exercising its discretion, will look at all the circumstances of the case. Indeed, a person can be nude in his own home in many circumstances. It can be intentionally. It can be absent-mindedly. It can be unknowingly. But the point is that harm is done. If it is once-off or irregular, those factors would be taken into account by the police and the AG's Chambers in deciding whether or not to prosecute.

Assoc Prof Walter Woon: May I ask Mr Choo whether he baths fully clothed? Or is there some occasion on which he disrobes completely? The problem is not just nudity. If you look at subsection (2) of section 27A, you will see that "for the purpose of this section, the reference to a person appearing nude includes a person who is clad in such a manner as to offend against public decency or order." Does Mr Choo keep himself fully clothed at all times? Is there not some time when he is partially disrobed at least? This is the problem that this kind of wide drafting gives us. You are in your bedroom. You do not realise that the blinds are partially open. You are in a state of partial disrobement. Somebody has peeped in. They call the police. They say, "That is an offence under section 27A, please nab the fellow." Police come and bang on your door and say, "I am sorry, you have committed an offence." The embarrassment is already there. It is not just the police that we are worried about. In fact, it is not the police I am worried about. I am not worried about the AG's Chambers. The people in AG's Chambers have got commonsense. I am worried about private prosecutions by people who want to use this kind of thing as a means to harass their neighbours. Have you not heard of vindictive neighbours who will try and get other people into trouble? You leave the door open for them literally in a case like this.

All I am asking is that we have a simple section that says, "If you didn't realise that you are exposed to public view, you haven't committed an offence." What is so difficult about that? Or are we saying that merely exposing to public view is so heinous a crime that you must commit an offence? I do not think our society is that prudish. At the end of the 20th century, we do not have this kind of Victorian aversion to flesh that existed when these sections were first drafted. So all I am saying is, let us have a little bit of reasonableness so that the person can say, "Look here, I really didn't realise that these doors were open, the windows were open, the curtains were open." It is a defence.

Choo Wee Khiang: Since Prof Woon asked about my private life, I think I ought to reply. As a result of my upbringing, I am properly clothed at all times. I do not know about the Member. Since I am properly clothed at all times, I am not giving any chance for the public to complain about me walking around in my house nude. So probably, the Member has a chance to explain to the House about himself?

First prosecution

The first person to be charged under Section 27A was 56-year old taxi driver Chua Hock Hin in August 2009. He was spotted naked twice in his own house over a three-day period. The first instance was when his neighbour's daughter chanced upon him eating through the window of his flat along the common corridor, sitting completely nude at the dining table. The second instance occurred two days later, when it was the girl's mother herself who saw the man standing naked through the common corridor window. She subsequently made a police report. The 56-year-old man, who had reacted rather poorly when later confronted by his neighbours, was fined S$2,600 for "being naked in a private place and using criminal force to annoy his neighbour"[8].

History

With the increasing affluence of the local populace over the past few decades which enabled more people to indulge in worldwide travel and the advent of universal access to the Internet, Singaporeans have been exposed to foreign cultures and practices including not only naturism, especially in Western countries[9], but also the relaxed attitudes towards nudity in Asian nations such as Japan and Korea. They could also visit clothing optional resorts in nearby Bali[10].

Websites promoting healthy, family-oriented nudism could also be visited without leaving the comfort of one's home[11].

As such, it is not really surprising that Singaporeans are increasingly challenging the status quo, largely brought about by Victorian values entrenched in the legal system.

Incidents

2008

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On Monday, 10 Nov 08, Asia One published an article highlighting the increasing number of Singaporean girls uploading nude photos of themselves to the social networking website, Friendster:[12]. Some of these photos were shot at public places such as HDB stairwells.

2009

On 29 August 2009, citizen journalists uploaded pictures of a naked, fit-looking young man doing push-ups in a HDB estate to The Straits Times' Stomp subsection:[13].
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However, the first widely reported and most talked-about incident of public nudity occurred on 24 January 2009 when a 24-year old female Singaporean A*Star scholar and doctorate student, walked around Holland Village completely naked for 15 minutes with her male Swedish exchange student friend[14],[15].

Their daring act garnered them the applause of diners in a nearby open-air restaurant. They were charged in court and fined $2,000. Fortunately, the female student was not stripped of her scholarship.

2010

On New Year's Day, 1 January 2010, a Caucasian man queuing up outside a club took off all his clothes and engaged in a game of hide-and-seek with club security[16]. He was later subdued by the police with a stun gun.

The very same day, a naked Chinese man was spotted walking around desultorily in Sengkang. The report was carried on Stomp and Asia One[17].

On Friday, 22 January 2010, it was reported on Stomp that two flat dwellers, a man and a woman, just a few units away from each other at Mei Ling Street walked around naked in their flats every evening with their windows open and in full view of their neighbours[18].

On Wednesday, 2 June 2010, a local reader of an article on nudism by a female Malaysian reporter[19] uploaded a photograph which he shot at Sentosa's Siloso Beach of a tanned Caucasian man talking in the nude to a Chinese Singaporean woman[20].

On Monday, 7 June 2010, The New Paper reported a young adult Chinese man loitering around the void deck of a block of HDB flats in Hougang in the nude[21].
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On Tuesday, 12 October 2010, Asia One reported that a Chinese woman walked around naked in her HDB flat with the main door open. A 12 year-old Malay boy was running along the corridor playing with two of his friends in front of her unit when the woman came out of the house and grabbed the boy's arm, accusing him of peeping at her[22].

On Monday, 23 October 2010, the Asia One forum carried a discussion about an elderly Chinese man walking around Chinatown stark naked, looking for items of clothing to cover himself with[23]. The report was first posted on Stomp.

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On 21 November 2010, the Asia One forum carried a discussion about parents from mainland China who let their infant son play at the Bugis Junction fountain in the nude[24]. The story was first reported on Stomp.

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On Tuesday, 14 December 2010, it was reported in The Straits Times that a naked Chinese man walked into a McDonald's outlet in Queenstown at 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning and attempted to buy a cup of coffee[25]. An uncensored photograph of the man was also uploaded to Stompnaked_man.html where a lively discussion ensued in the comments section. Razor TV later featured a video segment on the incident[26].

The following day, the 15 December 2010 issue of The Straits Times reported that more people were going nude in public[27]. In the first 6 months of 2010 alone, 105 police reports were made. Asia One had more details in its version[28], noting that the total number of indecent exposure cases rose from 146 in 2008 and 136 in 2007 to 166 cases in 2009.
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On Thursday, 16 December 2010, Asia One reported that a middle-aged woman boarded a crowded bus in Bedok completely naked[29]. The incident was first reported by the Chinese evening tabloid Lian He Wan Bao.

A discussion topic on whether there should be a nudist colony on Pulau Ubin and how much Singaporeans would pay to join was started on Asia One online forum shortly after[30].

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That year, a portly naked man was also spotted walking along Bras Basah RoadNudismSpore052.jpg.

2011

On Sunday, 2 January 2011, Asia One's Diva section reported that more couples in Malaysia and Singapore were opting to pose in their wedding photographs in the nude[31]. The trend of increasing local openness towards nudity had also been mushrooming on the Internet since 2006[32].

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On Thursday, 13 January 2011, Asia One carried a report that an Indian artist from Hyderabad would, for a fee of $250, take a photograph completely nude with visitors to the Art Stage Singapore exhibition held at the Marina Bay Sands[33].
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On 24 February 2011, a man performed a striptease, removing all his clothes, and used the aisle between the seats as a catwalk on bus 170 which departed from Kranji MRT at 10am[34].

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The report was first published in Lianhe Wanbao.

On 29 June 2011, Stomp carried pictures of a naked Indian woman sitting on a ledge outside a block of HDB flats, apparently attempting to commit suicide[35].

The report was first published in the Chinese-language tabloid, Lianhe Wanbao.

On Monday, 11 July 2011, a completely naked man with white paint on his groin boarded a bus at a bus stop along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3. He alighted along Paya Lebar Road. The report was carried by Shin Min Daily News and The New Paper[36].

On Friday, 2 Sepember 2011, The Straits Times' citizen journalism subsection, Stomp, carried pictures of a naked man loitering at the lift landing of a block of HDB flats in Sengkang[37].

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On 11 Sepember 2011, Stomp published photos of a man swimming naked at the Tanamera condo swimming pool in Tanah Merah[38].

On 21 December 2011, a thin, naked man with long hair was spotted wandering along Siglap at midnight[39].

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In December 2011, it was reported in the Asia One forum that a teenage girl uploaded a teen boy's nude photo on Facebook and shared it on her wall. It subsequently went viral. The photo depicted the boy fully nude and taking a photo of himself with his mobile phone in what appears to be his bedroom. The girl had insisted on sharing the photo despite protests from her friends. She was even said to be pleased with the attention and increased number of "friend requests" after she uploaded the photo. Scolding those who protested against the photo, she insisted that she was only sharing it because "people share I share".

2012

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In April 2012, it was reported in the Asia One forum that artistic photos, allegedly of model Eileen Yumiko, were shot at St. John's Island by Mike S photography[40].

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On 7 May 12, an almost naked woman in her 20s chased after 4 men along Mohamed Sultan Road and then got beaten up by them. She had apparently had her modesty outraged by the group and her belongings stolen[41].

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Also in May 2012, a naked man was seen squatting and smoking on a the window ledge outside his high-rise home in front of Manhattan House at Chin Swee Road[42].

In late May 2012, a young girl posted a naked profile pic of herself on Facebook[43]. Profile pics are viewable by all Facebook users. A few days later, she replaced it with a more revealing one[44].
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In June 2012, a nudist on Blowing Wind posted the location of a very secluded piece of land at Changi which he claimed was suitable for nude camping:[45].

On 19 June 2012, a Chinese man, believed to be a cleaner at Somerset MRT station, drank Tiger beer in the cleaners' room facing the skate park, went outside to shower in the open and then apparently passed out lying face down on the empty grass patch opposite the station entrance[46],[47].

On 28 June 2012, a naked man walked in the middle of the road amidst heavy traffic in broad daylight and subsequently lay supine on the rightmost lane of the road before he was covered with a white sheet by passers-by and carried away by an ambulance[48],[49],[50],[51] (see videos:[52],[53],[54],[55].
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In July 2012, a mother let her infant son play naked at Bugis Junction's fountain[56].

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On 7 August 2012, it was reported in The New Paper that a 23-year old man took to stripping to pay for his grandmother's cancer treatment[57]. He said matter-of-factly that "It's just a job to pay for my university fees, my sister's tuition fees and to help my parents with the household bills.". His father was a part-time renovation contractor and his mother worked as a seamstress in a textile shop.

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On 4 October 2012, a STOMP reader was forced to jam on his car's brakes to avoid crashing into a vehicle along Bedok Reservoir Road after a naked man ran out onto the road. Soon after, the man was pinned down by a group of pursuing police officers. He recalled, "I witnessed a dramatic scene on the road in front of Block 136 Bedok Reservoir Road at around 2.26pm. I was forced to E-brake because the car in front of me braked suddenly to avoid knocking into a naked man who dashed out suddenly. After that, a group of men in black clothes and police officers were seen pinning the naked man down in the middle of the road. He was later shifted to the grass patch in front of the block and covered with some clothing."

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In November 2012, a Chinese man in his 40s walked around near the giant globe at Universal Studio's entrance at Sentosa after taking off his clothes[58]. Some passers-by whipped out cameras or cellphones to snap pictures and he proudly raised his arms to pose according to evening newspaper Shin Min Daily News. One eyewitness, who was there with his family, told the tabloid: "The man was smiling widely and did not seem embarrassed at all."

In December 2012, artist-photographer Geraldine Kang's new project entitled "In the Raw" featured frank photographs of her and her family partially in the nude[59].

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In December 2013, several Chinese newspapers reported that a woman had been posing nude in front of several landmarks in Singapore. 30 or so of the woman's pictures had surfaced on the Internet, showing her in various states of undress with her face masked. Some showed her exposed private parts, while others showed her making seductive gestures at the camera. Several locations in Singapore, including the National Orchid Garden and the riverside could be seen in the backgrounds of the photos.

2013

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On 14 February 2013, it was reported in The New Paper that more local couples were approaching professional photographers to have nude shots of themselves taken[60],[61]. At least one professional photographer had been approached by couples to take photos of them while they were having sex. The photographer, Kelvin Lim, told the tabloid that 8 couples had asked him to do so. The 41-year-old, who had been in the business for 11 years, worked from a studio in the Lentor area. He specialised in nude and sensual photography. "Yes, it is a sex shoot but it's not pornography," he said of his erotic portfolio.

On 16 February 2013, a STOMPer named Andrew spotted a naked man walking near a hawker centre along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 at night[62]. He said, " A naked man was walking along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 last night between 11.15pm to 11.30pm. There were lots of people eating at the hawker centre nearby and staring at him. The man was just walking around calmly and drinking water. He hung around for 10 to 15 minutes, then crossed the road and disappeared."

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On 26 February 2013, The New Paper reported that an agitated man in Bukit Panjang stripped naked in public, one piece of clothing at a time, and caused a commotion[63]. A passing policeman saw him and told him to get dressed, but the man refused and charged at the officer. He even threw a punch at the policeman’s face, which the officer evaded. When the officer threatened the man with a Taser gun, he still continued to be agitated until two more officers helped to arrest him.

In March 2013, sociology students from the National University of Singapore undertook the first local study on nudism. They sent the following letter to several members of SgNudClub[64]:

"Dear Sir,

We are students from the National University of Singapore, majoring in Sociology. We are doing a research paper on subcultures in Singapore and we are interested in finding more about the topic of Nudism. We found your contact through the SGNudClub from yahoogroups.

We are interested in finding out what nudism stands for, be it making a social statement or any other reasons. If you're comfortable with sharing your thoughts on this topic, we would appreciate it if you could answer some of our questions (listed below).

All responses will remain anonymous and it will be strictly confidential. We would gladly appreciate it if you could reply by 9th March, Saturday night.

Thank you for taking time to read this. We hope to hear from you soon!

Beverly and Jessica

National University of Singapore

Questions

1. What made you want to join SGNudClub?

2. What did you expect to gain from joining SGNudClub?

3. What are your thoughts about nudism?

4. What makes you want to engage in nudism (with yourself/others)?

5. How do you think nudists are seen by society?

6. Particulars - Age - Nationality - Sex"

In July 2013, it was reported in the Asia One forum that a woman was arrested after she boarded a bus totally naked[65]. Passengers were stunned to see the nude woman. She reportedly boarded Service No 76 at 9.25am this morning from a Block 641, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 bus stop. Witnesses said she was expressionless when boarding the bus. She even tapped her EZ-Link card. "There was about 20 passengers on the bus, including a couple with a 3-year-old child. Everyone was stunned and did not know what to do. Some tried to avoid looking at her," a witness said. The woman then went to the back of the bus and sat down quietly. She then alighted at the next stop with other passengers, transferring to Bus Service 269 with them. The witness then called the police and told them the direction which the bus was heading in. The police said a 40-year-old Chinese woman was arrested.

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File:NudismInSpore049.jpg

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On 22 July 2013, The New Paper reported that on the morning of 28 June 2013, 23-year old part-time model Kendrick Lim was about to be unveiled to the press as one of the contestants for Manhunt Singapore 2013. However, he did not turn up at the press conference that day because he was shaken by a nude photo, alleged to be of himself, that was delivered to his letterbox in an unmarked white envelope[66]. He was also perturbed that his mother, a housewife in her 40s, had seen the photo. The person who sent it called herself "Miss M Ng", and claimed she had received the photo from Lim in the midst of a raunchy chat in which the latter called her "hot", asked about her "skills" and boasted about his own.

In July 2013, it was reported in the Asia One forum that two men were captured on video walking into some bushes at Tampines and then stripping completely naked[67].

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2014

On Thursday, 13 March 2014, a man boarded a southbound train at Bukit Batok station on the North-South Line, and began to undress during the journey until he was completely naked[68],[69],[70],[71]. A netizen, who posted a photo of the man online, wrote that the man "started to strip bare naked and started playing with his genitals" at Yishun station. The man decided to lie down on the floor after that. An SMRT spokesman said a passenger activated the emergency communication button at Yishun station at 6.54pm, and SMRT staff boarded the train at Khatib at 6.56pm to take the man away. He was handed over to the police for further investigation and arrested the following day.

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On Tuesday, 18 March 2014, The New Paper published an article which reported that 5 young women said they had no qualms about taking nude selfies and sharing them with their boyfriends[72]. They said “it’s not always obscene” and are not worried about leaks or the potential of blackmail. “If you are pretty, and have the assets, I don’t see why you cannot flaunt it,” said a 19-year-old student who wanted to be known only as Cloud and who took full-body nude selfies.

On Thursday, 29 May 2014, threesixty magazine posted on their Facebook page, a video of a naked Chinese man clinging on to a motorcycle rider in front of Central at night. To get him to let go, the motorcyclist hit him on the head and kicked him in the buttocks after which the naked man ran a short distance before walking calmly to the side of the road[73].

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On 3 June 2014, a woman named Mary posted a photo to the Asia One forum of a drunken man with his pants pulled down lying on the floor of an HDB void deck at Block 270, Yishun Street 22[74]. Her 5-year old daughter also saw the man. She called the police who arrived shortly and escorted the man away.

Penang Nude Sports Games 2014

Main article: Penang Nude Sports Games 2014 saga

The most significant event in Singapore and Malaysia's nudist history occurred on 31 May 2014 when a Malaysian living in Singapore organised the "Penang Nude Sports Games 2014", a whole-day nudist sports event held at a secluded beach in Teluk Bahang in Penang National Park. Male and female naturists from Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar took part and the organiser produced a video to commemorate the occasion[75]:


PenangNudeGames002 PenangNudeGames001

It was unfortunate that the video caused an uproar amongst the prudish Malaysian public and resulted in the prosecution of most of the participants even though on the day of the event, nobody saw them engaging in their healthy, non-sexual naturist activities.

In the aftermath of the event and the intense public discussion it engendered, The Straits Times on 26 August 2014 published a comprehensive article entitled, "No sex, please, we are nudists", about the state of nudism in Singapore[76].

2018

Lee Kuan Yew proposed Sentosa nudist colony

In November 2018, the authorised biography of Singapore's second Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, was published. It was written by former Straits Times journalist Peh Shing Huei and entitled, "Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story". In the Afterword, Goh revealed that Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew mooted the idea of setting up a nudist colony on Sentosa during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s to the mid-2000s to lift the island nation out of the economic doldrums:

"As an aside, Lee Kuan Yew was more liberal than we think. Or more practical. When the tourism sector was down, he floated the idea of a nudist colony in Sentosa or an offshore island to bring them in! The younger ministers vetoed him."[77],[78],[79]

Nudity in theatre

"Quills", a play about the life of the Marquis de Sade was staged by theatre company, Luna-id, from 16 to 25 September 2005 at the DBS Arts Centre, home of the Singapore Repertory Theatre. It featured a groundbreaking one hour of full-frontal male nudity by Rehaan Engineer, a Mumbai-born British-trained actor[80].
NudismInSpore038 File:NudismInSpore039.jpg

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A performance art event directed by Zai Kuning in the mid-2000s featured both male as well as female full frontal nudity[81].

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The play "251" about the life of Annabelle Chong, written by Ng Yi-Sheng and directed by Loretta Chen, was staged by theatre company Toy Factory from 5 to 15 April 2007 at the Esplanade Theatre Studio and featured female topless nudity by actress Cynthia Lee MacQuarrie, who starred as Chong[82],[83],[84].

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"Equus", staged by Toy Factory at the National Library's Drama Centre from 25 August to 3 September 2011 featured full-frontal male nudity by Singaporean actor Ethan Chia[85],[86],[87],[88],[89].

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On 19 February 2012 at the Guiness Theatre of The Substation, film director, actor and performance artist, Loo Zihan, re-enacted Josef Ng's 1993 performance art protest entitled "Brother Cane" in which he introduced an innovation not presented in the original, historical event - full frontal nudity[90] (see main article: The Josef Ng affair).

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On Saturday and Sunday, 17 and 18 August 2013, theatre practitioner and dancer Vincent Chia staged a performance incorporating nudity towards the end of the one-hour show at the dance studio on the second level of The Substation. It was an abstract depiction of the performer's life entitled "My Sentimental World". The event was advertised on Facebook[91] and subsequently, also on other websites.

Singapore nudist groups

Nudist organisations in Singapore are unfortunately characterised by their lack of longevity. Most operate for less than a year to several years and the events organised are irregular, few and far-between. Among the reasons for closure are the fear of controversy and a public outcry, or the discontinuation of web hosting services such as Yahoo! Groups.

In 2004, an American expatriate in Singapore named Adrian set up a group called Nudist Nature Walk. Its facilitation was later taken over by a Singaporean named Alan when Adrian relocated to New York[92].

In 2006, a Yahoo!Groups news list, SgNudClub[[93]], was founded as a further development of Nudist Nature Walk. It provided a forum where members could share their views and organise private gatherings, especially yoga sessions and pot luck dinners. Sex is strictly prohibited during all its events. Nocturnal nude walks in secluded areas at night were also held in the early years of the group's existence. It is currently being moderated and managed by Albert Yam.

Several local naturists also set up Facebook pages for nudists in Singapore - Singapore Nudist Society in 2006[94] and SgNaturistFriends in 2010[95].

In September 2010, a Yahoo!Groups news list for male gay nudists, Singapore gay nudists, was started[96].

The following is a more complete list:

Broadcast media reports and public debate

On 29 Dec 10, The Straits Times' Razor TV uploaded an episode which featured a nude calendar of oversized girls[106].

On 18 Jan 11, Channel News Asia telecast an episode entitled "Baring it all" in their BlogTV series. It was hosted by Timothy Go and May Wong who moderated a panel discussion in which two sides presented their arguments for and against having a nudist colony in Singapore in the wake of the recent spate of incidents involving public nudity[107],[108].

Blog TV discussion on public nudity in Singapore (Part 1 of 2)

Blog TV discussion on public nudity in Singapore (Part 1 of 2)

Blog TV discussion on public nudity in Singapore (Part 2 of 2)

Blog TV discussion on public nudity in Singapore (Part 2 of 2)


  • See also BlogTV's trailer[109]:
Trailer for Blog TV's "Baring it all"

Trailer for Blog TV's "Baring it all"


behind-the-scenes footage[110]:

Behind the scenes of Blog TV's "Baring it all"

Behind the scenes of Blog TV's "Baring it all"


and bloggers' commentsnudist-colony-in-our-heartlands/).

The future

Singaporean nudists hope to have designated public spaces such as a stretch of beach where nudity is legal.

They would also like international events such as the World Naked Bike Ride(nakedbikeride.org/,[111],[112]) to be held here.

A loosening up of local attitudes toward public nudity and the repeal of current legislation to allow such activities in circumscribed areas would also have positive spin-offs for the Singapore economy.

See also

External links

  • Naturist holidays in Asia:[113].
  • Naturist resorts in Thailand:[114].
  • ClothesFree.com:[115]
  • World Naked Bike Ride:[116]
  • The world's capital of nudism - Cap d'Adge, France:[117],[118]

References

Further reading

Acknowledgements

This article was written by Roy Tan.

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