The 19-year-old lass who posted nude pictures of herself on the internet set Singapore's blogging community abuzz in the hot month of June 2005, but lawyers say she is probably not breaking any obscenity law in the conservative city-state, where oral sex is illegal and prostitution not.
Writing under the handle Sarong Party Girl (a.k.a SPG, a derogatory term for a girl who, in her own words, dates Caucasians because of their "huge disposable income, excessive dates, extravagant holidays and kinky underwear"), her weblog unabashedly records her life, erotic aspirations, and numerous sexual escapades with non-Asians while she waits to penetrate (pardon the pun) the academic world. It was claimed she had a following of about 3000 readers since she started her blog in February last year.
"There is nothing wrong with having a nude picture of yourself published or on show, as long as there is an artistic value to it," she told the Straits Times. "These pictures were nice." She admitted however that the blog had been kept secret from her Christian parents (who has since persuaded her to remove the revealing pictures).
"If someone were to flash himself physically, it's very clearly an obscene act," opined lawyer Jonathan Kok. "But on the internet, it's a grey area."
Bloggers like 22-year-old Gabriel Seah think nothing of her lack of inhibition. “The Internet is a free society.” But others like Ng Heng Ghee, a 33-year-old IT technician and father of two, thought otherwise. “What she has done reflects badly on her parents.”
Maybe her photo would have been more acceptable to horrified conservatives if, like the Crazy Horse topless revue planning to set up permanent abode in Singapore's Clark Quay expatriate hang-out, her breasts were "artistically bathed in light".
Some of her supporters argued that when Michelangelo carves a nude statue of David, it is called it art. Davinci sketches the nude male form, it is called art. Botticelli paints bare breasted, voluptuous maidens, it is called art. These and thousands of other works of artistic expressions dealing with the unadorned human form are celebrated; we consider them treasures of our species. But when SPG posts a rather tasteful, professionally taken (apparently she was paid for the shot) black and white nude photo of herself, one that was carefully planned, lighted and art-directed with thoughtful consideration to composition and form, it gets slammed as pornography.
And what does SPG has to say about all the flak?
"That photograph is of me taking a moment to appreciate myself, and telling everyone else that they should do that too...
But the newspaper articles.. what were they about?
They were about a nipple.
Give me a ... break. Who has not seen nipple? Who in Singapore has not sucked a nipple in their life?
I KNOW nipples. To the jerk that insulted my parents, my mother sure raised me well, buster. From the time she suckled me, she sure as hell did.
Singapore will NEVER becoming artistically vibrant unless we really lighten up. Why is it all right to see naked pictures on the blogs of girls from the US, some of which are assuredly more highly eroticized then mine, but scandalous to have it come from a Singaporean girl? The last time I checked, we have all the same bits."
Naturally there were some bloggers who took offense at her bare-it-all attitude, and some shot themselves in the foot by capitalizing on her methods.