Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nudism in Singapore

Swede Jan Philip and Singapore A*Star scholar Eng Kai Er strolled around Holland Village in the nude on one January night.

They will appear in court again on April 30 to answer to the charges under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act.

I wonder sometimes, why is nudism wrong?

How does nudism offend someone else? Or rather, why is it considered offensive when a person sees the naked body of another person?

Nudism is non-sexual in most cases, so we are not talking about public sexual intercourse or other sexual acts, both of which have been given the "private" label of "sexual intimacy".

Yes, it is taboo even in most nudist communities for a man to walk around with an erection. But why are erections wrong or offensive? In what way do they offend the observer?

And again, in what way is it morally wrong for the two persons to be nude in the public? Imagine a 6-year old kid asking you this, "What did they do wrong?" How do we explain to the child, other than saying, "It's just wrong!" or "God said so!"

What is it in us that causes us to feel offended when we see nude people? How do we rationalise?

I think if I were to see a nude couple, I will probably be surprised and laugh, rather than feel revolted.

I think a lot of meanings have been ascribed to nudism, and in the end, resulted in stereotypes and myths dominating the issue/phenomenon.

Some say nudists or people who walk around in the buff, are perverts. The thing is, what is it about our minds, and our social conditioning and beliefs that have led us to rationalising and labelling them as perverts?

Onto shame. Do we feel more shame than the nudists folk, that we want to make them feel shameful about it as well?

I believe exhibitionism exists because of voyeurs, but most voyeurs prefer to be recognised as morally righteous.

Let's use the "think about the children" argument. In what way is nudism harmful to kids? Does it make children ask more questions and challenge our existing systems of beliefs, and see whether we are able to explain and justify each and every tenet? How can we prove that nudism is inherently wrong (on its own)?

I think that we are socialised into a world that strictly separates private and public. And to maintain this distinction, there are social and legal sanctions to regulate our behaviour. We use shame and fines/imprisonment to regulate. This naturalises nudism to be inherently immoral and wrong. So people, who are well-socialised, will be able to "naturally" develop the "correct" reactions towards nudism in different domains of life, private and public.

What is it about religion, pop culture, capitalism, patriarchy, etc. that makes us have an unfavourable view of nudism?

17 comments:

puzzled said...

nudism is "wrong" to people who cannot come to terms with the fact that human beings are in fact animals, i think. to them, only animals who "have no shame" will "parade around" nude (except for paris hilton's chihuahua). the concept of "shame" is brought in because of the genitals and the sexual function of the genitals - sex is "shameful" because of civilisation. before there was civilisation, people just mated with each other as naturally as animals do. now because of "civilisation", a lot of elaborate rituals and processes have been inserted in between of two humans having sex - courtship, fashion, signalling, etc. in a way i think nudity is taboo because it disregards "civilisation". same reason why erections are taboo - they are too frank and to-the-point (hahaha). according to the rules of "civilisation", the civil way of showing your sexual attraction to someone is through symbolism and rituals (e.g. give flowers, give jewellery, ask out on dates, write poem).
just read the book i gave you!!!

Name; Weiye said...

I think it's a slippery slop kind of thinking that people might have about nudism. That if you allow nudism, then people will start asking for public sex to be decriminalize, and then you'll have all the drugs junkies asking the same, and the moral fabric of the society will be destroyed, and the basic family unit is damaged, and the list goes on until whole world die (probably because god decides that enough is enough and goes on to flood the world or send firestorm). Should I strike that off in case some fundamentalists think that I'm seditious? Ok. Academic freedom triumphs. If it helps in anyway, I'm also a Christian.

On another note, all justification of knowledge inevitably arise from subjective certainties aka intuitions, usually invoking god; these requires no aid from experience and are beyond the need of empirical (observational) testing.

From Locke to Heidegger, to Descartes, to Ludwig von Mises. At some point in their theories, philosophies, arguments, they will reason with 'apodictic' certainty. And that is something we have to live with because we can never have direct access to the reality.

Saltwetfish said...

If nudists are such perverts, then I pity those young children of native tribes in Africa or South America where the women walk about showing off their breasts or where men walking around with penis gourd and you can see their testicles. What will become of those children with soooo many perverts in their village including their own parents and siblings... I sometimes wonder.

I also sometimes wonder what happened Japanese children when they visit the naked festivals and see hundreds of men running around in loin cloth and a lot of them are naked. No wonder they tried to take over this half of the world, they are such perverts.

soojenn said...

Great angle, the perception of being a pervert is in the mind of the beholder.

In this instance, you have already brought a different angle to this situation. Not everyone views this current situation as the couple being perverts.. (maybe i wrong?).

However, it happens that in Singapore, this is an offence, as with selling chewing gums.

Pete Knight said...

"However, it happens that in Singapore, this is an offence, as with selling chewing gums."
Well it's time to challenge that outdated law, as is currently being done in Europe.

Nude is natural, once you get past the brainwashing, sorry; social conditioning and you feel the air and sun on your body there is no going back. If you've ever skinny dipped you'll know that it feels right, and a soggy chaffing costume is so very wrong.

Time for Singapore to establish the first nudist beach in Asia, be a trend setter, attract the buff dollar to the most vibrant and broad minded culture in Asia.

Go on, I dare you!

Agagooga said...

What does nudism have to do with 'patriarchy'?!

Sam Ho said...

i never said it (patriarchy) was. was just asking hahahaha.

Weiye said...

hmm.. it might.. have something to do with patriarchal's desire to keep women in check? that will probably explains why women who wear skimpy clothings (varying degrees of nakedness other than being fully covered) are criticized to be deserving of being molested/ raped, etc, while men can wear anything as long as the main areas are covered. Also explains why (some) men are okay with sleeping around but yet demand/ prefer a virginal wife.

But then what about male nudism? hmm...

socguy said...

because we are a 'conservative' society?

Agagooga said...

No one cares about skimpily-dressed men because almost no one but gay men look at men

Men like women
Women like women
Nobody likes men

Sam Ho said...

i think there are straight-identified men who will sneak a peek at other men in skimpy outfits, just that they don't admit it.

sdrghsr said...

it's obvious singapore will never have a beach where people can be naked .. you are so narrow minded ... grow up, join the real world

Sam Ho said...

sdrghsr, was that in reference to pete knight's comment? haha.

with regards to the "real world", i think there's a lot more out there, a lot more to life than just what majority of urban dwellers deem to be "real".

no offence intended, but i find it difficult to reconcile the 1st sentence and the 2nd.

Agagooga said...

There's also a lot more to life than what activists deem to be "real"

But yeah the whole "narrow minded" bit is mind boggling.

Maybe he meant "impractical".

Brandon said...

There is one thing to fight child porn. There far too much of it around the world. Why would anyone hurt a child? Now to be naked in a natural way, there is nothing wrong with it. Unfortunately, when read, hear, or whatever about court cases regarding, we do not know all of what has been given. What I have learned, there is more to it then simple being naked in front of kids or whomever.

Pete Knight said...

Religion exists only to control people, it is usually religious nutters who condemn nudity as sinful.

From the christian viewpoint, Adam and Eve were punished with shame for eating from the tree of knowledge. Many uptight christians claim that it is shameful to be naked, but I contend that nudists do not feel shame because their god has forgiven them, and anyone who is ashamed of their nakedness hasn't been forgiven by their god.

There is the concept of 'Secret Naturism' a concept practiced by many, including a large number in SE Asia. Find a quiet place to be naked as nature intended, feel the sun and air on all parts of your body. Skin is the largest organ of the human body, it is deprived of sensuary input by smothering it in clothes.

Nudity isn't a perversion, actions are the perversion, but simple nudity does not imply perverted actions, except in the minds of the guilty.

Agagooga said...

One can make that claim about most religious doctrines, and thus magick away parts of religion you dislike.