Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Singaporeans having a ball with cocks

Maybe I am too sensitive, but I believe that many Singaporeans - mostly men - express themselves better using the metaphors of penis and testicles, or more affectionately known by their respective slangs, cock and balls.

Of course, unlike the cultural tactical warfare Malaysia is embarking on, I would believe that such phallocentric references are not unique to the Singaporean experience. Nevertheless, isn't it interesting to know that there are Singaporeans out there who better articulate their feelings using the imagery of penises, testicles and scrota (That's right, kids, the plural of scrotum is scrota, but you can use scrotums too, add a "z" instead of the "s" if you want to emphasize it a little more).

Being cosmopolitan, multicultural and basically anything that isn't culturally homogeneous, we borrow our metaphors from various cultures, Western as well as Eastern.

The most basic expressions involving the phallus are that of the possible activities you could engage with it, each rich in meaning and intent.

"You can suck my cock/dick" uttered by a male-bodied person, can mean many different things in different contexts. It may mean "not a chance", or "I want you to oblige", or "this is ridiculous", or that "I really want you to perform fellatio on me".

Perhaps it is the rightful abuse of male privilege, given the speaker is endowed with a male appendage. Still, whatever the intent of the speaker is, the message is conveyed in the articulation or suggestion of penis-centric activity.

We find many creative ways to express ourselves when we place the thing between our legs into the centre of communication.

"... until balls drop" and "die cock standing" give a vague explanation of how one might feel over an indefinite or prolong period of time or doing something or nothing. The penis and testicles are used as the measure of time in this respect.

"Break my balls", as we've heard it from the cartoon South Park, indicates as dissatisfaction with a poor bargain. For example, when the PAP government raises the GST to a higher percentage, people will say, "Hello! You're breaking my balls here!", or when Singapore is forced to have a freer press, the government will say, "You're breaking my balls, man!"

As for "balls bang/knock each other", I honest have no idea what this means. But clearly, given the ambiguity, vagueness and perhaps intended lack of clarity in the expression, the usage of penile imagery and expressions that indicate that these bodily entities have some autonomy to perform symbolic stunts, provide the Singaporean with an opportunity to equivocate.

There are other phrases that depict the testicles striking the penis. I cannot understand the symbolism of this imagery. Maybe someone can help me with this.

Sometimes the poetry of the cyclical seasons come into play when you have "balls shrink", "balls retreat into body", "grow balls", "lose balls", as if these phrases actually have an uncanny relationship with season-based agricultural practices.

"Suck cock buddies" are well, just two friends who share have some politics going on for them, resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship.

The act of sexual stimulation is invoked to represent the playing of politics, because what goes on in working relationships is seen as analogous to a private sexual experience. "Suck cock" and "carry balls" are used to explain how a subordinate strives to get on good terms with his/her superior, such that he/she will eventually be in an advantageous position.

Private parts have been used in the dictionary of swearwords, but somehow along the way, they appear to be naturalised into common and non-offensive dialogue. They are still quite effective for communication within one's culture, and definitely a good tool for those who have limited vocabulary.

What has become naturalised, we don't question. But it is interesting to find it from the speakers themselves. I assume most of them would be heterosexual males with the keen determination to maintain and defend their heterosexual maleness. What will they think if they're told about the frequent use of such imagery? Does it play a part in constructing or amplifying their heterosexual maleness? Do they not realise the autoerotic and homoerotic implications of their manner of usage of these expressions? Perhaps there are none?

I guess these forms of verbalisations involving penises is a new incarnation of penis worship. It is no longer the extravagant and explicit constructions and erections of phallic symbols and architecture, because the penis has been elevated to the level of the abstract, such that it figures subconsciously in our daily lives and dialogue. Older forms of penis worship are seen as archaic, myths and superstition. Yet, we need the penis (and balls) to fulfill our communicative needs. It apparently fills the hole in our articulation of our feelings and opinions. (Of course, you might infer a possible parallel of the penis to the ascension and appeal of monotheism.)

The use of cocks and balls is not only for the implication of sex but for the expression of nonsexual opinion and feelings. I wonder what we will think of next.

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