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Singapore slings a little caution to the wind

The people of Singapore are used to doing exactly what they are told. But the reins of the nanny state are relaxing... ever so slightly.

The man on stage was singing a song about hamsters.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/3861209.stm



Andrew Harding

BBC correspondent, Singapore

Singapore skyline
High rise, low tolerance
The

people of Singapore are used to doing exactly what they are told. But

the reins of the nanny state are relaxing... ever so slightly.

The man on stage was singing a song about hamsters.

It was, shall we say, a bawdy song. The animal welfare officers would not have approved.

Nor, you might have thought, would the government of Singapore.

After all, this is the great nanny state, the place where Playboy is

banned, jay-walking is almost unthinkable... and where nanny is not

known for her risqu? sense of humour.

And yet, the songs continued.

There was one about a sheep and another about Jesus - neither exactly tasteful.

The audience in the beautiful, government-funded theatre, roared with laughter.

I looked around me in the dark - a well-dressed couple were still giggling about the sheep.

Could it be that Singapore is starting to loosen up?

Western influence

Tiger Lily - the group singing the songs - was British, not local. But

that is not the point. In the past, the state has sought to shield

Singapore from all potentially corrupting influences like chewing gum,

and Cosmopolitan magazine, and Sex in the City.

But today, the authorities are beginning to invite them in.

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