Sex, lies and videotape. It was the title of a famous movie, but over the past week it has turned into real life.
An anti-Islamic video called Innocence of Muslims, which makes Pussy Riot’s gig in the cathedral seem like a children’s prank, has ignited riots around the world.
The crass 14-minute video, replete with lies about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, veers from ridicule into gratuitous malice.
Those responsible obviously sought to provoke outrage, and must have known it could precipitate clashes that would lead to the loss of innocent lives, which it has already done.
Thankfully, the protests have been largely peaceful in this region, although Western embassies in Indonesia and Malaysia remain heavily guarded in case matters escalate and turn as violent as in the Middle East.
It’s a sombre situation and, without intending to be unduly frivolous, we must be grateful to Katherine Middleton’s breasts for bringing some relief to an otherwise profoundly depressing week for humanity.
It seems doubly ironic, given that Kate and Will were visiting Malaysia when the protests erupted, and that sex, lies and photography reared its impish head once again.
Knowing our innate voyeuristic instincts, probably more people checked out Kate’s hardly Playboy-prime boobs than viewed the inflammatory anti-Muslim video.
As Julia Roberts said in Notting Hill when puzzling over the male obsession with breasts: “They’re odd-looking, they’re for milk, your mother has them, you’ve seen a thousand of them. What’s all the fuss about?”
Well, tell that to Kate, or the more firmly endowed Thai artist Duangjai Jansaunoi, who went topless on a television show in June and used her knockers to execute a painting – a performance that shocked the nation.
Thailand, despite misperceptions in the West, is among the most conservative societies on the planet.
Nipples, bare bottoms or any other naughty bits never appear on Thai television or in the press. Sometimes one wonders how Thais learn how to reproduce.
And that aptly brings us to Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew.
There’s plenty of sex in Singapore, but as far as Lee is concerned far too much of it is done for fleeting pleasure, not procreation.
During last month’s national-day celebration, he lamented that if his young compatriots didn’t smarten up, Singapore as we know it today would vanish because of the pathetically low birth rate.appalling, anti, muslim, diatribe, overwhelms, cup, storm
But Lee himself is to blame for this. Early in his premiership, during the 1960s, he developed an irrational fear that overpopulation might wreck his dream of a super-efficient, squeaky-clean, short-haired island.
So, imbued with eugenic notions as daft and reprehensible as those of the anti-Islamic video’s makers and the boob-obsessed paparazzi, he imposed harsh anti-breeding provisions on his people.
Women were urged to get sterilised, while recalcitrant breeders were instructed to “Stop At Two” or face stiff financial penalties.
Speaking to university graduates last month, local author Catherine Lim recalled that a Singapore mother at that time had to produce a sterilisation certificate to enrol her young children in a school of her choice.
Lim rightly – and bravely – called this “Lee’s most infamous, egregious and draconian policy”. And considering some of the dotty notions he came up with subsequently, that’s saying something.
His son’s government is now seeking desperately to boost the birth rate with lavish benefits, dating services and risqué adverts.
But Singaporeans have become staunchly material boys and girls, and have evolved into a community of childless nesters.
One is tempted to suggest that they, and perhaps all of us, should rent a few videos that are provocative in a healthy sexual way, then emulate Kate’s cavorting behaviour on the French balcony.
If nothing else, it would take our minds off the religious holocaust that all the lies and unsavoury sexual slurs in that anti-Islamic video now threaten us with.
Contact our regional insider Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org