Singapore red faced over 'inappropriate' water polo trunks
The Singapore government has scolded its men’s water polo team at the Asian Games in China for the "inappropriate" use of symbols from the national flag on its players’ swimming trunks.
The prominent display of a white banana-shaped crescent moon on the groin of the bright red trunks drew praise from Singaporeans who found it “sexy” and “cool” but was condemned by others who considered it obscene.
“Unfortunately, the team did not seek our advice on the use of the crescent moon and stars when they designed their swim trunks,” the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts said.
“We would have told them that their design is inappropriate as we want elements of the flag to be treated with dignity,” it added in a press statement sent to AFP on Thursday.
Singapore has strict rules on the public display of the republic’s flag.
The word “Singapore” is emblazoned on the rear of the trunks, which could not be replaced under the rules of the two-week Asian Games taking place in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou until Saturday.
The Singapore team placed sixth after losing to Kuwait 5-4 on Thursday.
Team manager Samuel Wong apologised for the trouble caused by the uniform.
“We didn’t have the slightest intention to do anything funny on our trunks to insult Singapore,” Wong, who helped design the swimwear, told the Straits Times daily.
“We sincerely apologise if it has offended anyone.”
A heated debate erupted on news and social networking sites after pictures of muscle-bound water polo players in the eye-catching trunks were published.
“What the team did was disgusting and disrespectful,” reader Zhang Pete said on local website xinmsn.
“I think it’s cool! I’m a swimmer myself, I wld love to have one too! u guys rock!” reader Neo wrote on Yahoo Singapore.