This interview was written by Raun A. Which is interesting, because until now, everyone has only been hearing from the girl in the ad. Here are a few words from the antagonist.
It was a nice day. SAFRA just gave themselves a pat on the back for making such a great ad.
And then lo and behold, this comment arose:
Dear Cindy Ng,
Are you kidding me?
No, wait, I apologize for my unmannerly conduct which may or may not have indirectly bordered on sexism or sexual harrassment.
First, let me congratulate you on your new found fame and glory; I too had a taste of it all those years ago when I pointed out a mistake in one of our exam papers. The respect and applause I had to take in got too overwhelming for me that I had to cover myself in a little hole I had to dig.
See, I read your comments on SAFRA’s poster mishap, and I can’t help but to respect your decision to have a go at them. That’s the thing about opinions, isn’t it? It’s good that people have one, and it’s also absolutely annoying that people have one. I respect yours, I just disagree with it.
Andy Wong, the distasteful and disrespectful antagonist in question, with his objectifying eyes fixated on a lady’s buttocks in the poster, has agreed to speak with me. Let us talk.
Me: Hey Andy! Been to the gym lately?
Andy: Everyday, haha!
Me: Those are big guns, you’re not going to crush me and roll me up into a ball, are you?
Andy: Haha, nah. Big is subjective; there’s always a mountain higher than the other. I’d never use muscles to intimidate people.
(Andy Wong, BEFORE!)
Me: Good to hear. Right. Serious stuff now. Are you a manic pervert?
Andy: Nope, no time to actually be one, haha. Busy schedules day in day out to be checking out girls.
Me: Speaking of, tell me how that poster came about. How were you approached?
Andy: I was approached by a friend of mine. They needed a fit looking person to encourage fitness and asked if I was willing to help. Sure! Why not? So on the day of the shoot, they got the gym to prepare the stuff and I was told about the scenario. The instructions were clear that they wanted an expression that showed I was distracted by a woman working out, instead of looking perverse.
Me: Nice. Were you well acquainted with the woman in the poster?
Me: So the first time you met her, you were instructed to be distracted by her bottoms?
Andy: Hahaha yes!
Me: Dreamy. Were the both of you aware or did you imagine the sort of message it would send out to Netizens, and Cindy in particular?
Andy: We both were, especially her. She knew we had to look in her direction and look distracted!
Me: Are you sure you’re not a pervert?
Andy: Am not la!
Me: Sorry. Just needed clarification that gym-goers and bufflords like yourself actually use the gym for appropriate reasons. Anyway, I need help, mate. Heard you were once fat?
Andy: I was!
Me: I’m there now. What’s the least painful way from flab to fab?
Andy: There’s no easy way out. Proper dieting and proper training; you eat right, you train right, you’ll look right.
Me: Was it all worth it?
Me: Psst… Between us, have the ladies checked you out before? Perhaps you’ve seen them glance a stare of your bottoms instead?
Andy: Hahahaha yes they have. Some have even come up and commented on my physique.
Me: Oh sh–!
What?! A woman checked a man out in the gym?!
See, Cindy, it works both ways; you complain about distasteful colours splashed on that poster with a female being a victim of casual objectification while completely pissing on the possibility of the male being put out to be a victim of lustful and immature behavior.
Besides, it’s an advert. I’m no genius but I’d imagine they go through tons of mind-numbing ideas before choosing one that captures attention. Do you remember that Oreo advert you caught at the bus-stop the other day? Or that coffee one, you can’t go wrong with coffee adverts? No. You don’t. You, however, had your attention hooked to this particular ad.
SAFRA 1 – 0 Cindy
Your immature and barbaric outburst caused a spark which brought this poster, of which I had no prior knowledge of, to my attention, and to hundreds and thousands others. No such thing bad publicity, eh?
SAFRA 2 – 0 Cindy
It baffles me how you can squeeze out time to complain or worry about something so minute, so much so that I found time for it myself!
I’ve got my future to worry about, haven’t you heard, we’re the most expensive city in the world!
I’ve got to complain about this blistering heat and the lack of rain. I’ve got to worry about that cup of strawberry yoghurt in my fridge that expires tomorrow. After studying and working for hours on end for a future that already seems bleak in Singapore, I’d welcome tongue-in-cheek and witty humor with wide open arms. High time you did too.
It feels good and powerful to be behind a screen of a computer or a phone and send through such words like you have, trust me, I feel quite the same right now.
One thing to call SAFRA out on such an event, whole other thing for you to personally email Warner Brothers or Woody bloody Allen for a portrayal of women that wasn’t quite up to your liking. I hope you think of Andy and I the next time you ogle at a picture of shirtless and stubbled Ryan Gosling holding a kitty cat.
Double standards, ugh.
If the poster still offends you and the very morals you stand for, stay indoor kids; it’s brutal out world out there.
Raun Anand @theindiedave
P.S. Andy shares his journey from fat to fit on his Instagram account. Hardly advertising, but you’ll find tips and whips to get yourself up to shape there. @andywongtw on Instagram.
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