updated 20 Dec 2011, 05:40
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Tue, Nov 15, 2011
The New Paper
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Too much fuss over too little on Fussi?
by Maureen Koh

It was clear right from the start.

My deputy news editor points to Fiona Fussi's photo in The New Paper and asks: "If she was your daughter, would you allow her to dress like this?"

He sounded like he doesn't particularly approve of her bikini.

If my daughter, who turns 11 on Tuesday, has that potential to start a modelling career and really enjoys it because it's her passion, I'd say yes.

But right now, all she wants to be is a scientist.

Yeah, right.

One point hits home after a random heartland pick of 30 uncles and 30 aunties were shown Fiona's picture.

You know what, the men, they just don't get it.

"Oh, she's gorgeous."

"Wah, so sexy."

"Definitely stunning."

Such are the reactions from all 60 of them.

Throw in her age and 29 of the 30 men cluck disapprovingly.

Fishmonger Lim Chay Seng, 50, says in Hokkien: "Cannot lah. How can a 15-year-old girl wear like that?

"If she's my daughter, will sure tiok hoot (get a beating) from me."

Coffee stall helper Robert Ang, 44, asks: "You mean her parents are okay with it?"

Retiree Vincent Soh, 70, feels that "it's a sign our young girls these days just don't know how to dress decently".

Mr Goh Yuen Neng, the only man who is fine with Fiona in a bikini, says: "Aiyah, it's not like she's wearing it walking down Orchard Road."

The fruit seller, 56, adds: "There's always a time and place for whatever attire." Indeed.

How often do we see teenagers or young girls in shopping malls or on the streets, strutting around in tight tops and shorts or skirts that barely cover their butts?

Often enough, declares Madam Lin An-an, a chicken rice seller.

Madam Lin, 60, says: "Sometimes, they sit at my stall and you can see, men and women alike will give them the dirty look.

"Not right to be wearing like that."

Beancurd seller Yang Meina, 48, recalls how "dao wei kou" (literally it means to spoil one's appetite) it can be when a young girl dresses wrong.

Madam Yang stresses: "Picture this, the girl wears a transparent white top, but wears either a red or black bra.

"That, seriously, is worse." Madam Manisah Wahid, 51, a housewife, finds it silly that the bikini shot has raised some eyebrows.

"I think she looks so pretty. And very confident. I like it very much," she asserts.

"It also goes to show that Singapore does have beauties who can carry such outfits with class."

See, we women appreciate beauty and sophisticated sexiness when it's portrayed in the right manner.

Mr George Sakkali, commercial and media director of Elite Management Singapore, understands and accepts that it's quite natural that "a minority of older members of the community may raise eyebrows".

He says: "It's partly because these events are rare in Singapore and also because Fiona stands out as a beautiful woman that has grabbed the nation's attention.

"We prefer to embrace Singapore's youthful, cosmopolitan attitude and support Fiona in her choices, just as her parents, friends and most Singaporeans are supportive and impressed by her success."

He adds: "The entertainment industry is known for being subjective and opinionated and people love you or hate you.

"In every competition, there is bound to be comment - good and bad - and (it's) part and parcel of being in the limelight."

Also, swimsuit segments are de rigueur in most global beauty competitions.

So what's the big deal?

In Fiona's case, if you look closely, it's not like it's an itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini.

There's really nothing inherently provocative about it.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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