Sunday 16 September 2012

Wayang? It's a 'snapshot' of S'pore life for royal visit

The Straits Times, 15 Sep 2012

IT MUST have been a lovely sight to the royal couple.

A typical heartland scene from Singapore, with healthy elderly folk practising their taiji and silat in a playground while children swing about gaily from monkey bars.

That was what the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saw when they dropped by Queenstown this week.

Only, it was 3pm.

A time when very few children would be caught frolicking in a baking playground, and certainly no uncles will be practising taiji under the afternoon sun.

Netizens spotted the discrepancy straightaway, with one snapping a photograph of the scene a short while before the royal couple arrived, and one as they were walking through.

The first showed an empty playground, with a crowd lined along a path waiting for Will and Kate. Minutes later, it would seem, the playground was the most popular spot for taiji practitioners and children in Queenstown.

"Wayang!" protested some netizens.

"I think some of the uncles in the playground can win the Golden Horse award for Best Acting," quipped popular blogger mrbrown.

Others criticised the organisers of the visit for "staging" it.

Organisers explained that they never meant to give the idea that this was a typical scene in a housing estate at 3pm; they just wanted to give the royal couple a "snapshot" of Singapore life.

In any case, it appears that Prince William was fully aware of the show put on for him.

According to Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah, he had asked if Singaporeans really did practise taiji and silat in the afternoon.

"I explained that they wouldn't do so at 3pm because it's hot, and that these groups were just here to demonstrate," she said.

"It was explained to our visitors that we were just showcasing activities."

Guess they were just getting the royal treatment.

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