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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 3, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 49
Singapore water polo team makes fashion statement - Government not amused
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Singapore water polo team makes fashion statement - Government not amused

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Singapore's water polo team found itself at the center of a fashion controversy when it debuted its new swimsuit design at the Asian Games.

Like many teams, Singapore's tried to incorporate design elements from its country's flag, which features a white crescent and five stars on a red stripe.

It was the placement of the white crescent - directly over the swimmer's crotch - that sparked the controversy.

Photos of the water polo team were widely posted on the internet.

While some observers found the Singapore team's swimsuits amusing, the country's conservative government called the design inappropriate.'

Unfortunately the team did not seek our advice on the use of the crescent moon and stars when they designed their swim trunks,' Singapore's Information Ministry said in a statement.

We would have told them that their design is inappropriate as we want elements of the flag to be treated with dignity.'

The ministry told AFP news service that it would normally review the use of the flag on sports uniforms on a case-by-case basis.

A ministry spokesperson declined to specify which part of the design the government found objectionable.

The team apologized for its design choice, but denied it had deliberately insulted the national flag.

We didn't have the slightest intention to do anything funny on our trunks to insult Singapore,' team manager Samuel Wong told the Straits Times newspaper.

The rules of the Asian Games - held this year in Guangzhou, China - do not allow teams to change their uniform designs in the middle of competition, so the Singapore team is stuck with the offending swim suits.

They have promised not to use them again, however.

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