Flat Earth: Daddy's sauce

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The Independent Online
AH, Singapore, Singapore, where would we be without you? Flat Earth has always thought that the East-is-East- and-West-is-West thesis was a lot of Edwardian hooey which would be swept away by the onslaught of global technology and culture and so on. We must now adjust that pious opinion. Last week the PM himself, Goh Chok Tong, effectively banned an advert in which a toddler, with raised fist and wearing a baseball cap sideways, says: 'Come on, Dad. If you can play golf five times a week, I can have Sustagen once a day.'

OK, you think, it is a bit too horribly cute. But that wasn't Mr Goh's objection. 'Why put an American boy's way of speaking to a father into a Singaporean boy's mouth?' he asked. It encouraged insolence in the young and undermined 'the traditional politeness and deference Asian children have for their parents and elders'. The ad was, naturally, withdrawn at once.

Talking of American boys and their dads, we see that the father of one of the US teenagers charged in Singapore last year with vandalism and sentenced to a caning has himself been charged with assault in Singapore.

Robert Freehill, 51, is alleged to have bruised a university lecturer's shin while kicking his car on Christmas Day. Then, allegedly, he used criminal force by 'moving threateningly towards' a businessman, causing him to flinch and sprain his neck. What a trail of havoc] I blame it all on too much Sustagen in infancy.