~ By Bertha Henson ~

The debate over the Sticker Lady is getting real interesting. Whether it’s art – or not – is one point. The second question is whether it is damage to other people’s property – or not – is another. I thought what Indranee Rajah told TNP is useful – how can it be that if you like something, its art and should be allowed even on other people’s property? If Sticker Lady gets off, then a precedent will be set for anyone who calls himself a street artist, even if he is less humorous than the Sticker Lady. I mean, what is art depends on whose point of view, right?

It would be more useful to look at the legal definitions of vandalism and public nuisance, which attract different penalties. So the online community wants her charged with being a public nuisance. Thing is, I wish some media had explained to me exactly what being a public nuisance is and whether her ”work” can be described as such.

What’s the law on this? If it fits, then maybe the Sticker Lady should be rapped with this. Yes, I am sympathetic. She is young, she didn’t invade a secure area like an MRT depot – and she made us laugh. So punish her lightly and make it clear that anyone attempting the same would be whacked with vandalism.

Then again, the Sticker Lady taught us a few things – the ability to laugh at ourselves. I’m sure the authorities aren’t too pleased about having to erase those markings on the road or peeling off those stickers, but there’s something to be said about injecting some levity on Singapore streets. Maybe the public agencies can adopt/adapt some of her work.

That sticker "No need to press so many times" on traffic light stands could remain, no? I mean, we’ve all seen those 'jabbers'.

I suppose "Not your grandfather’s road" stencilled on the tar have to be wiped off. But maybe future signs prohibiting jaywalking could say "NO JAYWALKING (not your grandfather’s road)". Only problem is when it really IS someone’s grandfather’s road and he’s jaywalking…

I would consider "Stop looking at your phone" stickers at crossings a public service/safety announcement. I mean, I wonder how many drivers have considered running over these people who look at the phone instead of the road and 'neglect to keep a look out' – the top cause of road accidents?

Maybe those signs along the expressways that tell you about traffic conditions, "Have a nice day" or "Think about your loved ones" could be cheerier. To deter speedsters: "ARE YOU SO KEEN TO MEET YOUR MAKER?" To get seatbelts onto passengers: "BELT UP YOUR WIFE AND SAVE HER LIFE." To alert motorists to troublesome traffic junctions: "ARE YOU SEEING RED YET?" To get drunk drivers off the road: "IF YOU CAN”T READ THIS; YOU’RE DRUNK." To get cyclists off pavements: "TAKE A HIKE IF YOU’RE ON A BIKE." – that’s because I can’t count the number of times I’ve been nearly run over….

As an aside, Today did not name the artist although the rest did. ST spoke to her and TNP had an interview with her uncle. Today said: This newspaper is not revealing the identity of the woman, who is the founder of an online magazine, as she has not been charged with any offence. A police spokesperson said the woman is currently out on bail.

So she hasn’t been charged yet? Just arrested and out on police (not court) bail? Then why are we talking as if she’s been charged with vandalism already? And if she hasn’t, she shouldn’t be named should she? Or is that okay? I am getting rusty about these things….

TOC thanks Bertha Henson for her contribution, this article first appeared on her blog. Bertha Henson is a former Associate Editor of 'The Straits Times'.


You May Also Like

GCT’s speech avoids mentioning obstacles towards inclusive leadership and equitable society

by Chris Kuan “We must guard against social inequity as a new…

If FMC is serious about not blacking out or whitewashing some parts of history, then it will need to deal with some of the less salubrious bits of our history

According to news reports, plans are underway to build a “Founders’ Memorial”…

Singapore needs to rethink its management of local & foreign talent if it wants to remain competitive in oil and gas industry

Recently, Singapore has been tightening the hiring requirements for expats. It’s now…

A sign that there may not be a walkover after all?

Two weeks back, I wrote about three reasons why we can expect…