ASIA NEWS NETWORK

WE KNOW ASIA BETTER

» Quirkies

Taoist robe in fashion show sparks furore

In this picture that was posted on the Floral Designers Society Singapore's Facebook page, a model is wearing an elaborate, red robe that has been identified by the Taoist Federation as a real ceremonial robe used by Taoist priests. FDSS has since deleted the photo from its page. -- PHOTO: FLORAL DESIGNERS SOCIETY SINGAPORE

Publication Date : 12-04-2012

 

SINGAPORE: At least two Taoists have filed police reports over the use of a Taoist priest's robe in a fashion show organised by the Floral Designers Society Singapore (FDSS) in March. Businessman Chua Kwan Ting, 52, said he felt "extremely offended" when he saw the robe being used at the fashion show in a photo published in The Straits Times on April 10. The photo showed a model wearing the robe walking down a runway. The picture was taken at an FDSS dinner held two weeks ago and uploaded to the society's Facebook page recently. The second complainant is Taoist priest Yeo Kah Hean, 35, who said he felt humiliated by the photo. Leaders of the FDSS met federation chief Tan Thiam Lye and apologised to the Taoist community. After the meeting, FDSS president Christopher Lim told The Straits Times: "We were not aware of the religious significance of the robe as we are not clothing specialists." Lim said the designer behind the outfit was the society's treasurer, who is believed to be a Taoist priest and committee member of the Taoist Mission, another religious society here. The designer could not be reached as of publication.

 

At least two Taoists have filed police reports over the use of a Taoist priest's robe in a fashion show organised by the Floral Designers Society Singapore (FDSS) in March.

Both men said they decided to go to the police as they were upset by the defilement of their religion's sacred robes.

Businessman Chua Kwan Ting, 52, said he felt "extremely offended" when he saw the robe being used at the fashion show in a photo published in The Straits Times on April 10.

The photo showed a model wearing the robe walking down a runway. The picture was taken at an FDSS dinner held two weeks ago and uploaded to the society's Facebook page recently.

Netizens who saw the photo were upset and complained to the Taoist Federation, the umbrella body for Taoist groups here.

Federation chief Tan Thiam Lye had urged devotees earlier this week not to lodge any police reports until he met the FDSS.

But Chua went ahead anyway. He said: "As a Taoist, I feel that the use of the robe as a fashion item is not acceptable.

"We should not sit back and do nothing about this issue."

The second complainant is Taoist priest Yeo Kah Hean, 35, who said he felt humiliated by the photo.

Leaders of the FDSS met Tan and apologised to the Taoist community.

After the meeting, FDSS president Christopher Lim told The Straits Times: "We were not aware of the religious significance of the robe as we are not clothing specialists."

He added that, in the future, the society would be more cautious about the use of costumes during its events.

Lim said the designer behind the outfit was the society's treasurer, who is believed to be a Taoist priest and committee member of the Taoist Mission, another religious society here.

The designer could not be reached as of publication.

When contacted, a Taoist Mission member said the committee member was overseas and declined comment.

 

Mobile Apps Newsletters ANN on You Tube