Or is it a PR stunt by the hand gel industry?

A letter in today’s Standard catches my eye:

I was traveling on public transport last week and in front of me, facing me, was a child and his father. The father for about three to four minutes picked and cleaned his son’s nose. I felt compelled to [interfere and kick up an embarrassing fuss].

He took offense to my social etiquette critiquing and found some backing from an Irishman several seats behind me.

My point is this, regardless of gender, creed, race or nationality, I plead with you, please refrain from nose picking, nail-clipping, ear picking and shaving, yes shaving, on public transport.

I for one have had enough. Furthermore, if you see it being done, feel free to voice your opinion because if you don’t you are condoning this kind of behavior.

Jeff Bell

There are two possible explanations.

One is that this is a concocted item aimed to push the Sing Tao-owned Standard’s profit-driven, pro-Beijing agenda.  It patriotically shows the Western protagonist in a bad light, wantonly intruding into others’ domestic affairs – just like foreigners do by consorting with the Dalai Lama.  It curries favour with the Communists by urging disturbingly Singaporean-style curbs on longstanding and cherished civil liberties; today nose-picking, tomorrow freedom of speech.  And of course it serves the Standard’s own commercial interests.  If all these other activities were banned on buses and trains, there would be nothing left to do while commuting except sort out your partner’s zits or read the free newspaper. The giveaway is the obviously made-up ‘Jeff Bell’.   You don’t fool me.

The second explanation is that there really is a Jeff Bell, who really does witness acts of father-on-son nasal burrowing while riding to work, who remonstrates, and who gets rebuffed, and who writes to the newspapers about it.  But that’s just too much to believe.

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