Half Mast

So wearing the national flag across your groin, as our water polo team are wont to do, is a no-no. The crescent moon poking out of their collective crotches in Guangzhou was deemed “inappropriate” by those whose job it is to monitor these things. (“Hilarious” might have been an even more appropriate description, but perhaps it doesn’t strike a sufficiently authoritative tone.) MICA want elements of the flag to be treated with dignity, as opposed to covering our boys’ dignity.Let’s turn to the statute books to see where we stand. The Arms and Flag and National Anthems Act doesn’t explicitly mention Speedos, though it does say that the flag shall not be “used as, or as part of, any … covering” or “incorporated or worn as part of any costume”. For what it’s worth, it also insists that the flag must always be “aloft and free”, and never “dipped in salute to any person or thing”. Part III Section 7 even begins with the words “When the flag is hung …” Case closed, then.Yet other provisions of the same law have been relaxed over the years—no one stops us adorning our car with the flag around National Day any more—so it’s possible that the lawmakers just haven’t got around to updating the rules for this modern age of remixes, mash-ups and crossovers. Allow us to give you some guidance on what is and is not acceptable.

  1. Thou shalt not wear the flag as a cape.
  2. Shaving the stars into the back of your head is never a good look. Not even when you’re 15 years old.
  3. The banana galaxy is something you order at Starbucks; it is not accepted slang for the flag.
  4. Only ang mohs can get the flag tattooed on their arm. This isn’t a rule, it’s just a practical requirement. The skin must be sunburnt to start with.
  5. Pillowcases, bedsheets and curtains bearing the flag aren’t just illegal, they’re plain weird. You think they say national pride; but anyone you bring back for the night will think twice.
  6. It is possible to create a true-to-life, 3D version of the flag using a swimming pool, 10,000 liters of Campari and some carefully positioned white inflatables. This doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.