Members of the staff were apparently going through some hours in the office as what looks like full-strength crew
It isn’t certain if the Vogue SG office is cleared by the authorities to resume work without safe distancing measures in place. But recently posted Facebook photos that look like screen shots of Instagram Stories seem to suggest that measures implemented since the start of the Circuit Breaker two months ago are not applicable to the Vogue team. They were shown to be in the office, savouring what may be considered close proximity. Just two days earlier, to the relief of many, the lockdown was eased. Regardless, if working in the office is a must or demonstrably necessary, “those in the same shift or team must be at least 1m apart and wear a mask at all times,” as reported in The Straits Times.
A total of four, people-filled photos were posted, with three attributed to musingmutley, a known handle of Vogue SG’s appointed-in-April Aussie editor-in-chief Norman Tan, who once wrote in Buro (where he was once also its EIC) about millennials, noting their “idealism hampered by impatience”. These photos were shared last night, at 10.34, by Kien Lee, the main man behind Senatus, on his personal Facebook page. Together with the photos, Mr Lee wrote, “I understand my peers will find it tough on their personal careers to call this out personally so I’ll do it cos nobody can fire me. #VogueSG did not follow social distancing guidelines when they were so happy receiving Apple Store Singapore gifts of Macbooks, iPhones and iWatches.”
Two wefies appeared to be shot by Mr Tan, until recently the editor of Esquire SG, during what he described as a “tour” of the office, said to be in Syed Awi Road, where parent company Indochine Media Ventures (IMV) is sited. To be sure, one of the captions expressed the photographer’s concern: “First day back in the office and I feel you guys are too close.” Awareness sans action is, as one office manager we spoke to said, “paying lip service. Even Anna is working from home!”
Vogue SG, is published under license agreement with IMV, also publisher of Esquire SG, Buro, and Robb Report. The first issue is expected to “launch in Autumn” this year, which is taken to mean September. In a statement issued to the media in January, Condé Nast stated that “Vogue Singapore rejoins the market at a time when Singapore’s local fashion design and talent are rising in the country and across the entire region.” This was before COVID-19 became a pandemic.
“Rejoins” was correctly put. It would be Vogue SG’s second attempt at capturing a slice of the magazine pie here. Its first early issue, curiously managed and edited by Vogue Australia, appeared in September 1994. Just three years later, after 29 issues, what was considered a fashion bible quietly wrapped up. The comeback of Vogue—our own, not the “Singaporean version of Vogue Australia”, as it was once called—understandably would have excited the staff to want to return to the swim of things—perhaps not this eagerly.
Updates (4 June 2020, 10:05): As of this morning, the public FB posts are no longer available to view. (4 June 2020, 15:20): The post is made public again. (5 June 2020, 09:40): Removed again.
Update: (8 June 2020, 09:10). The New Paper reported on the controversial post today and cited an MOM advisory, which said: “Employers must ensure that employees do not socialise or congregate in groups at the workplace, including during meals or breaks. Where physical interaction cannot be avoided precautions should be taken to ensure clear physical spacing of at least one metre between persons at all times.”
Screen grabs: Facebook