Plushie For Posterity

A comic artist made a little toy in the likeness of one MBS woman. This could be the best-seller of a pandemic year, but it seems it isn’t for sale

It’s heartening to know that there are those who do not shine a light on the bad side of people. Although the now-famous “MBS woman” is (still) derided by Netizens for her refusal to wear a mask in public, repeatedly, and has been sent to court for the violation (to which she is asking the charges to be dropped), she is now depicted as a somewhat harmless mini-plushie, with the sweetness of Ang Ku Kueh Girl. The unknown comic artist, who goes by the handle Toast Comics, has made the recalcitrant no-masker—in what appears to be felt (but not Louis Vuitton’s ‘eco felt’)—approachable, likeable and squeezable, something you might like hanging from the corner of your bag. And there’s no mistaking her—she comes with a hang tag that is printed with her famous and quotable retort, “Do you have a badge?”

Toast Comics, despite his anonymity (his gender is known!), is a rather buzzy artist online. He has 6.1k followers on Facebook, which makes him a ‘nano’ influencer. He is known to beef-up ordinary-looking guys to give them near-superhero stature, if not status. He famously buffed up the Kopitiam Uncle mascot, complete with a new singlet that sports a gaping armhole, so large, it opens to the hip, calling the makeover the “sexy version”. He did the same to the Singapore Police Force’s avatar, Inspector Clif, reimagined as a strapping officer with muscles too big for his uniform. Even Workers’ Party’s Jamus Lim isn’t spared: his cartoon-self is a bare-chested, hammer-wielding, cockle-loving stud-politician! In fact, Toast Comics—also “a place where there is no such thing as ‘safe spaces’”—is the more PG-version of the artist’s true talent and obsession: drawing Asian men with the bodies of Greek gods, some with little left to the imagination. As his other alter ego Toastwire, he populates his illustrated world with men of extreme musculature and endowments, all against settings of fantastical colour, rather Gengoroh Tagame meets Tom of Finland meets Pierre et Gilles.

In contrast, MBS-woman-as-toy/caricature is all cuddly-adorable. As one FB follower said, “way too cute” (while others wonder if it’s a voodoo doll!). She is, of course, not anatomically correct, but her Mochi Peach Cat face is similar and her hair is especially spot on. Her recognisable Klein-blue shirt is precise, too, but at MBS that fateful afternoon, she wore knee-length bermudas. Toast Comics has graciously made her more feminine by dressing her in a skirt (admittedly, miniature shorts are harder to make). We’re surprised that he didn’t give her the physique of Joan Liew the bodybuilder!

Photo: Toast Comics/Facebook

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