No Pink Shorts In Prison

Defiant to the end, this British no-masker, with a penchant for pastel berms, was not able to convince the judge that the law here does not apply to him

As we have said here on SOTD before, there are those who find the face mask we have to wear for the past year and a half totally unwearable, offensive, and revolting, so much so that they are willing to face jail time to keep one off their delicate faces. The British expatriate, who became famous in May when his no-mask defiance on an MRT train was filmed and shared, was sentenced to six weeks in jail this afternoon after what the press described as a “brief trial”. Apart from not wearing a mask on two occasions, other charges included “causing public nuisance” and “using threatening words on public officers (according to the policemen who arrested him, he had adopted a “boxing stance” and told them, “I am going to fucking drop you”—both he denied). It staggers the imagination that this guy could find mask wearing so objectionable that rage would consume him while reason took flight.

Netizens were quick to express how light the sentence is. When the “Living Man” goes to a living jail, he won’t be spending all six weeks inside as his sentence is backdated to 19 July, the day he was first remanded. He will thus be released in no time. Many are wondering if the relatively lenient punishment for violation as egregious as threatening public health is due to the fact that he is angmo. This is truly how the sentence is seen, even by foreigners. An American reader messaged us to say “it’s ridiculous that expats get the kid glove treatment.” He added, “I’m surprised that the UK has the sovereign citizen movement. I thought it was a ridiculously American disorder.” The Brit expat had earlier called himself a “sovereign” (basically he who decides for himself, not judges or police officers, what laws to obey) and told the court: “I know what a crime is, there must be a victim which is a living man or woman, not a legal fiction which is what you are, officers. You are not living men and women, they are legal fictions. I am living man, I control my public trust,” as reported.

The “living man” controls his public image too. Much was discussed publicly about his attire when he appeared in court on 2 July, wearing a short-sleeved, blue/white foliage-print shirt and a pair of pink, narrow-legged bermudas. The casual turnout for a court hearing shocked many following the case, which led to the question, “are shorts allowed inside State Courts (the Briton was tried and sentenced here)?” According to their online FAQ for visitors, one must dressed “appropriately” when visiting the State Courts (formerly the Subordinate Courts). This means “business wear, smart casual wear and traditional dress”. An accompanying illustration does not show men—or women—in shorts (short-sleeved shirts are allowed). But even those who have never attended a court session know that one must never dress that casually. Yet, the British offender wore knee-baring bermudas to hear his case in court. So did a man purported to be his “legal representative” who had previously been turned away from the courts for “inappropriate attire”, as reported. It’s not clear how inappropriately dressed he was. Lawyers, it seems, are held to a higher sartorial standard. Back to that July afternoon, it could really be hot, but surely not in a court room?

Again, we hear people say they are surprised that those who look this smart would be this far from smart. Some women were astonished that a “not-bad looking” Caucasian man, who “dresses well” (also, they think, in that May video that got him caught, when he wore shorts too), would so flagrantly disregard our laws. Manner of dress never reveals the law-refusal or ignoring nature of people. Certainly not the show of legs either. For some reason, this pandemic has unambiguously point to us how selfish and uncaring individuals can be, how mandates can be ignored, even ridiculed, how public decency is somehow outmoded and to be cast into the bin of lost social discipline, along with chivalry and courtesy, mindfulness and kindness, and used masks. Perhaps prisoners’ garb may serve some corrective function. But the “living man” won’t be in prison long enough to miss his pink shorts.

Update (19 August 2021, 13:05): According to CNA, the Briton is out of jail and has been handed to Immigration and Checkpoints Authority for deportation.

Illustrations: Just So

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