Singapore gets adult entertainment mag
The two young women in short, red dresses and white go-go boots attracted stares from the lunchtime crowd in Singapore's busy Raffles Place financial district. Carrying a lollipop sign reading, "Better Sex at Love Airways magazine," they asked passers-by to stop and take a sexual habits survey. They had few takers; most people politely avoided them - not a surprise in Singapore, a tightly controlled city-state with a straight-laced reputation and a love of conservative "Asian values."
But the women's boss Wei Siang Yu, a.k.a. Dr. Love, believes Singaporeans are actually open-minded when it comes to sex, and are certain to take to his new "adult edutainment" magazine.
"We haven't been modern in the way we talk about sex," said Wei, 37, his trademark thick square glasses pushed up on his forehead. "Love Airways is a community platform to get it all out there, to talk about the new ways sex can evolve."
The magazine - to hit newsstands at the end of the month at Sinapore $4.50 (US$2.85; €2.25) - follows Wei's late-night sex-advice television program of the same name, which achieved moderate popularity late last year.
The magazine's reception may provide intimate insight into this wealthy island republic of 4.2 million, where sexual activity has in recent years ranked among the lowest in worldwide Internet surveys by condom maker Durex.
Singapore bans pornography, but does allow sex shops that sell a wide range of products.
Love Airways is not pornographic; the few nude photographs in the first issue are artsy shots in heavy shadow.
The country's Media Development Board, which issues magazine licenses, does not vet local publications, but can withdraw a license if a magazine receives too many complaints. Wei acknowledged he may have to self-censor in order to keep his license.
The magazine covers a broad range of topics, with articles on vaginal surgery, diets to maintain healthy sperm and eggs, and reviews of Japanese sex hotels.
"Singaporeans are becoming more open, less black and white," he insists, saying he has received thousands of text messages from people asking for help in improving their sex lives. But under the glare of the noonday sun in Raffles Square, Singaporeans did not seem ready to share.
"Sure, it's refreshing in the Singapore context," bank employee Nate Yong, 32, said of Dr. Love's efforts. But he refused the young women's request to take the survey, saying he had stopped only because they were attractive.
However, he said he planned to buy the magazine's first issue to see what it was all about. "Singapore needs to be shaken up a bit," he said.