SINGAPORE -- It's her handbag, but he's carrying it.
A video has been making its way around the Singaporean blogosphere, sparking heated debates about whether this generation's girlfriends are too "weak" and "over-dependent".
The video in question, taken with a iPhone, depicts a young man walking in a shopping mall, carrying a distinctly pink tote bag slung over his shoulder, while his girlfriend strolls a little way ahead, messaging on her handphone.
The video was uploaded onto YouTube, and not long after, a number of spoofs surfaced, most of them parodying popular romantic comedies such as Love, Actually and Music and Lyrics.
While some saw the funny side of the situation, the circulation of the short thirty-second clip has left a trail of disgust in its wake, with many netizens complaining about the over-reliance of Singaporean girlfriends on their male counterparts.
"They say Singapore girls are so independent," commented Alfred Tay, a student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). "So why do they always need their boyfriends to carry their things for them?"
"How can we expect women to hold executive positions if they cannot even hold their own belongings?" asked netizen ntrprnr401K, who would only reveal that he works as a manager at a multinational corporation based here.
Others have brought women's rights into the fray, deploring the social traditions which encourage men to carry the bags of their significant others.
In an online press statement issued by local women's rights organisation the Beautiful Liberation of Urban Rights (BLUR), spokesperson Ms Lee Chio Bu wrote: "It is a sad, sad day where women are not even expected to carry their own fashion acccessories."
However, there were some who believed that the girl should be given the benefit of the doubt, saying that she might have had an injury which did not allow her to carry her handbag. Others claim that the boy is a "true Singapore gentleman" for helping his girlfriend with her heavy load.
"Nowadays the boys are so selfish," commented Amita Saravawaj, a student at Catholic Junior College (CJC). "I wish my boyfriend offered to carry my schoolbag for me."
With the controversy surrounding the video, it is no wonder that a digitally-edited version appeared on the Internet about a week later.
Uploaded by the anonymous Grllvr69, the video also has a short description attached to it, claiming that this video is the authentic one, and that the one with the boy carrying the bag is "a doctored copy".
At first glance, the video seems to show the girl walking with the pink handbag squarely on her shoulder, and with the boy nowhere in sight. However, experts have identified the second video as the fake, pointing out that the area where the boy was standing in the original video was "merely pixellised", that the girl was not the same and was also carrying a different coloured bag.
A spokesman from the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (MCYS) said last week that "MCYS takes a very serious view about its youth in public", and that it would investigate and take appropriate action against the girlfriend in question.
Following this announcement, it is reported that the girlfriend has come forward and identified herself to the authorities. However, she cannot be named to protect her identity.
MCYS has also reminded its youth to be aware of the image they project in public.
Honestly, I have no agenda here. I just wanted to transpose the incident (and related news stories) into a different, but similar, situation. I have no anti-feminist leanings, no gripe against any Ministries (mentioned or otherwise), and don't really have anything aganist guys carrying their girl's bags. (I really only don't understand why girls continue to carry stuff in their hands when they have pockets. Or bags.) Seriously, nothing here but some good old-fashioned non-ulterior satire.
I did find it hilarious that someone tried to doctor the original photo though, and it was so hilarious because they didn't even do it properly.
Care for soldiers!
The Edna Man