HDB Responds to ‘Same-Sex Couple’ Graphic & Said Change Was to ‘Avoid Misunderstanding’


Sure, Singapore knows that homosexuality exists. But they prefer to close their eyes and adopt the “if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist” mindset.

Case in point: quietly changing an ambiguous graphic to be clearly heterosexual, and then saying that it was to “avoid misunderstanding” without mentioning homosexuality in their statement.

HDB Cartoon Figures Looked Ambiguous, Netizens Suggests Same-Sex Couple

Earlier this May, the Housing & Development Board published a cartoon which featured a couple hanging their laundry.

Image: twitter.com (@fidgetings)

The main focus of the cartoon was simple: introducing an aspect of the Home Improvement Programme, where the traditional bamboo drying racks are upgraded to a new metal and retractable rack.

The cartoon is promoting a qualitative change in the elderly couple’s lifestyle, where the older couple, at age 65, will be able to have an easier time drying their laundry. This is opposed to hefting around heavy bamboo poles, which they might struggle with now since they’re no longer as strong.

However, some netizens decided to focus on how the parents depicted in the cartoon both had long hair and more feminine facial features, wondering if HDB is portraying a same-sex couple.

Given how our government currently pretends that homosexuality doesn’t exist most of the time, this is highly unlikely. Honestly, why aren’t men allowed to have long hair, huh?


Needless to say, many conservative netizens decided to display their homophobic tendencies in the Facebook comments section, like this:

Image: Facebook

Replaced Character With More Masculine Features

Honestly, HDB could have just ignored those comments, wrote them off as sexist, and called it a day.

However, on 16 June, HDB decided to amend the cartoon, replacing the character’s ambiguous features with more masculine ones.

This meant that the character had much shorter hair, and its expression became much flatter, with big oval eyes replacing the original closed, smiling ones.

So I guess this means men can’t have long hair or eye-smiles? Are they doomed to look boring forever?

Image: Facebook (Housing & Development Board)

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“Avoid Misunderstanding” Following “Feedback”

Uh, can homophobic comments be counted as feedback now?

Responding to TODAY’s queries, HDB said on 17 June that HDB’s cartoon was meant to depict a husband and wife drying their laundry, highlighting the convenience of the retractable drying rack for senior citizens.

“Arising from feedback, we improved the graphics to avoid misunderstanding surrounding the characters featured in the graphic,” stated HDB, without specifying what the misunderstanding was.

This, of course, didn’t go well with more liberal netizens, who saw this as HDB bowing to pressure from homophobes.

But honestly, most of the comments didn’t even centre around the gender of the characters. Instead, they were focused on the main point of the cartoon, which is to promote the new retractable racks.

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Featured Image: Twitter (@fidgetings) & Facebook (Housing & Development Board)

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