Niki Cheong is blogging

THe Valentine Horror Show

It was Valentine’s Day yesterday and I hadn’t made any plans in Singapore so I decided to stay in and catch the repeat of the Grammy Awards. Still, I couldn’t not celebrate the symbolic international day of love (gags), so i decided that I would spend some time with one of my many loves (yes, I’m promiscuous) … running.

Valentine's Day running

Excuse the bad facial expression, I was knackered. It was my first run in weeks and the trail I took was a bit hilly so I almost pengsan after 3km. I’ll get there. I had also brought all my gear to Singapore – including my brand new Nike LunarEclipse+ (which I love!) – so I thought, might as well.

There is a small park with a walking/running track next to where I am staying here so I thought I would check it out. I didn’t have a set routine but since it was my first run, I thought I’d just go where my feet takes me and explore every nook and corner of the park until I was all tired out.

As I walked out towards the park, I passed by the shopping centre below my apartment and saw many happy couples sitting in restaurants having meals. Later on, I would see couple walking around holding a single stalk of rose with their partners. At the top of the park, there is a Japanese restaurant which was also filled with couples – and families – celebrating Valentine’s Day.

I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day – not only because I’m always single but because I don’t get the blatant commercialism (to each his own, huh?) – but it was nice just seeing everyone out there finding different ways to express their love. With so much war and hatred in this world, we could do with a little more reminder that love is indeed, to borrow a quote, a many splendoured thing.

I was also aware, though, that not everyone could afford flowers (if Singapore is anything like Malaysia, flower prices shoot up during this period) or an expensive meal in a restaurant. In a country where accommodation is expensive, where most people live with their parents all their lives and where a high majority of people live in HDB flats, I must be tough getting some time to spend with your loved ones.

So where would they go? To parks of course.


Every corner I ran around in the park had little benches and sitting areas. There were even gazebos. It was nice to see a few couples – young and old, mind you – just having a nice chat on these benches holding hands and having a laugh. Seeing such loving behaviour brought a smile to my face (yes, I am a romantic).

But then I started thinking about my fellow KL-ites back home and wondered what they were doing. My friends who were working professionals would probably be out celebrating at somewhere fancy, but then I wondered about some of the young people who make up a large portion of our urban poor. They are not allowed to loiter in shopping centres, they are judged for riding on motorcycles together and they were probably chased away from the many beautiful parks we have in KL by authorities.

True enough, I came back to read this article in The Star, which quoted a representative from the Selangor Islamic Religious Department as saying:

“It was concentrated at lakes and recreational parks in the state where enforcement officers also issued orders to 60 people found loitering to leave the areas.”

The article continued:

The Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department also conducted similar operation in the city centre including at Titiwangsa Lake, KLCC Park, Tasik Bandar Permaisuri park and hotels at Jalan Pudu and Jalan Raja Laut.

These were just supplementary information in the articles – it was actually about how over 80 people were arrested for khalwat as part of Ops Valentine yesterday.

Personally, I don’t get it. Take away the whole holier-than-thou, moral judgement thing, I still find it hard to understand why we, in Malaysia, love punitive approaches when it comes our campaigns and strategies. For example, if we really are worried about pregnancy and baby dumping, then introduce sex education.

Today, there was an article carrying a statement by Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Gan Ping Sieu, which read:

Leaders who express unproductive or destructive remarks to the detriment of the people are “the real enemies of the state”, MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu said.

He hit out at those who linked Valentine’s Day with immoral and undesirable activities.

“Demonising Valentine’s Day is an act of religious bigotry and only the ignorant would associate the day with immoral and unpleasant activities,” he said in a statement.

I totally agree with him but some days, I feel that it’s not just ignorance. It’s politics and it’s sickening.

Oh, and check out this article about how some senior citizens celebrated Valentine’s Day. So many of us go about saying things like, “If I was half as committed and loving as my parents are by the time I am their age, I’d be the happiest person in the world” … We might have just lost a generation of people who will grow up to be like our parents – and will be losing more – because we are barely giving them the chance to nurture their love and relationships.

How can we blame young people then for turning to vice activities when we’re not even encouraging positive ones?

10.08am Malaysian time (+8 GMT)

Discussion (5)

There are 5 responses to “THe Valentine Horror Show”.

  1. good article Niki!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Niki Cheong and Thomas Chai, cfw nick. cfw nick said: THe Valentine Horror Show […]

  3. well, tomorrow is chinese valentine’s day, see if they do a check at the park?? come on, the park is 365-days filled with couples (some doing what they are not supposed to do), why valentine’s day?

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