Jay Talking

No nudes is good news


So this is how humans have progressed, from just wearing yaks to doing a naked relay race on a Penang beach

By now, many of you would have seen the video of a bunch of people engaging in nude sports on a Penang beach.

And I won't be surprised if you have some questions.

For instance, some of you may be wondering why someone you consider a close friend, someone who was a groomsman at your wedding, would send you a link to the video without any warning.

How is it that an otherwise decent human being can watch something as horrible as that and then think, "I should share this with someone"?

Unfortunately, I do not know the answer.

However, I can help you better understand the thoughts and motivations of nudists.

While I am not technically a nudist myself, I have done a lot of research on nudity online (this is purely an academic inquiry) and I think I have developed an authoritative understanding on what makes nudists tick.

Now, before I get into the real nitty-gritty of naturism, let me give those who have not seen the video a little bit of background.

A couple of months ago, a group of four Singaporeans, seven Malaysians, two Burmese, a Filipino and an Indian national, as well as three as-yet-unidentified nudies got together for a bit of fun and games on a beach in Penang.

And like any group of people breaking the law, they filmed it all and put it on YouTube. Very soon, law enforcement won't need to conduct any more patrols; they can just sit around and trawl YouTube all day.

Anyway, the incident became big news this week only when the five-minute video of them faffing about on a public beach started to make the rounds online.

Needless to say, the Malaysian authorities are now investigating the incident under the Penal Code (of course).

Now what would possess a multinational group of people to want to come together to do this?

Let me explain it all to you in a simple Q and A format:

Q:OK smarty no-pants, what's up with nudists?

A: It's complicated, but basically - get ready to be shocked - they really hate clothes.

They view clothes as an unnecessary and burdensome encumbrance that gets in the way of their freedom and their ability to be in harmony with nature. Many also believe that nudism is a healthy lifestyle.

Q. Clothes are bad for health?

A: That one was new to me too. But you know, since the first caveman threw a dead yak over his body to protect himself from the cold, humans have had a complicated relationship with clothes.

For instance, people are always saying that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Yet at the same time, they say that clothes make the man. These same people would also give you a real dirty look if you turned up at a funeral in a Hawaiian shirt, even if it was immaculately ironed.

So are we supposed to judge people superficially or not, or is this a no-no just for books?

And that's just for men. Women have an even more difficult relationship. Long after all the cavemen went about wearing yaks, cavewomen still went without clothes. They thought the yaks made them look fat.

Q. OK, but how did we get from wearing yaks to doing a naked relay race on a Penang beach?

A: That is a long story. But basically, you need to understand that most of the clothes we wear in tropical South-east Asia today - including impractical things such as ties, cardigans, scarves, beanies, jeans and A Bathing Ape T-shirts - originated in colder climates.

There was not a lot of need for clothing development in our heat. Just look at some of the ancient tribes still living in the jungles throughout the region. Many men are perfectly happy to just tie a length of bamboo over their manhood and be on their merry way.

These days, because of modern developments, we can't survive with just a length of bamboo but we technically don't need that much more.

Q. Wait, why can't we survive on just a bamboo piece?

A: We'd have nowhere to put our phones.

Q. You make a good point. Are there any other considerations?

A: Sure, these days, clothes aren't just to protect you from the cold. They can also protect you from sunburn, mosquito bites and, of course, getting bitten by a spider in an "uncomfortable area".

Q. An "uncomfortable area"?

A: Yeah, you know, like in a public toilet on a secluded Penang beach.

Q. You sound like you generally agree that they didn't do that much wrong and should not be prosecuted. Aren't you promoting the nudist lifestyle?

A: Well that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm just saying that part of the joy of humanity is its great diversity but you need to be smart about it. If you did something illegal two months ago and no one made a big deal out of it, let it go. You don't need to show off online. That's just inviting trouble.

Q. Can I ask one last indelicate question? Do you think there would have been a similar outrage if the perpetrators in Penang were attractive young people?

A: No comment.