Netizens pour cold water on PUB video

Water Wally Shower Dance clip urges people to save water

A VIDEO intended to encourage Singaporeans to save water has been derided by netizens - with one branding it "an all-time low".

Its star - the national water agency's mascot Water Wally - has even been compared to a "paedophile" as he is seen walking up to a boy in a shower.

The Water Wally Shower Dance clip was posted on April 15, and tells viewers to keep showers to under five minutes.

Produced with a $15,000 bud-get, it also features a hawker, a taxi driver and primary school pupils who appear forcibly drawn into performing the dance.

Two similar versions of the video on YouTube had yesterday garnered about 80,000 views combined, with 507 dislikes and 117 likes.

Netizen Isaac Basil posted on the site: "I can see this going viral for all the wrong reasons. Low, an all-time low."

Referring to the shower scene, netizen Joseph Lim wrote: "Oh no... paedophile alert?"

Creative partner Rayner Lim from communications agency Contagious said: "Some people thought it was paedophilic, but I thought that was reading too much into it."

Poet Marc Nair, who produced a parody of the video with blogger mrbrown, said: "The message of saving water was lost. I was horrified by images of people having spasms at the start. It distracted from the real message which came later in the video."

Mr Poon Shunjie, 25, who watched the video, said: "This feels like Gangnam Style meets the Great Singapore Workout. It probably seeks to ride on the popularity of Gangnam Style. But it could have been more tasteful."

However, it seems like the video's message was not lost on its target audience.

The PUB said schoolchildren who were exposed to the dance were given a timer and an activity booklet to track their shower activity. On average, they saved up to 88,100 litres of water per school over a period of one week.

Pupils at 28 primary schools have learnt the dance as part of PUB's "Time to Save" initiative.

Showering is the activity that consumes the most water in households in Singapore. It accounts for about 29 per cent of an average family's monthly consumption, a PUB spokesman said.

The agency wanted the video to appeal to more than just school children and aimed it at the online audience - and some viewers did not find it that bad.

Referring to a 2007 video of civil servants dancing and rapping, Mr Nair said: "The Media Development Authority rap video remains the worst public service video ever made, but this comes close."

kashc@sph.com.sg