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Monday, September 3, 2012

ESQUIRE: The Real Print

ESQUIRE Singapore's launch was a chi-chi event. Despite the far-flung location (at Seletar Air Base) that is inaccessible by car, the launch was well-attended by the whos-who in the media industry.

Me, the not so chi chi, found the coveted invite in my Inbox and was curious by the ingenuity of the location of choice and theme of invite that i decided to take a BUS, alight at the entrance of the camp and WALK.
This air base is widely discussed on Singapore ghost forums.
Me, in my heels and my party drab walked 30 minutes alone on the long and dark road, biting the dust of the cars and taxis ferrying the more atas guests arriving. I contemplated flagging my thumb out like a hitch hiker but thought it would be cool (and brave) to check out the eerily beautiful heritage bungalows along the road.
Arriving finally at the MAJ aviation club, there was valet parking as well as airline "stewardess" to welcome us. The theme was Mad Men chic, the affluent jet-setter lifestyle.

The event hall was airy, Indocine canapes were served, Johnny Walker and champagne was flowing freely and everyone start to make merry.
There was a shoe shine corner and everyone stood around, a champagne flute in their hand and making superficial conversation. The huge hanger with extremely high ceilings made a pretty cool event space although there was no air-conditioning. I don't know how the suited up guests were feeling, but when i asked around, they all said they're alright despite the beads of perspiration in their side burns. 

I have a thing for men in suits so this is one time i didn't want them to take anything off and they didn't. There was an image to keep, for the very chi-chi launch.

There were plenty of eye candy, mainly celebrities. The celebrities present were very amiable but conversations were kept superficial. I then realized the difference between Mediacorp artistes and the artistes managed by other agencies are very different. Mediacorp artistes are extremely conscious of their image in public and they are often ice queens. The most they would do is smile, nod and pose for a picture. However, the ones from other collectives have a very friendly attitude in public because they need to hunt for business. It is their livelihood, after all. I blend into the crowd, eavesdropping on conversations. The only way a lady held the attention of a male celebrity for more than 30 minutes engaged in conversation was to offer him her bespoke boutique sponsorship. There were no Mediacorp celebrities present at the launch, if you need to know.

It then dawned upon me. These events are a proof of social worth. Today, superficiality is more prevalent than before because of Facebook. Everyone on Twitter are friends, celebrities and porn stars live in our phones. Are we deluded to think that celebrity is our friend just because they follow us on Twitter, accept our friend request, or pose for a photo? It is a new way of winning fans , like how brands are quickly learning to use social media to remain in business 5 years later, celebrities wisen up too. 
                         
There i was, a Fiji bottle in hand, standing awkwardly in the middle of the hall that i can't help but do a sweep around the attendees. Fake smiling faces and shouting voices for those trying to have a conversation over the club music, many were familiar faces, 'event runners' where people are a hit and run. Its no wonder, a prolific magazine editor once shared with me how he hated the scene. He can't wait to retire from it yet he was reluctant to retire because he confessed it was too glamourous and pampering to give up. He told me many magazine editors fall into depression after retiring from the publishing world because they no longer have brands fawning and piling them with special privileges and expensive freebies. That's the truth of the media world.
Esky, Esquire's mascot.
 But on cover, it's glamourous, it's edgy, it's aspirational.
Singapore's debut issue.
Esquire celebrates what it means to be a man in the 21st century, intellectually curious and socially aware. Their first issue is filled with very "strong storytelling, ground-breaking photography and a touch of irreverence." Every article's concept is global, but is pain stakingly re-written in local context (cue article on Pg 88, China Syndrome: What Singapore can learn from the Chinese sporting juggernaut). Founded in 1933, Esquire finally found its way to our little not so little anymore red dot.
 
While the overseas Esquire have Playboy-meets-Rolling Stones cover, 
Israel's edition. Wait, ISRAEL?!?
The sexiest picture found in Singapore's debut issue is this.
 
 
Yes, that's it. I'm disappointed :(
 
I'm curious to see if sex will ever be on the cover of Esquire Singapore. After all, this high fashion man's magazine can't put itself into the league of local FHM. I must say as a woman, i love reading FHM for its funny, brainless, nonsensical articles while August Man bores me with too many car write-ups and male speak i don't quite understand. Meanwhile, i've flipped through the pages of Esquire and i must say, it looks like a pretty good read, even to a woman!

Flipping through the glossed pages of the magazine, one needs to remember, the publishing world is but one full of masks, Photoshop masks.
 
While Disney makes women believe in the perfect man,
Esquire makes men believe in the perfect woman.
 
Taiwan / China edition? Not sure.
 
Get Esquire Singapore digital edition free until 7 September. 

Pictures are from Esquire SG Facebook.

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