In "The FlipSide", local blogger Belmont Lay lets loose on local politics, culture and society in his weekly musings. Take with a pinch of salt and parental permission is advised. In this post, he talks about how Singaporeans know one thing from another.
In a recently-concluded court battle here, our local small-time deli, Subway Niche, was in court defending itself against allegations that it had infringed the trademark of Subway, the US sandwich giant that has more than 34,000 stores worldwide.
The judge ruled in Subway Niche's favour as there was no real evidence of a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public between these two trademarks.
In the four-year court battle, Subway Niche spent $300,000 to ward off the the litigious advances of Subway's Florida-based owner, Doctor's Associates, who issued a 'cease-and-desist' letter in 2007 alleging that Subway Niche had infringed its trademark.
With the closure of this case, Doctor's Associates has since been ordered to pay legal costs to Subway Niche's Singaporean owner.
As a consumer of sandwiches, I would like to assure all parties involved that Singaporeans are very good at differentiation.
We won't be so naive as to mistake one sandwich place for another!In other news...
Singaporeans have shown themselves to be not very good at differentiating between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's real and recently-launched Facebook page and the fake one started by his supporters during the Dark Ages before our prime minister found his way online.
This is the real Lee Hsien Loong Facebook page where people have been furiously clicking "Like" over the past few days:
PM Lee's real Facebook account. (Facebook screengrab)
But the fake Lee Hsien Loong Facebook page continues to attract new likes even when it's been announced the account will be shut down.
Notice how people are still going onto the fake page to leave greetings? This is the fake Lee Hsien Loong Facebook page on 23 April, Monday:
A grand total of 529 new "Likes" in three days for a page that was more or less defunct until last Friday as a result of people thinking that this is the real recently-launched Facebook of Lee Hsien Loong!
Look! There are even Facebook users leaving notes on the wall even though it has been explicitly announced by the moderators that this fake page will be closing down soon:
P (Screengrab from Facebook)
So can you tell the difference?
I guess this matter of being clueless and liking the wrong Facebook page is not that serious or fatal...
... until you remember that these are the same Singaporeans who go to the polls every few years to vote for the incumbent government.
Belmont Lay is one of the editors of New Nation, an online publication in Singapore. It focuses on economics, foreign policy and military spending - not.