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Singaporean street artist, Samantha Lo (‘SKLo’ or ‘Sticker Lady’), has been arrested under counts of vandalism. The 25-year-old has been known to paste stickers and spray paint words on public spaces in and around the city. Singapore, also known as the ‘Fine City’, imposes strict monetary penalties in order to keep the city clean. In a place where even chewing gum is an offence, Lo’s intentional breach of the law is a serious crime and could land her three years’ imprisonment or a S$2000 (approx. USD1553) fine.
Some of the humorous stickers bring about the essence of the country with most of the round black-and-white stickers carrying captions in Singlish, an English based creole spoken in Singapore. Some of the stickers pasted on pedestrian buttons at traffic lights bear phrases like “Press once can already”, “Anyhow press police catch” and “Press until shiok” (Translation: “Press until you’re satisfied”).
Other such stickers have been a source of amusement and laughter for Singaporeans and tourists alike. Nothing quite perks up your day in a busy city like a button that says, “Press to teleport” or “Press to time travel.” These feelings however are not shared by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore who made a report against Lo, prompting an investigation by Central Police Division and the Police Intelligence Department.
Despite the law enforcers’ outrage over her actions, many have stood up for Lo by speaking out on Twitter and other social media. The Twitter hashtag ‘#freesklo’ and ‘#freestickerlady’ have shown hundreds of Singaporeans standing up for the street artist.
Evan Tiang tweeted, “Doesn’t make sense to take away someone who reminds me how much I love Singapore.”
“Dear Singapore, if you so much so as to care for our local culture, stand up please for #freestickerlady,” added Pat Law.
A large part of the outrage rises from the fact that even though the government has been providing funds largely promoting creative expressions, they suppress it when it happens. This is seen as an act of hypocrisy on their side. Others have also compared Lo to Banksy, an English based graffiti artist and political activist famous for his satirical street art.
Online petitions for Lo’s release have also been set up by her well-wishers. Lo’s personal blog, showcasing her designs, has been taken down but her collective work has re-surfaced on a Facebook page set up by her fans.