It’s time to throw some punches

Esquire (Singapore) - - This way in - NOR­MAN TAN

Would you rather be hot or cool? And I’m not re­fer­ring to tem­per­a­ture. I’m talk­ing aes­thet­ics. De­meanour. Vibes. Would you rather be smok­ing hot or dev­as­tat­ingly cool? I mean, ob­vi­ously, you want to be both (duh). But if you had to choose? Which one would you pick?

On the one hand, who doesn’t want to be hot? Pi­etro Boselli and Emily Rata­jkowski have launched ca­reers by virtue of be­ing born with great genes. They both look ridicu­lously good naked and incite a com­pli­cated con­coc­tion of envy, ad­mi­ra­tion and lust from both sexes alike. But the prob­lem with ‘hot’ is that it’s tem­po­rary—how ‘hot’ can you be at 80?

Which is why, I al­ways choose ‘cool’. Just take a look at Iris Apfel. She’s not the most beau­ti­ful per­son on the planet, but armed with good taste, im­pec­ca­ble style, and acer­bic wit to boot, she’s still killing it at 96.

‘Cool’ is an at­ti­tude, not just a phys­i­cal at­tribute. ‘Cool’ is like a govern­ment bond that keeps pay­ing div­i­dends long af­ter you’ve re­tired and seen two kids through univer­sity. ‘Hot’ is a tech stock that de­liv­ers sharp re­turns upon list­ing, but you have to cash out be­fore the dis­cov­ery of the next new in­ven­tion, ren­der­ing your as­set ir­rel­e­vant—kind of like Me­gan Fox. Clearly, as you can tell, I’ve re­ally thought about this. But let me throw a span­ner in the works. What if there was a third op­tion? What if you could be ‘too hot to han­dle’?

Surely this is bet­ter than ‘hot’ or ‘cool’? You’re so freak­ing hot that you’re vir­tu­ally su­per­nova. In fact, you’re Natalia Vo­di­anova— the Rus­sian model who not only landed a seven-fig­ure con­tract with Calvin Klein, but also landed An­toine Ar­nault, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ber­luti, chair­man of Loro Piana and, as the son of Bernard Ar­nault (that’s right, French busi­ness mag­nate and chief ex­ec­u­tive of the LVMH Group), also an heir to the world’s largest fash­ion em­pire. That’s like buy­ing a chunk of Ap­ple stock from Steve Jobs back

Esquire Sin­ga­pore in the 1980s for less than a dol­lar a share, and then sell­ing it for a siz­zling USD705 per share in 2012 be­fore the com­pany’s 7-for-1 split. You’re a freak­ing uni­corn.

This is what we’re un­pack­ing in this is­sue of Esquire Sin­ga­pore. What is ‘too hot to han­dle’ to­day? Who are the uni­corns? Who is go­ing, or about to go, su­per­nova? En­ter: Chi­nese rap­per VaVa. Our cover star was pro­pelled into the lime­light by last year’s smash re­al­ity TV show, The Rap of China, and is not only easy on the eye, but comes pre-loaded with a no-guts-no-glory ‘tude; spit­ting sharp lyrics about her tough child­hood. Nat­u­rally, she’s al­ready huge on so­cial me­dia. (See our ex­clu­sive shoot with her on the streets of Shanghai, decked out in Ba­len­ci­aga on page 76.)

But ‘too hot to han­dle’ is also a con­sid­er­a­tion of what is taboo. And this be­ing Sin­ga­pore, well, let’s just say that it doesn’t take much to get peo­ple a lit­tle hot un­der the col­lar. We take a deeper look at hu­man traf­fick­ing in our city-state (it’s hap­pen­ing right un­der our noses—check out ‘Recog­nis­ing Hu­man Traf­fick­ing’ on page 88); speak to Prince Maven­dra Singh Go­hil about be­ing the first openly gay royal in In­dia (read our ex­clu­sive in­ter­view ‘The Peo­ple’s Prince’ on page 104); ex­plore the mer­its of tor­ture (yup, mer­its—see what we mean in ‘The Case for Tor­ture’ on page 122); dis­cuss the is­sue of free­dom of speech in our coun­try (page 110); and find out what it’s like to be a male strip­per (a rather can­did dis­course in ‘What it feels like...’ on page 131).

As men­tioned in my first edi­tor’s let­ter for Esquire Sin­ga­pore last month, we’re all about telling thought-pro­vok­ing sto­ries to spark con­ver­sa­tion. To get that grey mat­ter kick­ing into gear. To chal­lenge pre-con­ceived ideas and as­sump­tions. Heck, we might even get your feath­ers a lit­tle ruf­fled. But stop puff­ing up that chest as if you’re all that and a cube of cheese. No­body ever made a dif­fer­ence by keep­ing their hands clean. Get in there and get dirty. It’s time to throw some punches—join the cul­tural mêlée.

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