Too sloppy for a star?

Too sloppy for a star?

Walk down any street in Singapore and people clad in T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops are a dime a dozen.

But if you are a regional superstar, appearing in public dressed like that may just cause a stir in the online community and the media.

That was what happened when local singer Stefanie Sun stood in line at a McDonald's outlet dressed in a pink T-shirt, denim shorts and slippers, and wearing a pair of hipster glasses.

Weibo (the Chinese term for microblogs) user Worm Austin uploaded a picture of the star at the McDonald's outlet on Aug 1.

Several netizens - perhaps accustomed only to Sun's onstage persona in which she is heavily made up and clad in glitzy costumes - have joked about her less-than-glamorous appearance.

Fans called her a "cute auntie who looks spaced out", described her look as being "back to nature" and noted that she was a star without "hang-ups about being an idol".

But are celebrities obliged to look their best even on their days off? After all, it appears that Sun was just grabbing a quick meal.

Local celebrities and public figures whom SundayLife! spoke to say there is nothing wrong with the way Sun dressed and that a line has to be drawn between a celebrity's public and private personas.

Veteran actor Chen Shucheng, 66, says: "Sun is demonstrating to people that when she's not on stage singing, she's just like everyone else. I think it's great that she can put aside her superstar image."

Local Malay music veteran Rahimah Rahim, 58, says: "Fans can comment on our performance when we're on stage. But offstage, they don't own us. We have a right to be ourselves."

They were perplexed by the fuss.

Notes singer-songwriter Dick Lee, 58: "Sun is so famous. I'm sure she knows there might be a chance that she would be snapped in that outfit. So if she knows and doesn't mind wearing what she did, why should people be so concerned?"

Those interviewed say people should care more about a celebrity's behaviour and character.

Ms Jolene Tan, senior manager for programmes and communications at the Association of Women for Action and Research, says: "As a society, we need to stop constantly policing and judging what women and girls wear."

Fly Entertainment artist Vanessa Ann Vanderstraaten, 26, says: "I think my behaviour is far more important than what I am wearing."

Actress and former Nominated Member of Parliament Janice Koh, 40, agrees, adding: "For instance, I would be more concerned about whether I clear my tray at the hawker centre, take recycling bags to the supermarket or hold the elevator door for someone."

Chen believes that the influx of South Korean dramas - in which actors and actresses are always seen looking impeccable - has led to a strong emphasis on "packaging".

Some online critics have noted that Sun would have been mercilessly mocked if she had been spotted in the outfit in Hong Kong or Taiwan, where celebrities are expected to look good at all times.

Local singer Derrick Hoh, 28, would know. During his stint in Taiwan, his colleagues warned him to be conscious of how he appears in public.

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