Singapore's national water polo team is being rebuked for wearing swim trunks that feature symbols of the country's flag used "inappropriately". The controversial trunks, which were designed by members of the men's team currently competing in the Asian Games, show the flag's white crescent moon jutting up with the five stars to the side on a red background.
"Unfortunately the team did not seek our advice on the use of the crescent moon and stars when they designed their swim trunks," the Information Ministry said in a statement. "We would have told them that their design is inappropriate as we want elements of the flag to be treated with dignity."The trunks sparked a furor in the media and on the Internet, with some offended by the use of the national flag ("disgusting", "nauseating" and "disgraceful" amongst other endearments were used to describe the phallic crescent) while others were amused at the furor("A very in-the-face-way of telling Singaporeans to have more children.").
Asian Games rules stipulate that a team's uniform cannot be changed in the middle of the tournament, so the government will allow the water polo players to wear the trunks when they play Kuwait.
The team apologized and said it would retire the trunks after the Asian Games.
"We didn't have the slightest intention to do anything funny on our trunks to insult Singapore," team manager Samuel Wong, who helped design the trunks.