The Tie That Binds (Part 2)


Think about it, life was much simpler for the man before the tie. He could enjoy a bowl of kway-teow soup or a plate of mee-rebus without having to share either with his tie. If he was a dentist or a surgeon, he would never have to worry about the tip of his tie being bitten off by or being buried in his patient. And although he might have had bad-hair days, he would never have experienced a single bad-tie day.

I read somewhere that there are 84 different ways you can make a tie-knot. 84!  Which right-thinking man would want to torture himself with learning to knot his tie 84 different ways? As it is, I have enough trouble already with just the one knot I know how. Some days – and it’s invariably when I am late for something and had to rush – I’d have so much difficulty with this one knotty problem that I feel like snipping the tie into two and just going without. These days, I do just that just about everywhere  I go – go without.

As inventions go, the tie must go down in the annals of product innovations as the most commercially successful ever. Low cost, high margin, zero utility, limitless marketability. The tie industry is one over which the sun will never set – at least not until this essay makes enough converts. You can continue prolonging that proverbial marketing curve for as long as men continue to have necks, simply by making endless changes to your product range. There can be any amount of designs as your devious mind can conceive of. Trim it a little, and you’ve got a new tie fashion. Bring back the broad tie from your stockroom and you’ll have every woman insisting that her man should throw away last year’s tie for this year’s newest in tie fashion.

I’m absolutely convinced that the tie has no redeeming value whatsoever. Even less so in the hot and humid climate of Singapore, where the average day-time temperatures hovers above the 30s, and the daily humidity levels above the 90s. What sense does it make to choke off the only source of ventilation to your body? Why add to the oppression and discomfort?

Take a look at the lunch-time crowd at Shenton Way or other similar locales, where the so-called executive types hover, with brows dripping, and shirts drenched with perspiration. Look at the poor school-children, not just boys, but many girls too, struggling to stay cool under the weights of their school bags and the ties forming part of their uniforms. Especially if they happen to be school prefects! There’s this inane tradition which dictates that if you are a school prefect, you must wear a tie! And all those poor security guys at all the condominiums and commercial and industrial places – all melting at their posts. Again there’s some silly convention that all security personnel must sport ties. Why? In countries with cold and temperate climates, one could let this stupidity pass. But in equatorial Singapore? Should we sheepishly continue with this silly ritual which we have inherited from God knows where? Don’t tell me that we Singaporeans, who pride ourselves as one of the most pragmatic and enterprising people in the world cannot come up with a better and less scorching way to identify our prefects, security guards or custom officers?

As a typical Singaporean, I’m not naturally a rabble-rouser. But seeing as to how I can’t find anything to commend it, I’ve made it my cause to instigate the overthrow of the tie. I say we do away with this utterly useless piece of appurtenance. Let us not be bound by it any longer. It’s time we cut our ties with the tie.


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