Unbeknownst to Singaporeans, a thing called “The Singapore Grip” has been trending in American internet space thanks to a TV show by the same title. But what is the actual “Singapore Grip?”
What is the actual Singapore Grip that isn’t the TV show?
According to Western media, The Singapore Grip is a television show about an era in World War II when Britain fully colonized Singapore. Based on a 1978 novel by JG Farrell, it tells the story about the history of Singapore during the second World War in relation to the Japanese occupation. The show charts the weakening of the British Empire and how newly-arrived characters of the colonizers dealt with native Singaporeans and its emerging culture.
But the actual Singapore Grip, which is mentioned in the TV show has less to do with World War II and more with sex. According to Metro UK, “The Singapore Grip – also known as Pompoir or Kabzah – involves the woman using her vaginal muscles to stimulate the man’s penis during intercourse, while both remain stationary.”
Reports also said that it originated in India, and it’s something that the novel tackled repeatedly as a way to make fun of the protagonist.
Where did The Singapore Grip come from?
Reports said that the sex technique originated from India, and later found its prominence in Thailand and has roots in Tantra.
Western media is in a tizzy due to the fact that an explanation of the act was broadcast a little after 10:00 in the morning on American TV. A talk show host named Dr. Zoe Williams calmly discussed the meaning of the term when actors and other hosts participated in an interview about the period drama.
The author of the original novel also tackled racism during the era as well as colonialism, but the series is allegedly not doing so well in America at the moment. He also used the term “grip” to allude to how colonizers treated the countries they invaded.
In the novel, he said, “It’s the grip of our Western culture and economy on the Far East. It’s the stranglehold of capital on the traditional cultures of Malaya, China, Burma, Java, Indo-China and even India herself! It’s the doing of things our way – I mean, it’s the pursuit of self-interest rather than of the common interest!”
What are Americans saying about The Singapore Grip?
The TV show, which plays on ITV , stars David Morrissey, Elizabeth Tan, Luke Treadaway and Jane Horrocks, and tells the story of a wealthy family living in Singapore during the Second World War in the wake of the Japanese invasion.
The titular line was first mentioned when the protagonist, Matthew Weber, was surrounded by prostitutes and was being asked whether he wanted to try The Singapore Grip. Just like in the novel, a running joke in the show was how the lead character did not know what The Singapore Grip meaning was, and initially thought that it was akin to an illness named The Singapore flu.
Header image from The Singapore Grip trailer.