When news broke on Monday (Sept 20) that clowns were spotted approaching children outside several primary schools, the first thing that came to mind: “Aren’t they a tad late celebrating Batman Day?” (FYI: Batman Day is on Sept 18.)
Nope. Not even close. Turns out this was part of a publicity campaign by education centre Speech Academy Asia. Needless to say, it didn’t go down well with the public. Police reports were lodged by concerned parents. Even Speaker of Parliament and MP Tan Chuan-Jin weighed in on the matter. “It’s not amusing and just plain dangerous,” he opined in a Facebook post.
Speech Academy has since apologised for the misguided stunt. Seriously, what were they thinking? It’s already a bad idea to have strangers around kids (without adult supervision) but to have them dressed up like clowns? That’s a double red-flag.
The promoter behind the clown outfit told The Straits Times that his aim was to entertain kids and that he was actually “shocked and disappointed to that people were scared”. You think? Clearly, he’s unaware of the bad rep clowns have in pop culture (more of that later). Or that time in 2016 when a wave of hysteria about ‘scary clown’ craze swept the US and Europe (one person in Sweden was stabbed by a clown).
Speaking to Time (per The Guardian) about the incident then, Scott Bonn, a criminologist and professor of sociology at Drew University in New Jersey, said “the fascination with clowns is really the fact that they’re not real. We don’t know what’s beneath that makeup. It could be anyone or anything. They’re actually very frightening.”. You hear that? Frightening.
Considering how vilified clowns are, maybe said promoter should’ve dressed up as something friendlier like, say, a panda? That said, clowns are supposed to bring cheer and laughter but here’s a list of clowns from TV shows and movies who give us the heebie-jeebies, ranked from the best scary clown to the least. (Note: If you have coulrophobia — the fear of clowns — best you skip this.)