- 17 Apr 01
CLIFF RICHARD has come out in favour of caning as a punishment for law-breakers. liam fay reckons this is Biff’s bottom line, right enough.
There are times when you come across a single piece of information about somebody that makes everything else you know about that person fall neatly into place. A fortnight ago, Cliff Richard gave an interview to a leading Singapore newspaper in which he came out as a passionate advocate of three disciplines – the daily application of moisturiser, the practice of herbal medicine and the infliction of rattan cane lashes on the bottoms of petty criminals.
The Peter Pan of Pop was speaking to the Straits Times, as part of a publicity puff to promote a series of concerts in Singapore. The Singaporean penal system is notorious for its brutality and extremism. Their draconian catalogue of statutory sanctions ranges from the merely outlandish (a fine of £420 for failure to flush a public toilet after use) to the barbarous (the death penalty is regularly handed down for even relatively minor drug offences).
Caning, however, is the punishment most commonly doled out by the country’s authorities, for everything from vandalism to burglary. And it is this form of chastisement in particular that seems to have left the eh, deepest impression on Cliff. Not normally a man given to making political pronouncements in public, the 54-year-old bachelor boy was obviously so overcome by the proximity of all those felonious buttocks quivering beneath the avenger’s birch that he just couldn’t control himself.