Postcard from Tokyo Auto Salon Singapore: The Girls

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

We all know that car exhibitions aren’t always about the wheels. Half, or maybe even more, of the ticket sales come from the many men armed with cameras and eyes for the girls only. I can’t even bring myself to call all of them photographers because they are not! (What does that make me then?!)

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Although it is primarily a car show, I am dedicating this post to all the models who worked at the Tokyo Auto Salon Singapore because they deserve it for their hard work and the sh*t they have to put up with. Some might say they ask for it for dressing so skimpily, but it is what they are tasked to do anyway. 

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Where credit is due, these ladies do drive up ticket sales and crowd numbers with little cloth! At Tokyo Auto Salon Singapore, there were 10 of them from Japan (called the J Girls), 16 from the AKB48 singing group, four from Taiwan (the LAVA Girls) and the rest from Singapore.

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The J Girls only came out at specific times on stage, before walking around to selected booths to pose for photos. Needless to say, the crowds gathered at the stage way before their stipulated times and then followed the girls all around from booth to booth.

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The sweet-faced J Girls were all smiles and they really enjoyed themselves, performing for the crowds.

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I got to interview four of them – of whom, one can speak English and one can speak Mandarin Chinese.

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It is interesting to find out more about their jobs and also, being in heels all day isn’t as tiring as we think. That’s what they said!

AKB48, the Japanese girl group, contains about 87 members and they go around performing  and singing in smaller groups.

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They aren’t race queens or car show girls, but they sure had their share of fans who queued overnight at the stage just to see them!

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Besides the Japanese, the girls that drew a lot, a lot of attention were the Taiwanese girls. From the group LAVA Girls, three of them were sent out for this assignment and their more-than-ample bosoms were hard not to notice.

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These same three were here at Super Import Nights last year along with a few more members of their group. They aren’t just models, but are professional dancers as well. Milky (whose real name is Jocelyn Kao), to the right of the photos top and bottom, holds a regular job in a club where she dances.

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Hired by Westlake Performance Tyres, they danced a few times a day before posing with the cars. I find it amazing how everything is held in place as they dance vigorously without having anything fall out.

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I spoke with all three of them and I came out of the interviews feeling rather envious – not because they have all these men drooling over them, but because they don’t need to watch what they eat! They are about the same age as me, so it’s not about me being older and having a slower metabolism or something.

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They honestly eat whatever they want (eg. they were eating McDonald’s everyday at the show and they finish up the entire meal) and they attribute their figures to their dance training. When they are not performing, they rehearse everyday.

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They have had their share of bad experiences as well. Alyshia (the one in the photos above) fell while performing and was out for two months after that. Try dancing in platforms – that’s crazy. As for Milky, she was unfortunately molested before on the job.

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You may not think it, but it does take courage to go out there and be at scrutiny for the public eye(s).

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The tough part of their jobs, beyond dolling up and posing for photos, is being subject to public criticism.

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Nowadays with everything online, it is very easy to comment without people finding out who you are.

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Comments flow freely and sometimes these girls don’t even know what is being said about them.

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There are a few places where these photos will be posted, such as news portals or photography forums, but it is generally impossible to track down where every photo lands up.

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Besides the Japanese and the Taiwanese, the rest of the show was peppered with local models, whom you might find familiar because you see them at other shows such as the IT Fair or Boat Asia.

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I’m not complaining though – are you?

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After a while, if you shoot at these events enough, they will recognise you and then it’ll be easier to get their photos the next time around.

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Although the Tokyo Auto Salon Singapore may have fallen short of some expectations, I enjoyed myself because I see it as a form of gathering for all automotive enthusiasts. You get almost everyone in the trade at the same place at the same time and that’s how opportunities grow!

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You bump into friends you otherwise may not have had time to catch up with; you meet regular players and new players of the trade; you learn about new gossip…

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I hope there can be more car shows in Singapore, but I also understand how tough the Singapore automotive market conditions are.

View more of my Tokyo Auto Salon Singapore photos here.

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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