Cheugy? Mens Rea? K Shanmugam plays word game with DJs

What’s out of date and tries too hard?

The answer, ladies and gentlemen, is cheugy.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam, along the rest of us at Petir.sg, learnt this new word at an interview at Muttons in the Morning on Class 95 on May 4, 2022, where DJs Justin Ang and Vernon Anthonisz played a game called “Word of the Week” with him.

Minister Shanmugam was also there to discuss the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development and the need to shape new norms on women’s role in the society.

So what exactly is cheugy?

Well, this nouveau word, which can be used as an adjective or a noun, appeared on a New York Times article last April. According to the paper:

It’s not quite “basic,” which can describe someone who is a conformist or perhaps generic in their tastes, and it’s not quite “uncool.” It’s not embarrassing or even always negative. Cheugy (pronounced chew-gee) can be used, broadly, to describe someone who is out of date or trying too hard. And while a lot of cheugy things are associated with millennial women, the term can be applied to anyone of any gender and any age.

It’s not just a way to describe people. According to people who have embraced the word, the following are also cheugy: The Hype House, Golden Goose sneakers, anything associated with Barstool Sports, Gucci belts with the large double “G” logo, being really into sneaker culture, Rae Dunn pottery, and anything chevron.

For your info, Minister Shanmugam got it right.

And what’s a Mens Rea?

Now that we answered half of the headline, it’s time to move on to Mens Rea. And this time, the Law Minister put on his lawyer’s hat and tested the DJs with the Latin phrase.



“The men’s fault?”


According to Cornell Law School, Mens Rea actually means criminal intent and its direct translation is “a guilty mind”.

“It’s the mental element of the offence. You can only be guilty of an offence if you actually did it – that’s called the actus rea – and you must also know what you are doing, the mental element,” Minister K Shanmugam explained.

The White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development

Word games aside, the minister was there to discuss more about the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development which was passed unanimously on Apr 5, 2022 in parliament.

Minister K Shanmugam was under no illusion that it requires a whole-of-society effort for things to bear fruit.

“All of us have mothers, daughters, sisters, wives. So you’ve got to look at it as equal partners in society, at workplaces,” he said.

He noted that women in Singapore have progressed significantly over the past 60 years. In today’s Singapore, one in two graduates is a woman and female literacy rate is over 96 per cent.

“If you look at the position of women in our society, you compare it with advanced societies like Australia, UK or US, I think on the whole, today you’d say our women have as good if not better opportunities for advanced education as well as the workplace. Our aim is to go even further,” echoing the Party’s continuous effort to fight for gender equality in Singapore.

“The more fundamental point of the White Paper is actually norm-shaping or, I’d say, norm-shifting. Having thousands of women come together, and men too, talk about it, assert this as a norm for our society… Over time, this becomes one of the fundamental values of our society. It’s got to be asserted, reiterated, imprinted into people’s minds.”

Find out more about the White Paper here. Because like what Minister Shanmugam wrote in his accompanying Facebook post: “Whoever says that in general, men and women should not be treated equally, is cheugy.”

That’s right. Don’t be a cheugy.

Cover photo credit: Mediacorp Class 95 Facebook page.