I came across this advertisement recently for a medicine for treating syphilis.


The man in the picture is supposed to have third-stage syphilis. In reading about syphilis on Wikipedia, it looks to me more like this guy has secondary syphilis. In any case, this medicine – Haibo (sea wave) – supposedly could cure syphilis by killing the syphilis germs in the blood.

blood flow

Then I came across the above add for another blood related product. This one was meant to regulate the blood flow through a woman’s body so that she would be able to become pregnant.

These two products are therefore about the same topic – blood and sex. However, they approach that topic from quite different perspectives.

In the early 1930s, when these advertisements were made, Singapore was still a place where there was a large single-male population, where prostitution was prevalent, and where venereal diseases were rampant.

At the same time, it was also a time and place where the number of families was starting to increase.

These two advertisements thus nicely reflect the differing concerns of these two communities. One wanted babies, and the other wanted to be free of disease, and regulating blood was the key to both of these goals.