The Pump without Drugs: Towards an Understanding of Doping in Singaporean Bodybuilding

By Mark Brooke.

Published by Journal of Sport and Health

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 26, 2015 $US5.00

The current landscape of bodybuilding in Singapore is laden with controversy. The Singapore Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (SBBF) recently had its national sport association (NSA) status withdrawn by the Singapore Sports Council because of a series of doping violations, which included four Mr. Singapore winners testing positive for banned substances. Thus, the use of anabolic steroids in Singapore is pervasive. However, what makes this doping activity a particularly interesting sociological phenomenon, is that it occurs in a country that vehemently penalises illegal possession of any controlled drug substance (e.g., methamphetamine, which is sometimes used as a performance enhancer in sport) with anything from caning, to possible life in prison, to the death penalty. In this context, the present study examines the status of doping in Singapore and the sport socialization of bodybuilders into doping. Through questionnaire and in-depth ethnographic interviews, it uncovers insider views about doping in the sport. Bodybuilders who are opposed to the practice argue that it should be considered an issue of penal law, as it is in countries such as Sweden, where doping is a criminal offense with a potential four year prison sentence.

Keywords: Bodybuilding, Doping, Criminal Offense

Journal of Sport and Health, Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 26, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 435.892KB)).

Dr. Mark Brooke

Lecturer, Writing Unit, National University of Singapore, Singapore