Sunday, 16 December 2012

So many sex scandals & my biggest regret of 2012

It’s that time again just before the end of the year when we look back with regret.

All the things we should’ve said. All the things we should’ve done.

All the things we shouldn’t have said. All the things we shouldn’t have done.

Like upgrading to iOS 6 before the release of the Google Maps app last week.

Like ordering the region-free Blu-ray of The Avengers (called Avengers Assemble in UK) from Amazon.co.uk because it’s cheaper only to find out too late that it doesn’t include the director’s commentary.

But my biggest regret of all? Giving up on the movie script that Eric Khoo asked me to write.

And the cause of this regret? Mr Michael Palmer.

Yes, the recently resigned Speaker of the House and Member of Parliament who wrote to a People’s Association employee: “I hope you are having a good massage. I have some mangoes for you.”

It all started eight months ago with an out-of-the- blue e-mail I received from Eric, whom I hadn’t spoken to in years.

I had a small cameo in his feature directorial debut Mee Pok Man back in 1995. A few years later, I tried and failed to persuade him to direct an episode of Phua Chu Kang which I was producing.



But it was my column in The New Paper on Sunday in April about another unforgettable Channel 5 show, VR Man, that prompted Eric to get back in touch and ask me if I would be “free for some coffee or booze”.

I was pleasantly surprised – thrilled even – by the e-mail.

Several days later, I made the pilgrimage to Eric’s luxurious lair in Goodwood Park Hotel (which his family owns) like I had done a few times before.

He was already waiting for me by the hotel’s swimming pool with two of his producers.



Eric offered me Japanese sake, but since I’m allergic to alcohol, I asked for plain water instead, which is another one of my big regrets of 2012.

I mean, this guy’s family is one of the richest in Singapore. I could’ve at least asked for iced tea.

Between reminiscing about the old days, he pitched an idea for a movie he wanted me to write.

At the time, everyone was talking about the dozens of men charged with having paid sex with an underaged girl, including a former school principal and Howard Shaw, a scion of a wealthy family not unlike Eric himself.

The director of 12 Storeys, Be With Me and My Magic was fascinated by the dichotomy between the growing sex scandal and Singapore’s “clean” image.

The Cultural Medallion winner wanted to make a movie – a “mockumentary”, he called it – to show the world the true perversity beneath the Singapore Inc facade.

The first question that popped up in my mind was: Why me?

What was Eric thinking?

“Okay, I need someone to write a movie about sexual perverts in Singapore. Hmmm... I know! Smong! He should be an expert on sexual perverts. He’s practically one himself.”

But Eric explained that he thought of me because he wanted the movie to be a comedy and he liked the humour in the VR Man column.

Also, since I’m working at The New Paper, I can get access to all the sensational stories we could use for the movie. He even suggested a possible tie-in with the paper.

But mostly, it was for old times’ sake. Eric and I have known each other for almost two decades now and we have never really collaborated on a project.

Over the years, we had discussed at different times making a horror movie and a movie about food, but this time, we were really going to do it. I mean, really!

That was eight months ago.

The only scene I’ve written is based on a 2010 news report about a guy who worked for the Singapore Police Force and secretly put his semen in a female colleague’s bottled water for her to drink – and she did.

In August, Eric SMSed me: “Guess i wont ever get anythin fm u” (sic) and I haven’t heard from him since.

He had finally given up on me and I finally admitted to myself that I was never going to finish the script. It was almost a relief.

The irony is that since that meeting with Eric by the pool, there have been one sex scandal after another, from a law professor having sex with a student to a secondary school teacher having sex with a student to Cecilia Sue to a primary school teacher having sex with a student, providing me with so much juicy material for the script – that is, if I were still writing it.

As if to rub it in my face, Mr Palmer had to come along with his extra-marital affair just before the year is out to remind me of my failing.

I apologise to Eric for once again letting him down. I have some mangoes for him which I hope will make up for it.

By the way, does anyone want to buy a region-free six-movie Blu-ray boxed set containing Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and Avengers Assemble?

I’m asking $70 for it. E-mail me. (Maybe?)

- Published in The New Paper, 16 December 2012



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