Wednesday 14 January 2009

Why I shall never trouble MPs and multi-billionaires ever again

A man accosted an MP at a grassroots event because the man was upset that he didn't get what he was there for.

No, I'm not talking about Ong Kah Chua who set MP Seng Han Thong ablaze at the Yio Chu Kang Community Club last Sunday, apparently because Ong didn't get a hongbao.

I'm talking about me.

I had woken up early one weekend morning to join a walk-a-jog only to find that the organisers had ran out of T-shirts for the participants.

I felt aggrieved enough that when I spotted MP Yeo Cheow Tong in the crowd, I went right up to him, accepted his handshake and demanded my free T-shirt.

Taken aback, the MP said he wasn't in charge of T-shirts. Then some dude accompanying Mr Yeo sensed that I was a trouble-maker and quickly stood between me and the MP without saying a word.

Mr Yeo wisely walked away to glad-hand someone else and the dude followed him - leaving me still aggrieved and T-shirtless.

Did I consider scoring some thinner and a lighter so that I could get me some fiery justice? No, because I had to get past the dude who had already seen me and would be watching out for me.

Did Mr Seng had a dude like that with him last Sunday?

Security doesn't necessarily mean cutting off access.

In the mid-'90s, Bill Gates was in Singapore to promote the launch of Windows 95. I wrote a column about it for a magazine:
"There I was in the front row at the Shangri-la Hotel ballroom. There he was up on stage, mere metres away from where I was slouching in my seat.

"I was so close to Bill Gates that that if I did it just right, I could clamber onto the stage, grab him by his lapels and yell into his face: 'You're the richest man in America, you're the CEO of the largest software company in the world, you're the visionary leader of our technological future - for God's sake, why can't you get glasses that won't keep slipping down your nose?' before any of the security people could get to me (not that I spotted any)."
Soon after the article was published, I received a fax from someone named Alan Solomon. He wrote:
"In the paragraph where you described Mr Bill Gates' glasses and the action you thought of taking to rectify the situation, you stated that you felt you could grab Mr Gates before his security could get to you.

"You then had in brackets: 'not that I spotted any'.

"Well, Mr Ong, we spotted you.

"My company was in charge of Mr Gates' security planning. So the statement that you didn't see any security is a compliment to my security advice.

"Good personal security does not mean a uniform and a gun. It is highly-trained specialists who sit right beside people like yourself."
Our MPs should hire Mr Solomon.

- Published in The New Paper, 14 January 2009


I was sent the news items of the attack on MP Seng Han Thong along with your piece about the fax you received from me about 300 years ago [it seems].

Thanks for mentioning the situation, and I am pleased to know that you are still writing with that nice intelligent sense of humor which has always been evident in your articles.

Best wishes
Alan Solomon
Safety and Security Manager
International School of Beijing