Sunday 30 August 2009

Googling Paik Choo: The Bahamas? Oh, mama!

Tomorrow is my friend and colleague Paik Choo's last day of her contract with The New Paper. So naturally, I decided to Google her.

According to Wikipedia, on which my knowledge of the universe is based, Paik Choo “now lives in the Bahamas”. This came as a shock to me.

For the last 20 months since I joined this publication, I've seen Paik Choo in The New Paper newsroom several times a week. The commute from the Bahamas to Toa Payoh must be a nightmare.

Then I realised “The Bahamas” could be the name of her condo in Singapore, which makes perfect sense – except for the inconvenient detail that she lives in an HDB flat in Farrer Park, which I've visited.

This leads me to the unavoidable conclusion – reality is wrong.

Otherwise, the implication is that Wikipedia is wrong and that’s just plain silly.

Wikipedia is on the Internet and everyone knows that everything on the Internet is true. Even Paik Choo knows that.

A few weeks ago, she told me a publisher wanted to reprint her two Goondu books from the ’80s.

But in this age of the World Wide Web and the 140-character Twitter tweet, she wondered whether the whole idea of publishing a book is somewhat quaint, if not embarrassingly obsolete.

That is why millions around the world nowadays don’t publish books, but blogs. Even I have a quasi-blog at

Heck, even my wife has a blog called Projects By Jane where she blathers on and on about her oh-so-exciting hobby - sewing bags.

But to my chagrin, she gets more page views than I do – not that we’re competing or anything like that. (Just between you and me - yes, we are.)

The most addictive thing about having your own blog is finding out how many visitors you get each day and how they end up on your website.

To my chagrin again, the stats reveal that most of my visitors found my site not because they Googled “handsome gloriously-maned New Paper On Sunday columnist”, but “ladyboy breasts” and the search results would include a link to an article I wrote in February about a transsexual I met in Thailand. I'm not proud.

Paik Choo doesn’t have a blog, so she is spared such humiliation.

At the risk of unravelling the fabric of space and time, I bit the bullet and asked her if she really lives in the Bahamas as stated in Wikipedia.

She replied: “In my mind, I do.”

- Published in The New Paper, 30 August 2009

UPDATE: Paik Choo's New Paper contract was renewed after the publication of this column. She finally retired from the paper at the end of August 2012.