Sunday 30 January 2011

Why Marina Bay Sands casino should hire me

Dear Marina Bay Sands,

I’m applying for the position of casino dealer at your esteemed integrated resort as I believe I would make an ideal MBS employee.

Here’s why:

Last week, it was reported that MBS threatened to penalise casino dealers who don’t show up for work during the upcoming Chinese New Year period – even if they have a valid medical certificate.

You have since rescinded this policy.

You were concerned that workers would give themselves a holiday during the holiday as holidays are when the casinos are the busiest.

Apparently, 250 of about 1,500 MBS casino dealers took medical leave on New Year’s Eve.

Understandably, you don’t want that to happen again on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

As an employee, I would not give MBS such headaches.

For one thing, I hate Chinese New Year.

During my full-time national service, I volunteered to be on duty during the first and second day of CNY.

This greatly confused the guys in my unit because CNY duty was what they would normally fight tooth and nail to get out of. The Encik even used CNY duty as a stick to make them do his bidding.

Then I came along and turned the whole thing upside down.

Encik: “If you book in late again, I’ll put you on Chinese New Year duty!”

Yours truly: “Woohoo!”

My fellow servicemen didn’t understand it, but they weren’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth – me being the horse.

To me, CNY duty was just a great – even patriotic – excuse to get out of visiting my relatives, which I still dread doing every year.

My willingness (verging on desperation) to work during CNY is not the only reason you should hire me.

Since I started my current job three years ago, I’ve yet to take a single day of medical leave.

That is not to say I’ve never fallen sick, but I’ve always recovered quickly enough to have never missed a day of work.

And not only do I never take medical leave, I look down on colleagues who do. There’s this guy I’m working with who seems to get sick every time Liverpool loses a match, which is a rather common occurrence nowadays.

I do not agree with the attitude that “Hey, it’s not like I fell sick on purpose”.

I believe it’s every worker’s responsibility to stay healthy to avoid taking medical leave, which is not only a burden to his employer, but also to his or her co-workers.

I want to work for a company that values and rewards a perfect attendance record rather than such trifles as aptitude and a decent haircut.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you to arrange an interview.

By the way, Chinese New Year's Eve is only three days away. No pressure.

And if you have enough casino dealers, I understand you may have an opening for chief executive officer. I am nothing if not flexible. I don't mind being your CEO if you need someone urgently.

S M Ong

PS: If I don't hear from you soon, I'm applying for a position at Singapore Airlines. I hear the Singapore Girl is making a comeback. I think I'll look fantastic in a kebaya.

- Published in The New Paper, 30 January 2011

UPDATE: MBS hires new CEO

Sunday 23 January 2011

He gave me the finger & didn't even buy me dinner

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

I know this may be hard to believe, but I don’t really enjoy writing about going naked.

Granted, three of my last five columns have been on that overexposed subject - the naked McDonald’s guy, half naked ‘hunkle’ Zheng Geping and making a sex video like ‘Gary Ng’.

In my defence, I managed to avoid any mention of nudity last week when I wrote about my colleague Sylvia Toh Paik Choo’s new book, The Complete Eh Goondu.

And considering that Sylvia is 63 years old, I’m sure everyone is grateful to be spared that mental image of associating nudity with her. (Er... until now - sorry.)

Keep in mind that last week, I could’ve easily gone to town with the guy who posed naked at Marina Bay Sands and called it art. Well, not literally "gone to town" with him, but you know what I mean.

He was reportedly charging people $250 to have a picture taken with him. For that kind of money, I would've also expected dinner and a movie with a happy ending (which I might have gotten if I had literally gone to town with him).

Lest I’m accused of being body-obsessed, I abstained from ruminating on that meaty topic in last week’s column. No more “naked” columns, I promised myself.

But I can’t resist it. I’m only human. I’m breaking my promise.

On Wednesday, The New Paper reported that a prominent plastic surgeon was being sued by a 17-year-old girl because she claimed she was traumatised after he forced her to take off her underwear and then took nude pictures of her.

I was also recently traumatised by a visit to a doctor, though it wasn’t a plastic surgeon. What I have is natural beauty.

Being a man of certain age, I’m required by my employer to go for annual health screenings. It was my first such check-up.

The doctor was a genial older man. Because it was my first time, I felt awkward as I wasn’t sure what to expect. We chatted a while about my medical history, but I sensed we weren’t clicking. The chemistry just wasn’t there.

I was also nervous because I knew sooner or later, he was going to ask me to strip. My pulse was racing. I hoped it didn’t affect my blood pressure reading.

When he finally popped the question, it was a relief. I tried to be adult about it, but after I took off my shirt, he wanted to see more.

Because I wanted him to like me, I complied. He was, after all, a doctor.

And then he asked to insert his finger into my rectum to examine my prostate.

I had never had anyone insert his or her finger (or anything else) into my rectum before – and if I did, I have blocked it out of my memory.

The doctor appeared as embarrassed asking it as I was embarrassed being asked it, which wasn’t very reassuring.

He said I could decline the prostate exam if I wasn’t comfortable. He didn’t seem to look forward to it himself.

I said that since we had already come this far, we might as well just go all the way.

At least he used protection.

Being the professional that he was, he put on a rubber glove, lubricated a finger and professionally inserted it into my anus. He then wriggled his cold latexed finger around my rectum before pulling out.

I tried to act cool during the whole process, but I had never felt more violated in my life.

For the rest of the day, I could still feel the impression left by the finger in my rectum long after I fled the doctor’s office.

And I didn’t even get dinner or a movie out of it - just the unhappy ending.

One small consolation is that apparently, I have a healthy prostate, whatever that is.

Now please excuse me while I take a long cold shower and wash this column from my memory.

- Published in The New Paper, 23 January 2011

Sunday 16 January 2011

Don't be so goondu and republish the books already!

Launched a month ago, The Complete Eh Goondu is a reprint of two books, Eh Goondu and Lagi Goondu, in a single volume, written by my colleague at The New Paper, Sylvia Toh Paik Choo.

The Complete Eh Goondu is now flying off the shelves (possibly because someone bumped into the bookcase – maybe Sylvia herself).

I paid full price for the book, which is an outrage. Why? Because The Complete Eh Goondu wouldn’t exist if not for me. And for that, shouldn’t I at least get a discount?

It all started back in mid-2009. Sylvia was buying me sardine puffs in the SPH News Centre canteen when she mentioned that a publisher had wanted to reprint her Goondu books.

I was more excited by the news than she was. Sylvia wasn’t so keen because she felt publishing a book in this age of YouTube and Twitter just seemed so embarrassingly old-fashioned.

I said, who cares? That was the book publisher’s problem. The books were already written, so it’s not like she had to do anything – except sit back and watch the royalties roll in. It was like free money! She should do it!

Sylvia reluctantly agreed, but said she felt obliged to at least update the books for the new millennium. After all, they were over 20 years old.

Sure, I said, that was a good idea. I was wrong.

Fast forward to August last year. Once again, I was mooching off Sylvia in the SPH canteen.

I mentioned seeing a Straits Times article about old local books, like Philip Jeyaretnam’s First Loves, being “re-issued”, which led me to ask her about the status of Goondu.

Oh, she said she never got around to writing the update and decided to just let the project die.

Alamak! How could she be so goondu?!

I said forget about the update. The publisher never asked for the update. It was Sylvia who wanted it. You think now big-time lawyer Jeyaretnam bothered to update First Loves? Ha!

All those old local books were probably republished without updates. Why should Goondu be left out?

Free money!

To her credit, Sylvia immediately saw the wisdom of my words. She called the publisher, who was so happy to hear from her again that mere four months later, The Complete Eh Goondu was in the bookstores just in time for Christmas.

And it was all thanks to me. Previously, one of the few places you could buy Eh Goondu was at where it was once listed for as much as US$77.

So is it right for me to pay the full price of $19.99 (including GST) for a book that I made possible?

Granted, Sylvia autographed my copy, but I’m not sure how much that’s worth on eBay.

All I know is that she’s going to have to buy me many, many, many more sardine puffs.

- Published in The New Paper, 16 January 2011

Sunday 2 January 2011

My new year's resolution? I want to be a 'hunkle', but...

Remember three weeks ago when being naked in public was like the fashionable thing in Singapore?

To be part of the “in” crowd, I wanted to go to Burger King and get the Steakhouse Burger in the nude.

In retrospect, I’m relieved I decided against it. (So are the staff of Burger King, I suspect. They’re not paid enough for that kind of punishment. I know how much they're paid because my mother works there.)

I realised apart from possibly getting arrested, I would’ve made a fool of myself if I had gone naked.

When did I realise this?

When I saw a picture of MediaCorp “hunkle” actor Zheng Geping’s awesomely chiselled body in The New Paper on Wednesday.

Now I’m embarrassed by my body even with clothes on.

I mean this guy is older than I am!

I’ve actually met Zheng about six years ago at MediaCorp when he starred in a mini-series I wrote for Channel 8. I had no idea who he was before.

Basically, he used to look, well, like me – doughy with pasty skin – but taller. The sad thing is that at the time, I thought both of us looked pretty good.

Now that he looks like a Manhunt winner while I look like man-chunk reject, it’s even sadder.

Therefore, my new year’s resolution for 2011 is to look like Zheng Geping (again).

According to The New Paper report, to get that youthful hot bod, Zheng trained for three months, pumping weights three days a week and doing cardio five days a week for one and a half hours per session.

I feel winded just typing that.

His diet consists mainly of skinless chicken breast, fish and lean beef plus plenty of eggs.

What? No Steakhouse Burgers?

Wait, I just noticed something.

Zheng, 46, is married to actress Hong Huifang, who is three years older than him.

But because he now looks 20 years younger, she can't help but look like she’s 23 years older than him.

If you thought she looked like his mother before...

That’s just wrong.

How can Zheng be so inconsiderate? How could he so thoughtlessly get those washboard abs when his wife is turning 50 on Friday and looks it?

What happened to chivalry?

I would never do that to my own wife. Being the sensitive New Age husband that I am, I make it a point never to look better than her.

Because that’s what marriage is about – making sacrifices. Just for her, I’m going to stop exercising and eat whatever I want.

You’re welcome, dear.

So I hereby rescind my new year’s resolution to look like Zheng Geping (again).

(I'm not breaking my resolution - I'm rescinding it. There's a difference. It's like annulling a marriage instead of getting a divorce.)

To celebrate, I’m not only getting Steakhouse Burger – I’m getting the Loaded Steakhouse Burger.

And yes, I want the meal.

Now I just have to decide what to wear to Burger King.

- Published in The New Paper, 2 January 2011