Sunday 25 September 2011

Halloween to be replaced by Deepavali

I have cancelled my Halloween column, which was supposed to run in The New Paper on Sunday on Oct 30.

The decision to cancel my column about Halloween is not due to any religious beliefs, but rather my shaky belief that contriving a parallel to the recent controversial decision by Wildlife Reserves Singapore to cancel this year's Halloween Horrors event at the Night Safari could be funny.

Even though I am neither Christian nor Buddhist, I am against devil worship of any kind that doesn't involve listening to heavy metal music from the 70s and 80s because I'm old school.

But someone has to teach me how to get my MP3 player to play the songs backward so that I can get my instructions from Beelzebub. It used to be easier with vinyl.

Damn you, technology!

With such references to Beelzebub, heavy metal and school, you can see how the topic of Halloween can be too scary for children.

My writing can already be horrifyingly bad enough without it being about Halloween. Just ask anyone who saw Phua Chu Kang The Movie. Yes, I wrote that.

The New Paper is a family newspaper. As such, my column should promote family-bonding and some may argue that frightening children is antithetical to family-bonding.

My column three weeks ago on the new Mooncake Festival levels in the Angry Birds Seasons smartphone game marked the latest in my series of Asian-themed and family-bonding columns.

Who can forget my thoughtful column in 2009 on whether I should wear shorts or long pants to visit my relatives on the first day of Chinese New Year?

I am now planning a column centred around Deepavali which falls on Oct 26. This will be a multi-cultural family column for all Singaporeans and tourists to enjoy.

With my focus on Asian festivities, I have therefore decided to cancel my Halloween column in view of the clash in dates.

So no more columns about Christmas, New Year (the non-Chinese one), Good Friday and Labour Day as these holidays don’t go with the Asian theme. I’m still on the fence about National Day though. Can't decide whether it's Asian or not.

My decision to cancel the Halloween column is also due to the lack of any feedback from corporations, "friends" on Facebook, the public and the media about the column. In short, no one cares.

Another reason is that my Halloween column has no relevance in relation to conservation.

I thank myself for my dedication and the seven months of hard work that went into planning for the column.

I was so shocked by the sudden cancellation that I cried. I hope it doesn’t affect my work performance bonus.

Going forward, I will write more family-centric columns, which will include new youth engagement and interactive stuff throughout the calendar year.

A relative in Tampines offered to read my Halloween column because he did not want my efforts to go to waste. I declined the offer as I felt he was being patronising.

Before I go, I also want to apologise to Beelzebub for earlier linking him to the cancellation of my Halloween column and stress that Beelzebub had nothing to do with the decision.

For those of you who subscribed to The New Paper for my Halloween column - sorry, no refund.

Please don’t call for my resignation.

At least I didn’t kill any fireflies.

- Published in The New Paper, 25 October 2011

UPDATE: Why Deepavali is better than Halloween (but not Independence Day)

Sunday 18 September 2011

Kumar lied! I will never believe celebrities again

Spoiler alert!

Kumar is homosexual.

That's what has been revealed in the new book about the comedian entitled Kumar: From Rags To Drag, launched last Tuesday.

Now you don’t have to buy the book. I just saved you $33. You’re welcome.

What do you mean you already knew he’s gay?

Huh? Everyone knew? How did everyone know?

So what if he dresses up as a woman as part of his comedy act? That doesn’t automatically mean he’s gay.

Jack Neo used to dress up as Liang Po Po and Liang Xi Mei on TV.

Ivan Heng dressed up as Emily in the play Emily Of Emerald Hill.

Glen Goei dressed up as a man playing a woman in M Butterfly on stage.

Irene Ang dressed up as Rosie Phua on Phua Chu Kang.

Michelle Chong dressed up as Barbarella on The Noose.

Does Dennis Chew still dress up as Aunty Lucy?

Surely, they all can't be gay.

No, wait, Irene Ang and Michelle Chong are women. Sorry, my mistake. I got a little carried away there. Where was I? Oh yah...

Can’t a man dress up like a woman without people jumping to conclusion that he’s gay?

I used to enjoy trying on my mother’s underwear as a teenager and I’m not gay.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But you know the biggest reason I thought Kumar wasn’t gay?

Because he said so.

Back in 1993, he told The New Paper: “I’m not gay.”

And I believed him.

I mean, didn’t everyone?

Maybe I'm naive, but I trust celebrities. Why else would advertisers pay celebrities so much money to endorse their products?

I took Imedeen pills for my skin because Zoe Tay said her secret was that she swallowed. Don't tell me she actually spat.

When confronted with the gay question, Kumar could've said “no comment” or “I don't want to talk about my personal life” or “none of your business”.

But he addressed it head-on. I remember being very impressed by that.

Now, of course, he has revealed in the book that it was all a lie.

The issue isn’t that he’s gay. The issue is that he was dishonest.

I’m so disillusioned.

If you can’t trust a cross-dressing comedian, who in this world can you trust?

I haven’t felt this disillusioned since Glenn Ong and Jamie Yeo split up in 2009.

Back in 2004, he had told The New Paper that she was “the one”. Then earlier this year, he said his new fiancĂ©e Jean Danker is "the one".

How can I believe you now, Glenn?

In a few years, will Georgina Chang be “the one” next?

By the same token, how can I trust Kumar now?

If he could lie about not being gay 18 years ago, could he also be lying this time round about being gay just to get publicity for the book?

Maybe in a few years when he has a new movie to promote, he will admit that he's not gay after all.

And then a few years after that, when he has a new line of designer saris to promote, he can admit to being gay again.

This gay thing can be like a recyclable publicity resource for him.

But I’ve learned my lesson. I shall never believe anything celebrities say again.

The next time I see Gurmit Singh host a show on TV and say, “We have a great show for you tonight,” I will retort, “No, you don’t.”

That’ll teach him.

- Published in The New Paper, 18 September 2011

Hello S M Ong,

When I watched Jack Neo cross-dressing, my comment was 'he can act as a woman' but when I see Kumar with his mannerism, my impression was 'he is a pondan'. No debate as to why i categorized and pigeon-holed them like that. My two cents' opinion.


Sunday 11 September 2011

WikiLeaks & indecent exposure go hand in hand — just ask Mindee Ong

Last Monday, The New Paper reported that a naked man was spotted loitering at a Sengkang HDB lift lobby at night.

Last week also saw a flurry of responses to the latest bunch of WikiLeaks cables related to Singapore.

How are these two things related, you ask.

Well, I remember WikiLeaks causing a similar flap here in December last year.

I also remember in December last year, there was a flurry of reports of naked people spotted around the island.

A woman took off all her clothes and boarded a bus in Bedok. A man was arrested in Ang Mo Kio after he sat down naked on the street for a few hours.

Another man went to a 24-hour McDonald’s early in the morning to buy coffee in the nude.

According to the McDonald’s website, over 110 McDonald's restaurants across Singapore serve 1.2 million customers every week.

But on 12 Dec 2010 at around 4am, the staff of the Ridout Tea Garden McDonald’s in Queenstown refused to serve that naked man.

I don’t think the naked man was “lovin’ it”. Or perhaps we should all be grateful he wasn’t “lovin’ it”. I doubt the McDonald’s staff were “lovin’ it”.

I have several theories why McDonald’s refused to serve that naked man coffee.

1. No clothes meant no pants meant no wallet meant no money.

2. McDonald’s coffee is infamously hot. So it was a safety issue. Nudity with hot McDonald’s coffee would just be an accident waiting to happen.

3. Coffee is a stimulant. I imagine the last thing the McDonald’s staff wanted was a stimulated naked man.

On the same day McDonald’s was fending off that naked man, the Government was fending off allegations in cables leaked by WikiLeaks that Singapore diplomatic officials undiplomatically called Japan a ”big fat loser” and India ”stupid”.

In light of this irrefutable empirical evidence, I’ve come to this inescapable conclusion:

Whenever WikiLeaks leaks something related to Singapore, there will be people exposing themselves in public around Singapore.

How metaphorically apt.

Unconvinced? That one naked man in Sengkang this time round not enough for you?

I have two words for you: Mindee Ong.

No, she wasn't spotted naked anywhere (which is a pity).

In her blog, the local actress recounted an encounter with WikiLeaks of a different kind about a week ago.

Ong owns a home accessories shop called Trolley on Club Street. She was leaving her shop at 12.45am when she noticed two men “sneaking around” her white Nissan SUV.

“I went closer and saw one of them actually peeing at the rear wheel of my car,” she wrote.

She also saw the other man urinating into her neighbor’s planter. Maybe they had too much McDonald’s coffee.

Ong yelled at the man taking a WikiLeak on her vehicle: “Hey! Zip up your pants and get off my car.”

He ignored her and so she yelled again: “You are peeing at my car. Stop it!”

According to star of the movie 881, the man then “turned towards me, continued to pee, dangled and flashed his dick at me”.

He said to her, “Look at my penis peeing.”

Ong blogged that she didn’t care that “he was so urgent to release, but at least have the decency to keep his private part to himself”.

Even though she was shocked, Ong still had the presence of mind to snap iPhone pictures of the man flashing at her, which she posted on her blog, albeit with his “dick” pixellated,

Maybe one day WikiLeaks will leak the unpixellated pictures.

Ong called the police, but the two men left in a taxi before the police arrived.

And there you have it. Be prepared for more indecent exposure the next time WikiLeaks releases more cables.

Get your iPhone camera ready and hang around McDonald’s.

Or Sengkang. Or Bedok. Or Ang Mo Kio. Or Mindee Ong...

Aiyah, just have a camera ready wherever you are in Singapore.

And e-mail your photos to

Don’t pixellate them. Thank you.

- Published in The New Paper, 11 September 2011

Sunday 4 September 2011

Comex: How buying a computer is like voting in an election

I have a very important decision to make this weekend.

In some ways, it's more important than the one I made last weekend to pick a presidential candidate to vote for. That decision merely concerned the future of the country.

This weekend's decision will determine how long it will take me to download the next Angry Birds update. (The new Mooncake Festival levels for Angry Birds Seasons are insane!)

I'm going to Comex today to buy a new home computer and I have to decide which one to get.

Never has a decision been fraught with so much excitement, fear, dread, hope and regret.

I'm excited about buying a new computer, but I'm afraid I will make the wrong decision.

I dread the crowds at Comex, but I hope to get a good deal there.

Unfortunately, I will most likely regret whatever decision I make.

Such is my life in a nutshell.

That also describes how I feel about voting - more or less.

Because the presidential election ended just a week ago, I got to thinking about how buying a computer is like voting in an election.

1. An election usually comes around every four years or so. I buy a new computer every four years or so.

2. The Internet has a lot of information as well as opinions on both what computer to buy and who to vote for. I don't need info on the latter because...

3. I have to ask my wife to tell me which candidate or party to vote for. I also have to ask her for permission to buy a new computer. If I regret my choice, I have to live with it for the next four years or so before she lets me buy another computer. By then, it should be time to vote again.

4. On his Facebook page, losing presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian listed his blinking as a “negative point” of his campaign. I will also not buy a computer with a monitor that is blinking.

5. An election usually (but not always) involves a contest between an incumbent and a challenger. The incumbent computer operating system I'm using now is Microsoft Windows. Do I stick with the devil I know or choose an Apple instead and risk being cast out of the Garden of Eden like Adam and Eve? Will I repent? Like the majority, I will probably go for the perceived "safe" choice.

6. Comex is similar to an election rally - lots of noise, printed promotional material and people trying to sell you something. The difference is that Comex is indoors and rallies are outdoors - unless you're Mr Tan Cheng Bock.

I guess there are also some ways buying a computer is different from voting in an election:

1. The computer I buy will be the one I get. But the candidate I vote for may not be the one I get (if he or she loses the election).

2. Sharon Au hasn't endorsed any computer.

3. I'm allowed only one vote, but I’m legally allowed to buy more than one computer (if my wife lets me).

4. If I choose not to buy a computer at Comex today, my name won't be struck off the register.

5. The computer I eventually decide to buy will not be announced on TV by Mr Yam Ah Mee.

6. At least a computer comes with a warranty. A president doesn't.

Suntec, here I come!

- Published in The New Paper, 4 September 2011