Sunday 19 February 2012

Thanks, Wikipedia, for giving me my own page, but...

Dear Wikipedia,

I woke up last Sunday morning to shocking news.

And I’m not talking about the death of Whitney Houston, although that was certainly shocking. (My first reaction was: “And Bobby Brown is still alive?”)

No, I’m talking about an unexpected message from a Facebook friend that included a link to a Wikipedia page.

After clicking on the link, I was shocked to discover that the Wikipedia page is about me!

How did this happen? Why and when did you create this page?

I mean, I Google myself regularly (but not too often, in case I go blind). How come I had never come across it before?

On the one hand, I'm a little spooked that someone had dug up some info about me and put it on the Web without my knowledge.

On the other hand, I’m flattered that someone bothered.

I have to admit that I'm more excited about this than that time I discovered I was being used in an English assignment question for a Secondary 2 class.

I know I'll never be a millionaire. I'll never win the $10 million Hongbao Draw. I'll never win a Grammy. I'll never play for the New York Knicks.

But, hey, I have my own Wikipedia page!

I had long been jealous of my friend and fellow The New Paper on Sunday columnist Sylvia Toh Paik Choo who had her own Wikipedia page way before I did.

Call it Wiki-envy.

This is despite Sylvia's page incorrectly stating that she lives in the Bahamas. In reality, she lives in Farrer Park.

When are you getting around to fixing that, by the way?

Regardless, I want to thank you for now making me one of (I think) only three people writing for The New Paper who has his or her own Wikipedia entry, the other two being Sylvia and Neil Humphreys.

Neil's entry is the longest (not that length matters), but I’m one up on both Sylvia and Neil because I also have my own IMDB page (again created without my knowledge), although it’s grossly incomplete.

Do you know anyone at IMDB who can fix that too?

I understand that Sylvia and Neil are in Wikipedia because both have authored bestselling books - but I haven’t.

My attention span is barely long enough for me to finish this letter, much less a whole book.

My sister at first accused me of "bribing” Wikipedia, but then remembered I'm too much of a "miser" (her word) to spend the money.

I know of course that you don't accept bribes, but despite what my sister said, I'm willing to make a "donation" if you could make my entry longer than Neil's.

Or at least a little more accurate than it is.

My Wikipedia entry says that I’m “best known as a producer and writer for the popular comedy show Phua Chu Kang". Really?

Since someone will likely refer to this for my obituary, I'd like to request a couple of minor corrections.

The entry also says that I “was the writer and producer of Phua Chu Kang The Movie”. Yes, guilty as charged, I wrote the movie - but I wasn't the producer. If I were, the movie would've turned out differently.

Also, although I wrote and maybe directed the Daddy's Girls episode that won the Asian Television Award for Best Comedy in 2005, it's inaccurate to say that I won the award. It was the show that won it.

(I’m tempted to make the changes myself since Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, but that would be too narcissistic, even for a fan of self-love like me.)

If you could update your Yaw Shin Leong page so swiftly last week to include his sudden expulsion from Workers' Party over “indiscretions in personal life”, I'm sure you can make these small amendments for me.

And if not, then maybe just add that I'm living in the Bahamas. I hear I have a friend there.

S M Ong

- Published in The New Paper, 19 February 2012

UPDATE: My Wikipedia page has since been re-edited several times