Sunday 18 March 2012

'Don't be an idiot' & write about penis panic again

Toilets or sex?

Last week, it was reported that the National Environmental Agency will be increasing the number of toilet inspections at food establishments.

This came after a recent survey conducted by the Restroom Association of Singapore showed that people were unhappy with efforts in keeping toilets clean.

Then came the report that almost half the Singapore men surveyed by the Society For Men's Health said that a man should last 20 to 30 minutes during sexual intercourse.

(Where do these associations and societies come from anyway?)

But the quote of the week must be from the president of the Society For Men's Health: “Singapore men are telling us they expect to be Superman in the bedroom.

“This unrealistic perception of the time between penetration and ejaculation can lead to a range of performance anxieties.”

So I was vacillating between writing about toilets or writing about sex for this week’s column.

On any normal day, sex easily trumps toilets (although in real life, toilets are far more essential than sex).

I mean the Superman quote alone is a goldmine for easy jokes. “Superman? I’d rather be Mr Fantastic, but my wife wants The Hulk.”

But this is not a normal day because for my past two columns, I’ve been going on and on about this thing called The Great Singapore Penis Panic and I’ve been discouraged by more than one person from making it a trilogy.

The trouble with the sex story is that it’s basically about male performance anxiety - in other words, it’s another form of The Great Singapore Penis Panic.

Even the toilet story is kind of penis-related.

The last thing I want is to be accused of being penis-fixated.

Then last Friday night, I was calling home from work to check on the kitchen toilet when my wife (yes, the one who wants The Hulk) said on the phone: “Aiyah, your Gurmit Singh.”

What was she talking about? Yes, I’ve worked with Gurmit several times since 1993, but he’s hardly “my” Gurmit. What did he do now?

“You didn’t see the video?” she said. “Just go to the Internet.”

And so I found the YouTube video called “Gurmit piss off with audience during rehearsal of First XI”.

In it, Gurmit is standing in front of the gallery at a stadium although you can barely see him because he’s so far away. But you can hear him clearly through the sound system as he’s trying to get the seated crowd to stand on cue.

“I can see people not standing up,” he says. “If you don’t want to be part of the trials, please go home. This is a reality TV show. If you can’t listen to simple instructions, then please go home.

“Because of you, we keep doing over and over and over again.”

Later, he says: “So when the captain says, ‘Everybody stand’, please stand up. Don’t be ego, don’t be captain, don’t be an idiot.”

The video was posted in one online forum with the heading “Gurmit Singh tells VOLUNTEERS to go home after he doesn’t get his way!” and another forum as “Gurmit Singh tells spectators at reality show they are idiots - too big for his boots”.

Oh, no! After The Amazing Race, Singapore Idol and Lamborghini ignominy, Gurmit was going to be the nation’s punching bag once more.

That was when I decided that for my next column, instead of writing about toilets or sex, I would defend my Gurmit... uh, I mean my professional acquaintance Gurmit against these unfair criticisms.

But then I discovered something surprising. Despite the baiting headlines, many of the online commenters felt that Gurmit was justified in chiding the uncooperative reality TV show hopefuls.

One wrote: “Lol if it was Gordon Ramsey instead of Gurmit Singh, confirm all the vulgarities come out like river, then he'll cancel the whole thing and ask them come back again another day.”

Others were more amused that the “reality” show was staged.

So I didn't need to step in to defend my Gurmit after all.

I SMSed him for his reaction to the video. He replied he didn't know about the video. So I e-mailed him the link.

He eventually SMSed me back: “It's ok. Leave it be. No comment.”

Is it too late for me to write about my premature ejaculation?

Aiyah, no more space.

- Published in The New Paper, 18 March 2012