Sunday 13 May 2012

Cleopatra? No, it’s the Avengers’ next villain!

And here we go again.

Last August, after Singapore’s second election in four months, I wrote in this column:

“Are we done? This is it, right? No more elections for at least the next four years, right?

“And don’t let me catch anyone sneaking in any by-elections. I’m all election-ed out.”

As usual, the universe hates me.

Nine months ago, if you had predicted that one of the precious few opposition Members of Parliament we have in Singapore would be kicked out of his own party after some salacious allegations, resulting in a by-election on May 26, people would’ve thought you were sillier than Loki standing up to the Hulk.

No, wait, that analogy doesn’t work because The Avengers movie wasn’t released nine months ago.

The big movie then was Cowboys & Aliens. So the correct analogy should be “crazier than aliens who thought they had a chance against James Bond and Indiana Jones”.

Aiyah, it wasn’t a very good movie anyway.

Has it really been nine months already?

It seemed like only yesterday when four men with the same surname wanted to be the President of Singapore, but there can only be one.

And we debated what powers the President actually has. (Was he a super-MP? If we had that debate now, would we be discussing whether an MP with super powers can join the Avengers?)

And eventually, the candidate endorsed by self-described “former TV actress-host” Sharon Au won.

Oh, how I rejoiced when the Presidential Election ended. No more Nomination Day. No more rallies. No more Cooling Off Day.

No more following #sgelection on Twitter for the latest poll results deep into the night.

No more recount. No more Mr Yam Ah Mee.

Oh, how wrong I was. Now it looks we'll be doing it all over again - for the third time in 14 months.

One “watershed” General Election last year wasn’t enough. So we had the sequel, the Presidential Election.

Then newly-elected Hougang MP Yaw Shin Leong had to get himself expelled from Workers’ Party in February – bada bing bada boom, the by-election date is set and it’s going to be a trilogy.

That means I have to wait for the boxed set before getting the Blu-Ray. I’m a completist. I hope there'll be screen-specific audio commentaries by the director and cast (including Mr Yam).

The buzz around the upcoming by-election is even threatening to overshadow the other show in town starring a controversial woman with weird-coloured hair – and I’m not talking about Lady Gaga.

I’m talking about the MRT inquiry where ex-SMRT chief executive Saw Phaik Hwa took the stand on Thursday. Her hair was described in The New Paper as “tufts of fuchsia and metallic green on her fringe”.

I’m not even sure what colour fuchsia is or how to pronounce it. Was she auditioning to be the next Avengers villain?

But even Ms Saw can’t top her costume in the famous “Cleopatra” company dinner picture – which turned out not to be of her being Cleopatra after all. The costume was actually inspired by the Maori tradition of haka from New Zealand.

How do I know this? Because I read it in her blog she started in March called “isaw-isphy”, which I can’t pronounce too.

She wrote: “I was told I must agree to be carried in a chair (I guess as a tribal leader). We were all dressed in costumes. At the ballroom entrance, my sedan bearers, to my amazement, took off their shirts.”

She also wrote: “I would do it again, as after all, it was for the staff. The little we could do to make it fun for the staff and for them to see management as one of them, rather than people on high horses, was why we did the events that way.”

So that was why instead of a high horse, she rode in on a high sedan carried by shirtless men. Way to get your staff to see you as one of them.

Ms Saw hasn’t updated her blog for more than a month now. Her fifth and last post, dated April 11, has only six comments, down from 87 for her first post.

Don't tell me she has quit her blog like she quit SMRT.

(UPDATE: She has abandoned her blog)

But no one asked about her blog or the “Cleopatra” photos at the inquiry.

How long is this inquiry supposed to last anyway?

Train delays are happening even as the inquiry on train delays is going on.

The elections may be a trilogy, but the train delays are becoming a long-running series.

Not even the Avengers can help us.

But - to paraphrase Tony Stark aka Iron Man - they can damn well sure avenge us.

(I'm not sure what that means.)

- Published in The New Paper, 13 May 2012