Sunday 6 January 2013

Man! He’s not a woman!

I’m a country music fan.

Before Taylor Swift, the big country crossover star was Shania Twain. One of Twain’s hits was a song called Man! I Feel Like A Woman! with two exclamation points in the title.

I’m bringing this up because I’ll be referencing this song title several times in this column and I want to make sure you get the reference like Captain America did with the “flying monkeys” reference in The Avengers movie.

I just hope I don’t have to explain that Captain America reference.

Anyway, not long ago, I received an e-mail from a reader who addressed me as “Samantha”.

Man! That made me feel like a woman!

It was not the first time I was mistaken for a woman and it wouldn’t be the last.

It is, of course, not uncommon for a man to be mistaken for a woman.

On Wednesday, the front page of The New Paper read: “New Year’s Eve party shock: Woman has cardiac arrest in Zouk. Two people give her CPR. Page 2.”

The next day, there was arguably an even bigger shock.

Thursday’s TNP front page read: “‘Woman’ in Zouk cardiac arrest turns out to be a man. Described by witnesses as a ‘very attractive woman’. Page 2.”

Fortunately, Friday’s TNP front page didn’t read: “‘Woman’ in ‘Zouk’ cardiac arrest, who turned out to be a man, turns out to be at St James Power Station. Page 2.”

I’m wondering what went through the minds of the two people who gave “her” cardiopulmonary resuscitation - which includes mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions - after reading the second TNP front page.

“Man? He felt like a woman!”

The man was last reported to be in intensive care and I wish him a speedy recovery.

(UPDATE: The man has died in hospital)

Also last week, there was a Straits Times report about a 7-Eleven store assistant named Tan Yeong Perng who lured a 15-year-old boy into the storeroom and committed an obscene act.

The report said the boy “felt something was amiss when his leg accidentally brushed against Tan’s groin, and realised that Tan was actually a male”.

Man! That doesn’t feel like a woman!

Tan was jailed for 15 months for the offence.

My son is also 15 years and I’m a little worried for him.

He joined his school’s Chinese orchestra last year, which was a surprise to his mother and me as no one in the family, including him, ever had any interest in traditional Chinese music before. It isn’t exactly Taylor Swift, you know?

Someone had somehow coaxed my son into trying a traditional Chinese wind instrument called the suona, which he turned out to be good enough at that he was asked to join the orchestra.

Last month, my wife and I got tickets to see our son for the first time performing in the Chinese orchestra, but she couldn’t make it. So I went alone.

The performance was in a room in the school and I was a bit late. My son was already there and I thought I made eye contact with him as I took my seat.

As I watched him play the suona, I felt so proud of myself for being such a supportive parent - unlike one mother I could mention.

After the unexpectedly enjoyable performance, the audience was directed out of the room while the students remained.

I didn’t want to leave the school without saying goodbye, so I called my son's mobile phone, but he didn’t answer and so I left without speaking to him.

A couple of hours later, I received an SMS from my son: “Why you call me? Is it pocket dial?”

He must have seen the “missed call” alert on his phone.

I replied: “I just wanted to say bye to you in school.”

He messaged back: “You were at school?”

Wait. He didn’t know I was there?

I immediately called him and asked: “You didn’t see me at the performance?”

He said: “No.”

I said: “But I saw you see me. I came in late.”

He said: “All I saw was this woman in an orange top.”

I said: “That was me! I was wearing an orange top!”

He said: “Really? Oh.”

Man! My own son mistook me for a woman!

Maybe this was just the universe’s way of reminding me to get a haircut before Chinese New Year.

And that I should keep my son away from convenience stores.

I wanted to ask him if he at least thought I was a “very attractive woman”, but then another Shania Twain song title came to mind - Don’t Be Stupid.

I think I’m going to start listening to more Faith Hill from now on.

- Published in The New Paper, 6 January 2013

UPDATE: Gee, your hair smells