Sunday 13 January 2013

Sequelitis: Darinne Ko is no Cecilia Sue (and farewell, Yam Ah Mee)

2013 is the year of sequels.

Actually, just about any year is the year of sequels, but I need a premise for this column, so work with me here.

Last year, we had The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, Men In Black 3, Taken 2, The Expendables 2, Wrath Of The Titans and Piranha 3DD among others, including the ultimate sequel, Marvel’s The Avengers, which was like a sequel to four different movies.

This year, we’ll have Ah Boys To Men Part 2, Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, A Good Day To Die Hard, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Hangover Part 3, Kick Ass 2, Red 2, The Wolverine, Thor: The Dark World, Anchorman: The Legend Continues, Scary Movie 5, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and quite a few more.

I can’t wait to see which new movie will have a burger named after it, like the Avengers Zinger Double Down, “the mightiest burger ever assembled”. I propose The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Spicy Whopper, flame-broiled to shoot your hunger down and set your taste buds on fire.

Yet, despite the deliciousness of sequels, none were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar last week, not even The Dark Knight Rises. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln doesn’t count because apparently, it’s not a sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. And Zero Dark Thirty isn’t a sequel to Zero Dark Twenty-Nine.

I mean, was a burger named after any of the Best Picture nominees? Sure, there’s Life Of Pie, but that’s a pastry.

The pervasiveness of sequels is such that they may have spilled over to the non-movie world.

For example, last week’s sex-for-grades trial starring former NUS law professor Tey Tsun Hang and his former student Darinne Ko resembled a sequel to last year’s sex-for-contracts trial starring former Central Narcotics Bureau chief Ng Boon Gay and former IT sales manager Cecilia Sue.

But comparing Tey and Ms Ko to Ng and Ms Sue is like comparing Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy to Matt Damon in the previous Bourne movies. It’s just not the same.

In our hearts, we would always wish it was Matt Damon or Cecilia Sue.

Other upcoming follow-ups in 2013 include another sex-for-contract trial (starring former Singapore Civil Defence Force chief Peter Lim) and the continuation of the City Harvest saga starring founder Kong Hee with the soundtrack provided by his singer wife Ho Yeow Sun. Yes, more China Whine.

But the big sequel this month is the fourth election we’ll have in Singapore in less than two years.

First, we had the “watershed” General Election in May 2011. Then we had the Presidential election three months later. The Hougang by-election last May made it a trilogy.

When Mr Michael Palmer unexpectedly resigned as the Member of Parliament for Punggol East last month, a quadrilogy was inevitable.

Just when Singaporeans thought we were out, Mr Palmer pulled us back into another election season.

(That line, by the way, is based on a quote from another sequel, The Godfather Part 3.)

It was like when director Peter Jackson announced that he’s turning The Hobbit from a two-parter into three movies.

Really? Another one?

I wonder how Dr Koh Poh Koon, the People’s Action Party candidate for Punggol East, will look in High Frame Rate 3D.

I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that this upcoming by-election will be the series finale. That’s it. Over.

Then after about three years, there will be a reboot in the form of a General Election.

And how will that future reboot be different from this current election series?

No more Mr Yam Ah Mee.

As returning officer, he has announced the polling results on TV for the past three elections.

Pursuant to last week’s news that Mr Yam will be stepping down as the chief executive director of People’s Association later this year, the Punggol East by-election will likely be his farewell performance.

Remember how we thought the original three Star Wars movies were about Luke Skywalker? Then the three prequels revealed that the entire six-movie saga is really about Darth Vader?

Well, these four elections are really about Yam Ah Mee.

We were introduced to him in the 2011 General Election and we will say goodbye to him in the Jan 26 by-election.

Just be grateful he was never played by an eight-year-old Jake Lloyd.

There may not be a burger named after Mr Yam, but his name is already a noodle dish.

How’s that for a happy ending?

- Published in The New Paper, 13 January 2013