Sunday 19 October 2014

Open letter to Gurmit Singh about his open letter-writing daughter Gabrielle

Dear Gurmit,

How’s it going?

It’s been a while. The Phua Chu Kang movie didn’t turn out the way I hoped.

You look good for a guy a year older than me. Still hitting the gym?

I feel old.

I shouldn’t say that since there are older people who must be feeling older. I know how annoying it is to hear people younger than you complaining about feeling old.

Even when you’re 80, you can’t complain about feeling old because there’ll be someone 90 years old saying, “Old? You have no idea what feeling old means, you young punk!”

But I felt particularly old last week when I read about your daughter Gabbi’s open letter to Forever 21, calling out the misogynistic rap song being played in a clothing store targeted at women.

It’s cool that Forever 21 has apologised, explaining: “A staff member had played his own personal list, which was not part of the company recommendations.”

Gabbi reminds me of the Hwa Chong girl who wrote the open letter to her principal about the “sexist” relationship workshop in her school.

With young people like these, there may be hope for Singapore’s future after all.

As you can see, I’m also jumping on the public missive bandwagon by writing this open letter to you.

Kids. They grow up so fast.

I still think of Gabbi as the baby I saw when I visited you in your HDB flat in Woodlands in the 90s. And now she’s using words like “misogynistic”, “bitches” and “fellatio” in her open letter.

I can faint.

By the way, remember when you were still living in HDB? How crazy was that?

Would a Lamborghini fit into a standard HDB parking lot?

Just kidding!

Hey, I went through a mid-life crisis too. You bought an Italian supercar, I bought skinny jeans.

But you’ve replaced the Lambo with an Audi S5, right? I saw it on Instagram.

I also read on your Instagram that Gabbi has published a book of her poetry called Anomic Aphasia.

And she’s only 17!

That’s seriously impressive. I had to look up what “anomic aphasia” means. (It’s a medical condition where you can’t recall names.)

I’m still waiting for someone to publish my book of song lyrics I wrote in secondary school. And I’m 48!

My son is still working on his never-ending space fantasy epic which I’m afraid to read. I blame Adrian Pang for encouraging him to be a writer.

Which brings me to the real reason I’m writing you this letter.

No, not kill Adrian Pang.

As you may or may not know, my son was born in the same year as Gabbi. I remember thinking at the time how cool it would be if they grew up, started dating and got married – then you and I could be in-laws!

Well, it’s now 17 years later. They’re sort of at the age when they can start dating.

I was wondering... you know.

I know what you’re thinking – is my son worthy of dating your daughter?

Probably not.

I mean, he’s no Irfan Fandi, who’s also 17 and was just named one of the 40 best young talents in world football by The Guardian newspaper in UK.

But then at 1.86m, Irfan is way too tall for Gabbi.

My son, on the other hand, is about your height, which your daughter should be used to.

And frankly, I would make a better in-law than Fandi Ahmad. I would let you beat me at football.

Just like how Fandi let all those other teams beat his LionsXII.


Also, my son doesn’t like rap. He prefers Chinese orchestral music and there’s no such thing as misogynistic Chinese orchestral music.

Admittedly, he might have listened to Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot a little too often because he kept rewatching the episode of Friends with that song on Blu-ray.

But he’s never all about the bass. Or treble.

He will never refer to anyone as a “pink fat lady” since he doesn’t work at Pizza Hut.

You may have read somewhere (my column last week) that my son can get pretty surly, but that’s only to me, his father.

Rest assured that to other people, he’s much, much, much less surly.

An introduction – that’s all I’m asking for after 20 years of acquaintance.

I may sound a bit desperate, but that’s because my wife and I are afraid no one will ever marry my son and we have nightmares about being stuck with him for the rest of our lives.

Yes, Gabbi deserves better, but so do we.

Just think about it. No pressure.

And please apologise to your wife, Melissa, for me. I didn’t mean to snub her at the PCK series wrap party at Zouk in 2007. I didn’t realise it was her until after I snubbed her.

Good luck with the President’s Star Charity show next month.

All the best in Singapore and JB,

PS: Would you happen to know how old Kheng Hua's daughter is now?

- Published in The New Paper, 19 October 2014

EARLIER: My son attended 'sexist' relationship workshop & survived!

UPDATE: My blog had 6 followers, I thought no one was going to see it