Sunday 18 January 2015

Why I'm afraid to bump into Glenn Ong

Sometimes I’m asked whether the famous people I write about have ever responded to my column.

Like, did my former MediaCorp colleague Gurmit Singh reply to my open letter asking him to introduce his open letter-writing daughter Gabrielle to my son after the Forever 21 incident last October?

Did SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek come after me for suggesting that his company should follow parody site SMRT Ltd (Feedback) and have a disclaimer on its Facebook page that says, “Believing in us is like believing that Kong Hee is Jesus”?

And did Ah Boys To Frogmen filmmaker Jack Neo address the objections by some former naval divers last March that he was directing a movie about the Naval Diving Unit despite being an “arsehole” who has “no clue as to what directing a movie requires”, to quote one incensed ex-frogman?

To answer all those questions — no, they have better things to do than bother with a column called “Act Blur”.

I mean, it’s no Heart Truths.

I doubt if they’re even aware I exist. Or perhaps in Gurmit’s case, he would rather pretend I didn’t.

But there have been a few rare occasions where the subjects of this column acknowledged that they were the subjects of this column.

I may not have heard from the SMRT CEO, but online pranksters SMRT Ltd (Feedback) tweeted, “@sm0ng is the first columnist from The New Paper that actually made sense about us,” after I wrote about them two weeks ago.

I just hope they weren’t being sarcastic.

You can never really tell what the reaction would be.

That was why I avoided Mr Baey Yam Keng when I saw the Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC at the Swissotel Vertical Marathon in 2013. This was on the same Sunday I nominated him as the Singapore candidate for People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.

Would he be flattered? Would he think I was being sarcastic? Or would be insulted that I was interested in him only for his body?

So I kept him at Baey, pun intended.

A photo posted by SM Ong (@sm_ong) on

But you know who I’m afraid to bump into the most?

Glenn Ong.

He was in the news recently for quitting MediaCorp Radio after almost two decades as a DJ there.

I have written about him a few times over the years, usually to make fun of his marriages.

Remember TVMobile? It let you watch TV on the bus. Even though people hated it, complaining about the noise and that it showed too many Chinese programmes, TVMobile inexplicably lasted from 2001 until it was finally put out of its misery at the end of 2009.

In a column celebrating its overdue demise, I expressed amazement that TVMobile lasted longer than Ong’s second marriage.

I wrote:
“And if you take into account that the public trial for TVMobile started in 1999, it actually outlasted both of Ong's marriages to Kate Reyes (2000 to 2003) and Jamie Yeo (2004 to 2009).”

After the article came out, I was a little worried that he would call me out on his radio show and recommend that I should be put to sleep like a mad dog or something.

But I flattered myself. Why would he bother with a nobody like me?

Two years after his break-up with Yeo, Ong announced his engagement to Jean Danker, another MediaCorp radio DJ, like his two ex-wives were.

It was as if the man was addicted to marrying his colleagues. He was going to run out soon.

So I wrote in a column:
“Someone should do an intervention and save him from himself — and also Danker from becoming the next member of his Obedient Ex-Wives Club.”
I braced myself for a response from him, but once again, I flattered myself.

A year later, their wedding plans were put on hold.

Danker told The New Paper in May 2012: “The gowns were beautiful. Then I was like oh-oh, we were jumping the gun. I panicked a bit.”

Even Ong said: “Many times, I feel like I shouldn't have proposed.”

They’re still not married today, although apparently, they’re still engaged.

Did my column have anything to do with their cold feet?

I shouldn’t flatter myself. Even though I met Ong once a long time ago in the 90s, he probably doesn’t even remember I exist.

Then on Jan 7 last year, out of the blue, I received this tweet from “Glenn Egoman Ong”: “Wahaha! Smong Smong...”

It was him!

He does remember I exist. I was flattered and panicking at the same time.

But to my surprise, his tweet wasn’t related to anything I had written about him. It contained a link to an article I wrote about another celebrity called “Why was Ivan Heng watching TV on New Year’s Eve?”

Hmmm, so it’s possible that Ong is aware of my existence and yet hasn’t read any of my columns about him?


I was worried there for a moment.

Last week, it was announced that Ong has a new job as director at a consulting firm called CIR VIS.

So now he has a new bunch of colleagues he can marry.

That’s a relief.

And no, I haven’t heard from Ivan Heng.

- Published in The New Paper, 18 January 2015

UPDATE: Another 'online spat': Glenn Ong versus... me?