Monday 8 January 2018

A more pressing succession question: Who will succeed Zoe Tay as Queen of Caldecott Hill?

2017 did not end with the glorious New Year’s Eve countdown show I had hoped.

Singer Aisyah Aziz covered Symphony by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson, but she was so pitchy that homeviewers probably wished someone covered her with a blanket instead.

Where’s Hady Mirza when you need him?

But 2018 offers a fresh start.

Even though the weather is wet and gloomy, university students are wearing slippers, shorts and T-shirts to class, much to the disapproval of at least one Straits Times forum letter writer.

“We do not see our MPs and ministers wearing slippers, shorts and T-shirts in Parliament,” said the letter writer.

Who knows? Perhaps Mediacorp edited the parliamentary videos with certain bits removed so that we do not see our MPs and ministers wearing slippers, shorts and T-shirts in Parliament.

MP for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng could be wearing Crocs to Parliament House, but Channel NewsAsia’s video server did not render the video of his footwear properly.

Still, let us usher in the new year with optimism and sunshine smiles despite an MRT breakdown between the Tanah Merah and Changi Airport stations on the first work day of the new year.

We need to be in good spirits to tackle the pressing and longer term challenges for Singapore besides faulty trains and glitchy video servers.

One urgent challenge I would like to see settled is who our next Queen of Caldecott Hill will be.

The current Queen of Caldecott Hill, Zoe Tay, will be celebrating her 50th birthday (or ZT50 for short) on Wednesday.

Yes, the Mediacorp actress had a birthday party last week at Suntec City (to which I wasn’t invited), but her birthday is actually on Jan 10.

Like SG50, ZT50 is not just a one-day affair. All that’s missing is a new Dick Lee song that everyone hates because it’s not as good as (and can never be as good as) Home.

In five short years, Tay will be eligible to withdraw from CPF. Not that I think she is over the hill — even if that hill is Caldecott.

Tay has been the Queen of Caldecott Hill for so long that there is no Caldecott Hill any more. Actually, Caldecott Hill is still there, but Mediacorp completed its move to Buona Vista last year.

So technically, Tay is now the Queen of Buona Vista, which, admittedly, doesn’t quite have the same ring.

Buona Vista is also home to many other organisations, such as the Ministry of Education and shipping company NOL, which may have their own queens with claims to the Buona Vista crown.

This could be like Game Of Thrones but without the incest (one hopes).

It could be just easier to call Tay the Queen of Mediacorp.

But then the new Mediacorp chief executive officer, Ms Tham Loke Kheng, might have something to say about that.

To avoid such complications (and icky sibling sex scenes), let’s just stick to Queen of Caldecott Hill for now.

So who can succeed Tay as Queen of Caldecott Hill?

What about Fann Wong? After all, isn’t she already like the Deputy Queen (DQ) of Caldecott Hill?

The bad news is that just as Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam don’t seem to be in the running to be Singapore’s next prime minister, DQ Wong (who will be turning 47 later this month) appears unlikely to be the next Queen.

Maybe someone younger, like bad driver Rui “Do you know who I am?” En or one-time NTUC Income shill Rebecca “I’m retiring, I’m not retiring” Lim?

I know who it won’t be — Sharon Au.

Last week, the TV host-actress-executive announced that she is leaving Mediacorp after 22 years.

Remember when she acted as Mrs Lee Kuan Yew in The LKY Musical in 2015? That was after she played a supporting role to another politician in real life.

During the 2011 presidential election, she spoke at a rally for then-candidate Tony Tan Keng Yam.

And he won.

At this rate, Au is likelier to be the next Prime Minister of Singapore than the next Queen of Caldecott Hill.

There, Mr Goh Chok Tong, problem solved.

So if not Au or Wong or Rui En or Lim, then who will succeed Tay?

Perhaps there can only be one Queen of Caldecott Hill. The title will probably die with Tay since it’s obsolete anyway.

You could almost say the same thing about the old media she represents.

This is my wish for the new year — a Singapore in good hands, a Singapore where cover singers can hit the high notes in a Clean Bandit song.

Happy New Year and Happy ZT50 to Her Royal Highness!

- Published in The New Paper, 8 January 2018