Monday 2 November 2020

I blame 2020 for Robinsons and Sean Connery

A 74-year-old Robinsons sales associate at the Raffles City outlet said: “I’m very sad… When I see the empty counters...

Posted by TODAY on Friday, October 30, 2020

Dear 2020,

You nasty.

And there are still two more months to go.

If only we can cancel you like the Raffles Hall Association cancelled the authors of the PAP Vs PAP book.

We should’ve agreed to a safe word before the year started, like “circuit breaker” or “wap”.

Is it too late to cry Uncle Roger?

Never mind SafeEntry. We need a SafeExit and quick.

It’s not enough that more than a million have died from the pandemic this year and Manchester United introduced its ugliest kit ever, you just killed off two beloved decades-old institutions within days of each other – Robinsons and Sean Connery.

The former announced on Friday that it was closing shop after 162 years in Singapore.

Already queueing for the TraceTogether tokens, Singaporeans are now also lining up to get into Robinsons before the doors are shut for good.

Where do I get my extra firm bamboo charcoal memory foam pillow after that?

I mean, besides Tangs, Metro, OG, Isetan, Takashimaya, BHG, Courts, Harvey Norman and the Internet.

I almost feel guilty for partially causing the closure of Robinsons by cancelling my OCBC-Robinsons Group credit card in March.

I already have too many cards in the wallet in my back pocket, which ruins the smooth curve of my perfectly shaped buttock.

And I realised that lately, I used the Robinsons card only to get a member’s rebate when paying for my all-butter Viennese milk chocolate-dipped finger biscuits at Marks & Spencer.

But no, it’s not really my fault that Robinsons is joining John Little and Oriental Emporium in the great megamall in the sky.

I blame you, 2020.

Don’t you see a pattern here?

Eddie Van Halen, Helen Reddy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chadwick Boseman, Olivia de Havilland, Regis Philbin, Charlie Daniels, Carl Reiner, Ian Holm, Vera Lynn, Little Richard, Irrfan Khan, Bill Withers, Kenny Rogers, Max Von Sydow, Kirk Douglas, Kobe Bryant and Toots of Toots and the Maytals – you took Toots!

Do you have a bucket list of famous names you want to end before you end?

And as if knocking off two iconic Bond girls – Diana Rigg and Pussy Galore, I mean Honor Blackman – isn’t sufficient villainy, you did what Dr No, Goldfinger and Blofeld couldn’t. You got to the man himself.

Connery was 90 years old.

I remember back in the mid-70s, my father once told me he was taking me to see James Bond. I thought we were going to see Roger Moore as he was the only Bond I knew then.

But the movie my father took me to see was this bizarre post-apocalyptic psychedelic fantasy with near-naked women and a giant flying angry stone head.

Traumatisingly unsuitable for children, the movie had an existential ending that haunted me for many nights to come.

Needless to say, it was nothing like James Bond at all with no Roger Moore in sight.

Why did my father lie to me?

It was only decades later, after he died, that I found out that the movie of my childhood nightmares was called Zardoz.

And the reason my father said he was taking me to see James Bond was that the movie starred Sean Connery.

At the time, I didn't know who Connery was, much less knew he was the original Bond. Eight-year-olds are dumb. I also didn’t know how to pronounce “Sean”.

My plan was to share this poignant anecdote with the Oscar-winning Scottish star if I should ever meet him – and also rag him about the red diapers he wore in Zardoz.

But that possibility is no more, thanks to you. Even 007 was no match for 2020.

Contrary to the title of the much delayed new Daniel Craig-starring Bond sequel, this year has been the time to die for too many.

My only quantum of solace is that I still have my all-butter Viennese milk chocolate-dipped finger biscuits. They’re for my mouth only.

Oh, and stay away from Sheena Easton.

- Published in The New Paper, 2 November 2020