Wednesday 31 March 2021

Durian flavour? Chendol? Indomie? Condoms with local flavours are suddenly a thing

First, it was Durex.

April Fool's joke? Probably, since Durex said the new condoms will be "launching in just 7 days" from 25 March, which is 1 April.

But then another condom brand, Fiesta, which I've never heard of, also got into the act with another popular local flavour.

Yes, Indomie condoms.

For when you want it quick.

Why stop there?

What about mala condoms? Salted egg yolk condoms? Nasi lemak condoms? Chilli crab condoms?

I guess we can skip the dinner part of a date now since you can make a meal out of the prophylactic now.

Apparently, durian condoms were actually a thing in Malaysia a few years ago.

Monday 22 March 2021

I feel like a fool for believing Joey Mendoza didn't copy Count On Me, Singapore

Dear Mr Joey Mendoza,

The Internet, right?

Here you are, living your life and making YouTube videos of your jaunty performances of Row Your Boat and other ditties, and out of the blue, some foreign government asks you to “substantiate” your claim that you wrote some song in 1983.

We are aware that a song titled “We Can Achieve” that bears striking similarity in tune and lyrics to our national song...

Posted by Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth - MCCY on Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Who can substantiate anything they did almost 40 years ago?

The only thing I did then that I can substantiate is that I passed my O-level Chinese even though nobody can believe I did.

Fortunately, my O-level cert has not been destroyed in a flood, I mean, ponding.

Unlike all your evidence, which was supposedly lost in the 2005 Mumbai floods.

So you caved.

Mr Joey Mendoza had earlier claimed that he wrote “We Can Achieve”, a song that is practically identical to “Count on...

Posted by Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth - MCCY on Saturday, March 20, 2021

What happened to the living proof that is the 250 orphans you taught the song to in 1983? Floods again?

I believed you.

I thought maybe it really was a coincidence that in 1986, some ad agency paid to write a song by the Singapore Government more than 3,000km away came up with almost exactly the same melody and lyrics as your song, We Can Achieve.

You know what they say, a monkey hitting random keys on a typewriter for an infinite amount of time will eventually bang out the complete works of Shakespeare and, apparently, also the words to Count On Me, Singapore.

I didn’t agree with my fellow Singaporeans who accused you of copying one of our beloved national songs composed by a Canadian working for an American company.

It’s like accusing Weird Al Yankovic of copying Michael Jackson.

All you needed were a funny moustache and a Hawaiian shirt, and people would have just thought you were doing a parody. You know, since you already have Weird Al’s hair.

As evidence of your plagiarism, it was highlighted that in the chorus of We Can Achieve, the line “Count on me, India” does not rhyme with “Count on me to give my best and more” whereas “Count on me, Singapore” does.

What nonsense.

I would point out that in the verse of both versions, “We’re going to build a better life for you and me” does not rhyme exactly with “We can achieve, we can achieve” either.

So the lack of rhyme is hardly proof of song theft.

Also, if you are going to steal one of our National Day songs, couldn’t you have stolen a better one, like the ever popular Home written by Dick Lee?

It’s like robbing an Apple store and taking an actual apple.

Or if you were more cunning, you could have cribbed from a National Day song that Singaporeans don’t remember, such as, um… I can’t remember any. But trust me, there are so many.

Let’s just say any National Day song that is not Home and does not have “Singapore” in the title.

Then people might not have noticed your plagiarism.

But Count On Me, Singapore is way too obvious.

I feel like such a fool now for believing you. You are not my sunshine.

Ironically, thanks to your version and the controversy it created, the status of the song has been elevated somewhat, at least, in my mind.

I have always thought that it’s a lame nationalistic jingle forced down Singaporeans’ throats by our Government, but now that I have learnt that people in your country are singing it too (albeit as a children’s song), maybe it’s not so wretched after all.

It's like someone tryinng to steal your ugly girlfriend and suddenly she's the most beautiful woman in the world.

As our Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth said, imitation is the best form of flattery.

That’s what you’ve achieved with We Can Achieve.

So at least something positive came out of your copyright infringement.

Hey, did you write Row Your Boat too?

- Published in The New Paper, 22 March 2021

Dear Mr Ong

I like the way you hammered J Mendoza in today's thenewpaper. Hope he get to read it.

It would have been forgivable, if he defended his action as doing a cover version, rather than claiming to be the originator. This is worse than the similarity between George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" and The Chiffons' "He's So Fine".

Lucky he did not touch our Majulah Singapore or else the composer's spirit would have haunted him.

This episode shows this little red dot cannot be bullied easily. But we are also forgivable, if one is willing to admit and apologise for wrongdoing towards us. Kudo to our MCCY for not pursuing the matter further thus maintaining the good relationship we have with India. It is moment like this that make me proud to be a true blue Singaporean.

With warmest regards

Monday 8 March 2021

Disney+ or Netflix? If I could pick only one...

Remember the circuit breaker last year? Seems like a lifetime ago now.

Not being essential, I was mostly stuck at home.

We could not eat out. All the cinemas were closed.

Like many, I turned to Netflix for entertainment.

I binged all the well-known shows such as The Crown and Stranger Things. I tried but could not sit through Tiger King.

Soon, I was running out of shows to watch.

Out of desperation and curiosity, I clicked on a banner link of this Spanish series I had never heard of, starring people I had never heard of.

The show was called Money Heist and was about a gang of misfits taking hostages in the Royal Mint of Spain.

I was hooked, which I did not expect.

But if it were not for the pandemic, I would have probably never watched a show like that.

The circuit breaker is now over but not the pandemic. And Netflix is no longer the only streaming giant in town.

At long last, after more than 15 months since its official launch in the US, Canada and the Netherlands, Disney+ is finally available in Singapore.

A bit late, considering the second season of The Baby Yoda Show (also known as The Mandalorian) ended in December.

But just in time for The Series Finale episode Of WandaVision, released last Friday.

As per almost all Marvel Studios productions, stay for the mid and post-credits scene. Spoiler alert: Dr Strange does not materialise.

But apart from the Star Wars and Marvel stuff, Disney+ also offers content from Pixar, National Geographic, Star and, well, Disney.

All this for just $11.98 a month or $119.98 a year.

That is unless you want to watch the new Disney animated extravaganza, Raya And The Last Dragon.

Then it is an additional one-time charge of $38.98.

That is a lot, especially considering that despite the title, the movie has nothing to do with Hari Raya.

You might as well pay to watch it in the cinema, which is the point, I guess.

Or wait three months to stream it on Disney+ without extra charge.

But should you get Disney+ in the first place?

How else are you going to watch Marvel’s next big series, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, which starts streaming in less than two weeks?

You know the No.1 song around the world right now, Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo?

The theory is that it’s about a guy she co-starred with in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, but I won’t say who.

How can you watch High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, you may ask.

On Disney+, of course.

If only we had Disney+ last year during the circuit breaker, I would not have had to depend so much on Netflix to keep myself entertained and sane.

But if I can have only one, which would I pick?

Gun to my head... Netflix.

Because despite Disney+’s massive library that includes the five biggest box-office hits ever, it feels rather hermetic and homogeneous due to the overarching American-ness of it all.

Even Raya And The Last Dragon is an action-packed mocktail of non-specific South-east Asian exotica watered down for Western palates.

Disney+ lacks the diversity and internationality of Netflix, where you can find Bridgerton, Japanese anime, K-dramas and, yes, a series about a money heist at a Spanish mint.

Sorry, Baby Yoda.

I am unlikely to experience the unique joy of discovering and falling in love with a new show I had never heard of on Disney+.

PlusI don't think anyone will evr say: “Disney+ and chill.”

Oh yah, Netflix also has Phua Chu Kang.

- Published in The New Paper, 8 March 2021