Monday 16 August 2021

Strong arm of the law minister: Shanmugam does some heavy lifting

Last week, we were finally allowed back in the gym for no-mask high-intensity workouts with the easing of Covid-19 measures.

And probably none too soon for Singapore’s overnight gym bro sensation, Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam.

While the rest of us were stuffing our faces with the Hainanese Chicken Burger on Saturday, our new Minister of Swole posted on social media an 84-second video of him in a gym, deadlifting progressively heavier weights to applause.

He wrote:
“For slightly more than a year now, I have added weight training to my exercise routine.

“After some months of training, (with Covid interruptions), I did a test to see what weight I can carry.

“Here is a video, it starts with my attempt at 80kg, and then increased weights, going up to 105kg – my body weight is 70kg, so 105 kg is 150% of my body weight. (This was when gym training, with masks off, was allowed for a period, last year.)”
Too bad he did not also tell us his height so we can calculate his body mass index.

Trying not to appear like he was just showing off his gains, the 62-year-old also threw in this health advisory:
“We have to encourage more people to exercise – walk, go to the gym, swim, do something to move.

“And add weight training, for strengthening bones, other benefits. For older persons, it helps reduce muscle loss. Good to have a varied routine.”
Way to lead by example, Mr Shanzenegger.

But he was not done. He was not going to stop at just 150 per cent of his body weight. He continued:
“In the next few months, I am going to try and lift 120kg.”
Then it was his turn to get advice from a Facebook user named Ben Ho, a former strongman competitor, who commented: “You can hit 120kg faster if you wear proper shoes for deadlifting. Normal sneakers like those, with their squishy soles and relatively high heels are the worst for these exercises.”

Yeah, those chunky dad shoes ain’t gonna cut it although they do match the People’s Action Party Men-In-White tee-and-shorts ensemble.

The post ends with a sneaky humblebrag:
“Reality check: the lady you see in the gym, in background in the video weighs less than 50kg and lifts 120kg!”
Which would seem like he was being modest by comparing himself unfavourably to the buff babe standing nearby – except that she was staring admiringly at him like he was Asian Thor.

The video has since been viewed more than 250,000 times across Facebook and Instagram. It’s no Jia Jia popping one out video, but still.

The MP for Nee Soon GRC may not be a panda, but you should see him in beast mode.

So what if we didn’t bring home any Olympic medals this time? We have an Olympian god in our Cabinet.

Or is it Norse god? He was certainly bringing the thunder in the video.

Will he make it to 120kg?

A Crispy Hainanese Chicken Burger might help.

- Published in The New Paper, 16 August 2021