December 13, 2009

The world has gotten so caught up in the quagmire that is Tiger Woods’ transgressions that it seems to have lost plain sight of the more important matters at stake. Nothing like tabloid fodder to unleash some good old Schadenfreude amidst water-cooler conversations, come what may.

A crashed car, a wrecked fire hydrant, and an incensed wife later, more and more sordid allegations keep pouring out, each revelation serving as a catalyst for more women to come out of their closets in this explosive reaction. Or so they say, birds of the same kind flock together, and each precedent serves as motivation for the next revelation. Of course, the concomitant interest served by the mass media has a role to play in this as well.

And unsurprisingly, many people are crying afoul, feeling as cheated as his wife and his many mistresses of the blind faith they had placed in the Lothario. What of the ideal role model character that the world has gotten accustomed to? Was that a sheer, immaculately constructed façade to rake in the advertising dollars, to cash in upon his stature as the bona fide best golfer in the world?

Such naïveness. It amazes me how people are so quick to forget that celebrities are adept public relations practitioners of their own, and they yield full control over themselves and how they wish to present themselves to the media. It amazes me even more that people are so quick to seek attachment, and psychological cognizance towards people they do not even know. I am not saying it is entirely wrong to idolize, as long as it’s healthy. But when it comes to blind acceptance and idolization – it astonishes me how some matured adults remain prone to this death trap.

While it’s selfish in most cases to mind your own business given the greater good of the world, this is an instance where I feel that, perhaps, the line has been crossed in the insatiable pursuit for juicy information. Do you even personally know the guy at all? Why are judgments so quick to be passed? What if it was your friend or relative who was guilty of such transgressions? Will you be as nasty and unwilling to forgive?

But that is not to say that what Woods did was ‘correct’. Comme çi comme ça. The excuse some are trying to give, of Woods being just another human being and hence is as susceptible to such disgraceful behavior as another layman seems to be a rather pathetic attempt to resolve cognitive dissonance after the initial shocker.

I’m not sure what the ideals in a Western society are, and call me traditionalist if you like, but to cheat on one’s wife with one other woman is pretty incorrect in the first place. To cheat on one’s wife with 11 other women is a bottomless chasm of immorality, whether you are ‘just human’ or not.

After the public backlash ad nauseum against the debaucheries of  Eliot Spitzer, David Letterman, Edison Chen and even Bill Clinton, you’d expect people to realize that many celebrities are not as infallible as the media portray them to be. But nope, the reverberations just get bigger with every single scandal that erupts.

Yet what is the bigger picture? It is a problem which the Woods household have to resolve themselves, under the intense scrutiny of the media, and whether with a positive or negative conclusion. Armchair public opinion, to say the least, will only matter as much as the endorsement dollars and blind idolization.

Singapore Youth Olympic Games Bid

 “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has the honour of announcing that the first Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2010 are awarded to the city of Singapore,” announced Mr Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, a few minutes past 7pm on Thursday. The announcement practically sent the entire nation into euphoria and disbelief as it marks a new dawn for Singapore sport as the nation beat Moscow 53-44 in the tight race to host the games.

This is not the end, but the beginning towards gearing the nation up strongly towards the organisation of a memorable inaugural Youth Games. This includes the construction and refurnishing of several complexes and arenas, so as to provide state-of-the-art facilities and five-star accommodation for the thousands of participants arriving in Singapore for the Games in 2010. And of course, gearing our young blood into preparation overdrive as the country targets some medals to put itself on the Olympic world map (for the first time since Tan Howe Liang took home a silver medal for bodybuilding in 1960, should the nation fail in its bid to win medals this year).

It is indeed heartening to see many of the locals (or at least, those who have been interviewed by the newspapers) stepping up and be willing to volunteer themselves to the cause when the Games fall on Singapore in 2010. Hopefully the excitement will not die down as the nation needs to maintain this momentum on its journey to hold a successful Games.


While the entire nation is basking in glory over this unprecedented achievement in the sporting arena, I believe many would expect the above news to be splashed on the front pages of all local newspapers around the island on Friday.

But no, mypaper bucked this trend by featuring Edison Chen on the front page of the free tabloid. Which makes me wonder how the paper prioritises the issues – does the editor seriously feel that front-page Edison Chen news will garner more readership than the winning of the bid to host the Youth Olympic Games? (If that is the reason, I find it quite stupid as the paper is a free tabloid after all. I will find it surprising if the papers do not  get distributed till they run out everyday) Or is it more of a matter of attention-grabbing?

My personal disapproval towards that isolated incident aside, my impression of the tabloid has dipped tremendously since its rather impressive beginning when the English and Mandarin segments of the paper were merged to form a bilingual paper. While the paper prides itself for being a good avenue for readers to learn English or Mandarin, through their vocabulary segments, with the numerous atrocious grammar errors (and a few typos here and there) throughout the paper, the readers stand to lose out in their grammar in the midst of benefiting from their vocabulary. Interesting trade-off, isn’t it?

Aside from that, the article “Motorists complacent, so rise in Cashcard thefts” on Monday (Page A4) is preposterously written. Reading the article, you’d think that the article is entirely about CashCard thefts right? Apparently not, as the focus of the story meanders towards the amount of money most motorists deposit into their CashCards today, given the increasing spate of thefts, and for non-motorists, the amount of money communites deposit into their EZ-Link cards.

And, with the spate of the Edison Chen debacle going downhill, you wouldn’t rely on precisely this tabloid to stir things up again with a front-page cover of the issue. New (and somewhat surprising) revelations this time arose from local blogger Dawn Yang, who suddenly came front with her encounters with Edison and how he had tried to lure her into some kinky business when they were introduced in the past by mutual friends. Wow, what good timing of matters isn’t it.

Edison Chen

 “Speaking of timing, Edison has been accosted for returning to Hong Kong and addressing the media in the shadows of credited household performer Lydia Sum’s unfortunate demise after her battle with organ failure and other illnesses. (Apparently the Hong Kong tabloids are not that focused on Edison, after all – at least they’re willing to shift their attention to more pressing matters) Though I feel that either way, he gets the short end of the schtick – he comes back early, he gets blasted. He comes back late to let the tide cool off, he meets with the unfortunate passing of Lydia Sum, and he gets blasted.

Which brings the act to the climactic showdown – the press conference. Edison announced that he will be “leaving Hong Kong showbusiness indefinitely”. And there are speculations abounding regarding the usage of those words, which seriously, sound forcefully planned. Many feel that it is all a clever ploy on the part of his ego to evoke some sympathy against his plight and to emerge the unfortunate victim. (After all, Gilian, Cecilia and Bobo have already taken most of the rap for him while he went into hiding; it’s just the way the society currently functions lah. When females consent to sex, they’re at fault. When they consent to being photographed having sex, they’re at fault for their naivety. Little wonder that in an online survey of more than 5000 voters, 62% of the pollers have forgiven the actor but bad blood still run against the female stars)

Leaving “Hong Kong showbusiness” indefinitely just means that he’ll be able to expand his pastures into the wider market of Hollywood, where he has made forays into Tinseltown in The Grudge 2 in 2006, as well as a villain in a supporting cameo in the upcoming The Dark Knight. He allegedly found time to go for auditions, and to clinch a role, in another upcoming Christopher Nolan movie while in hiding. Doesn’t sound as if his career is suffering to me.

What’s my entire take on this? Just let the entire thing blow over and let the stars get on with their lives already! While this has taken the entertainment scene by storm, but that’s just it, entertainment.