Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gone Ambition

Today on sunday, Sunday July 3, 2011, Page 12, Column, SpeakEasy
Source Website:
By Phin Wong, features editor,, 04:45 AM Jul 03, 2011

PHOTO: When did we swap big dreams for quick naps?
Art by Yen Yok, Copyright © MediaCorp Press Ltd
Today on sunday, Sunday July 3, 2011, Page 12, Column, SpeakEasy

I first attended the Academy Awards when I was nine years old. It was terribly exciting.

The Last Emperor was named Best Picture, Michael Douglas won for Wall Street, Sean Connery finally got himself an Oscar for The Untouchables and my sister's Barbie doll beat Holly Hunter, Cher, Glenn Close and Meryl Streep to win Best Actress.

Man, that was a good year for film.

That Barbie doll also won Oscars for Best Supporting Actress (for a small but pivotal role in another film - she totally did not expect that honour and sobbed through her acceptance speech to rapturous applause), Best Original Screenplay (she has so many talents), Best Make-up (she did her own), Best Art Direction (the original guy dropped out due to contract negotiations and she said: "Well, I did find that great couch for my apartment ...") and Best Director (you should have seen Bertolucci's face).

PHOTO: Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour, Russian Red accompanied all the over-the-top costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier
Posted on Tue, 01/22/2008 by Karen

It was a clean sweep for Barbie. Well, almost - she lost out on Best Original Song (I really liked that song from Dirty Dancing).

She even wore her own dress to the ceremony, fashioned out of tissue paper, scotch tape and a stapler. "Who are you wearing?" reporters on the red carpet would shout.

PHOTO: Naked ambition, a young couple called Karla and Stuart have come up with the riskiest pursuit., Site staff, Friday 23 February 2007 08:54 PM GMT

"Oh, just lil' ol' me!" she would bashfully reply.

"Give her an Oscar for being fabulous!" the crowds would demand.

"Who the hell is that?" Cher would sneer.

"Move your hair, lady! You're blocking the view!" the paps would yell.

Then my sister would come home from school and find Barbie floating face down in the sink (don't do drugs, kids).

"Play with your own stupid toys!" she'd shriek. Which was just ridiculous - Autobots can't act. And He-Man obviously wasn't dressed for the Oscars.

(The next day, my sister found Barbie tragically hanging from the curtains - she had become horribly depressed after her agent left her for Jennifer Grey.)

I recently had a drink with an old friend I hadn't met up with in a while. I've known her since I joined the choir back in school to kick-start my pop-icon career - which worked out wonderfully until my voice broke, sending shards of sharp notes flying into an innocent crowd of unsuspecting passers-by. (I would have joined the English Literary, Drama and Debating Society in secondary school to begin my quest for an Oscar but didn't on account of my under-achieving school not having enough students who actually spoke English.)

"What do you want to do with your career?" she asked.

"Erm. Well ... I'd like to be able to continue to have one," I replied.

"That's it?"

"I guess I'd like a promotion."

"And ... ?"

"And ... get paid more. That would be nice."

"That's not terribly ambitious, is it?"

"Well, I'd like to be President but I don't have the batik shirts for it."

I had felt the judging coming from across the table and activated my deflector shield. But she was right - I wasn't being very ambitious any more. Nine-year-old me would have been very disappointed that Barbie had died repeatedly in vain.

PHOTO: The eight-stage Gore-Tex Transalpine-Run; some of the remarkable scenery available in the mountains traveled, captured in the Italian Alps.

The best thing about being a kid is the future ahead of you. You think to yourself, "Oh, Baby, the places you'll go" - and then quickly learn not to refer to yourself in third person as "Baby" in public. Possibilities were endless. I was going to be so many things when I grew up: Actor, film-maker, recording artiste, budding serial killer. And it didn't matter that my only discernible talent was the ability to irritate my sister. The future was mine and I was going to make my dreams come true.

These days, here in the future, I'm happy to have any dream at all - because that would mean I'm actually getting some sleep.

PHOTO: Starting to Drive Again
Posted on April 4, 2011, by Tia's gravatar

When does a person stop dreaming big? Is there an actual age we hit that requires us to abandon hope and settle for what we have? Of course dreams and expectations are adjusted and replaced as we get older - it wouldn't be terribly adult of me to stick to my initial plans for superstardom seeing as I've now accepted my glaring lack of actual talent. But where's the joy and wonder in having nothing planned but the day-to-day?

I turn another year older this month and I guess I know what I'll be wishing for when I blow out the candles: The spunk I had when I was nine. (That and a reminder never to use the word "spunk" when talking about nine-year-olds.)

Hey, a guy can dream, can't he? Even without his sister's tissue-paper-clad Barbie doll.

By Phin Wong, features editor,, 04:45 AM Jul 03, 2011

PHOTO: Traverse snow fields
Posted on January 12, 2011 · 9:58 am, By Clark Fair