It’s funny how sometimes people you’ve never met can have such a huge impact on your life. My brother Jack, for instance, went through a heavy metal phase in his teens on account of his obsession with Black Sabbath and KISS.
For years, my mother shuddered whenever she thought of how close she had came to losing her son to a band whose greatest hits included such memorable titles as ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Children of the Grave’. And then, when she finally watched Ozzie Osbourne in the reality show “Meet the Osbournes” doddering about his house in his bi-focals trying to keep his family of screaming wife and bratty children in line, she was completely disarmed.
“He’s such a lovely man!” she told her astonished mahjong kaki. “I don’t know why I was ever worried about his influence on Jack!”
“He bit the head off a live chicken!” her sister, Wai-ling, pointed out.
“It was a dove!” Mother said in a tone that indicated that this made all the difference.
Meanwhile, Jack, whose musical tastes graduated from Black Sabbath to Tracy Chapman without the slightest sense of irony, doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. “I liked their vibe,” he says. “And anyway, anyone with half a brain could see that Ozzie was completely harmless. Even when he was completely coked up and booze was seeping out of his pores,” he adds amiably.
My flatmate Amanda, on the other hand, is a card-carrying member of the Singapore Chapter of the “We Love Angelina Jolie” fan club. The fact that the club comprises entirely of her and honorary member, Sharyn, doesn’t faze her one bit.
“She’s my hero and my earth mother,” Amanda will tell anyone who cares to listen. “If it was legally possible, she’d be my religion!”, a comment that led Saffy to write yet another stinging letter to Harvard demanding that they immediately withdraw their law degree from Amanda.
“How could anyone not worship that woman?” Amanda would wonder to the world at large. “She rescues African children and fights for world peace! She deserves the Nobel Peace Prize!”
Saffy’s formidable chest will inflate. “She deserves to be in jail! She stole Brad Pitt from Jennifer Aniston!”
“It takes two hands to clap,” Amanda will reply cryptically.
At this point, Saffy will go bug-eyed. “What the hell does that even mean?”
Of course, all this became moot when news broke that Angelina had had a double mastectomy. In the world according to Amanda, this event has elevated Angelina to the status of sainthood.
Even Saffy had to pause in her ongoing vendetta against a Hollywood actress she’s never met, on behalf of another Hollywood actress she’s never met either.
“Really? She had both cut off?”
Amanda’s eyes were shining. “Isn’t she just amazing? So brave!”
By the look of doubt now etched on Saffy’s face, you could tell that she was conflicted by her lust for vengeance and her unexpected admiration and newfound respect. She’d not felt this way since she suddenly found herself rooting for JR Ewing in the new ‘Dallas’.
Leave it to Sharyn to put things into perspective.
“Aiyoh, I tell you, ah, I doh-no why some people, hor, must go and tell their personal life to the whole world! Your personal life is your personal life, right? You share share share until no more privacy! Seow, ah, I tell you!” Sharyn paused to draw breath and plunged back in.
“You break up with your boyfriend, break up, lah! Why must go and conduct interview with 8DAY? And then, hor, two second later, got new boyfriend, and lagi go call up 8DAY for another interview and this time say how much you love your new boyfriend and this time con-firm is the one! Last time you or-redi confirm is the one, what! Aiyoh, I just cannot stand these people!”
Saffy turned to Amanda and whispered out of the side of her mouth, “Do you have any idea who she’s talking about?”
Amanda, who only ever reads 8DAYS for the Hollywood gossip, hazarded a guess. “Gurmit Singh?”
Saffy was astonished. “Gurmit Singh is gay?”
Amanda coughed. “Wait, Gurmit Singh is a man? Oh, I had no idea, I was just picking random names.”
“I can’t believe you don’t know who Gurmit Singh is!”
“You know I don’t watch local TV!”
Sharyn suddenly noticed that no one was paying her any attention. “Ay, what are you two talking about?”
Later, Amanda said that Sharyn’s unique brand of tough love could be a little hard to take.
“God, imagine if she had a talk show.”
“There’d be no one on it!” Amanda predicted. “Not even Angelina Jolie!”