Idol-logical War by Jaime Eee
Business Times (26th Nov 2004)
For those whose fascination with singapore Idol ended with the unveiling of the Banana Man....where have you been? You have no idea what has happened since - civil war is now brewing in the depths of Singapore society. So much so that between now and Dec 1, there are only two kinds of Singaporeans - those who vote for Sylvester, and those who vote for Taufik.
For these two, what's at stake is simple; a shot at the big as the very first Sinagpore Idol. But some things are more important than who gets to work with Hype Records head and Idol judge Ken Lim at he end of the day. There are serious socio-political implications, like: the demise of the one-man-one-vote system as we know it; and, perhaps more importantly: are we being outnumbered by Ah Bengs and Ah Lians?
That might be the real question. In one corner stands the poster boy of Bengs Unlimited, Sylvester Sim - effortlessly carrying the weight of his brethren in his starched Jay Chou fringe even as he mangles English lyrics with his otherwise soulful vocals.
In the other corner is Taufik Batisah, his weepy kohl-lined eyes belying his hefty lungs and confident enunciation - favoured by those who value true talent over extreme makeover. Those whom the sylvester camp might dismiss derisively as the English educated - ie, those who don't want their bad boy rocker to represent Singapore at World Idol.
And there you have it. Singapore Idol not as a talent competition but an idiological war between the Bengs and the, well, Beng-nots. For the moment, the Bengs (or rather the Lians) seem to have the edge, thanks to their genetically faster SMS-ing abilities and their weakness for lyrics like " I love you with every beeet of my heart".
So for the next few days, you can imagine how the battle lines will be drawn - in a carefully controlled experiment, we put a Beng and a Beng-not in a room together and this is what we got:
Beng: "Syl rawks, man!"
Beng-not: "You mean 'Sly', as in Sly Stallone?"
Beng: "You English teacher or what?"
Beng-not: "No, Imean if you want to have a Christian name, at least pronounce the nickname properly."
Beng: I think if I whack you, you can't pronounce anybody's name properly. Syl is the best, ok?"
Beng-not: "You know very well Taufik is he better singer by far."
Beng: "Not far, what. Stadium in Singapore, not Johor, you stupid or what?"
Beng-not: "I mean....never mind. You're taking this bad-boy thing a bit too seriously."
Beng: "At least we take action, not like you English-educated. See how fast we SMS? Like that, our boy will win, but you all want to write columns, say that fella got more talent, but Syl only got supoort from ah Beng and Ah Lian. But yet you all think by saying that, you boy will win. We don't have to say anything - we just vote. No need to talk. Just action will do."
Beng-not: So you don't believe in supporting true talent?"
Beng: "Who say Syl no talent? He can sing, his hair can stay still while he sing, that's talent, you know."
Beng-not: "You're an idiot."
Beng: You're a snob. And your hair is ugly. And you talk more than you SMS."
Needless to say, at press time, this conversation turned into full-scale fisticuffs. For the rest of us, if we want to end this civil war, there's only one thing to do. Get out your mobile phones and vote.
So there you have it. War has begun.