a spot of singapore, how i pretend to be a cool mum, i embarrass myself sometimes, stuff best described as not safe for parents

My lunch date with Dr Tony Tan

Last week was a bit of a whirlwind. There was the SG Blog Awards on Saturday and the day before that, I was invited to attend a lunch with Dr Tony Tan. And I’m not referring to my general practitioner who happens to share the same name as The Dr Tony Tan.

Apparently, I was there because I wrote this piece on the General Elections that went viral and almost 5,000 people liked it on Facebook. They said that according to several sources, I was some sort of a trailblazer in the online world in Singapore. So not making that up.

From the invite, the purpose of the lunch was to discuss how digital channels are transforming discourse and opinions locally and internationally. I had to read it many times because I have no idea what many of those words meant and the only transforming I’m good at has to do with Optimus Prime and his gang of Autobots. But then I couldn’t pass up a chance to get up close with The Dr Tony Tan, so I turned to my good friends, Google and Wikipedia for help.

I figured there’d be lots of important people there and I could sneak in behind to blend in with the wallpaper but when I reached, I was brought to a room with a round table and 12 chairs. 12 chairs. Plus, there wasn’t even wallpaper for me to do the blending with. Or there was, but I couldn’t be sure because I had a mild panic attack and things got a little fuzzy by then. It was a good thing I arrived 15 minutes early so I had plenty of time to sneak off to the bathroom to throw up a little.

And then people started arriving. People who were like the biggest shots in the digital media scene, all of whom I stalk on a regular basis. People like Alvin Lim, Ravi Philemon, Pat Law, Mr Miyagi, Cherian George, Alex Au, Mr Brown and Kien M Lee.

They all looked like they came from very important meetings so I tried my best not to look like I came from a very important diaper change. Next to the table with 12 seats was an important chart with names and designated seats, which meant that I couldn’t skulk away and pick the least conspicuous seat. Not that there is such a thing as an inconspicuous seat at a round table anyway.

During the lunch, I wrote a mental journal in my head so I’m just going to post excerpts from said journal.

I’m supposed to choose between salmon carpaccio and goose liver. I’m not a fan of liver but I’ve always been taught not to order food I can’t pronounce. Is it kar-pa-chio or ker-pay-chio? What is carpaccio anyway? I’m going to be the dork that makes a wrong order. I’m just going to say salmon and hope for the best. Oh wait, Alex said kar-pa-chio. Guess I was 50% right.

Dr Tony Tan has arrived. I’m so close I can actually touch The Hair. Must. Resist. Temptation. Now’s not a good time to get myself incarcerated.

Oh, oh, oh, round table introduction time. Now’s the perfect time to start panicking.

Why are there so many forks and knives? I should casually stall for time and pretend to drink my water so I can observe what the others are using. I knew I should have paid more attention when I googled fine dining cutlery. All these tiny forks are so confusing.

Did Dr Tan just direct a question at me? I think that’s why all these people are looking at me. I generally don’t throw my hands up and shriek but I think this is one of those moments in life when one is allowed to. OK THINK, WOMAN, THINK.

Crisis averted. They are now looking at someone else.

I’m fairly certain I didn’t silence my phone. There is no discreet way to do this with my bag on the floor. Maybe if I step on it hard enough, it will disable the ring function.

Why is it that everyone else here is insanely smart? They are all taking turns to say things that I don’t understand. Now I’m torn between nodding thoughtfully or raising a questioning eyebrow. They may just see right through too much nodding. I’ll go with the eyebrow to mix things up a bit.

I really need to pee but nobody is moving. Hopefully this violent shaking of my legs will make it go away.

I actually came prepared with a question but it has to do with Dr Tony Tan’s hair and Mr Brown beat me to it.

I think I made it out from the lunch unscathed. As a reward, I totally managed to score a photo with Dr Tony Tan. Which I’m going to frame up and hang in my living room.

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  • Reply Tin July 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Oh no… I couldn’t stop laughing… you are making me laugh like mad woman. You are really funny! I love every bit of this post, especially the mental journal!

  • Reply Andrea July 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    OMG! Can I and Allan take a photo with you next time we meet? then we can say that we took a photo with someone took a photo with Dr Tony Tan and Alex Au (Allan’s a fan while I just try my best to look like I understand) :) Way to go girl! and CONGRATS on the Best Family Blog win!!!

  • Reply kirsten July 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    You definitely made a good choice with the carpaccio. NO LIVER NO.

    I used to get really intimidated when meeting people until I forced myself to evolve into an “I am a social activist I ain’t scared of nobody!” attitude. It doesn’t always work – in fact, it often doesn’t – but I like to pretend it does.

    But Ravi, Cherian, Alex and Alvin are all super-nice anyway! (I don’t know the others personally…)

  • Reply Pearlyn July 26, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Girl, you totally cracked me up with your ‘crisis’ !!! Still cant stop laughing…

  • Reply Jen July 26, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Keke..u made my day! ur mental description is soooo real…Can imagine ur nerves.
    Yeah..you should frame the photo of u n Mr Tony Tan and hang it in your living room..like the hall of fame!

  • Reply Lixia July 26, 2011 at 2:13 am

    I laughed so hard I almost rolled on the floor! Very real account, yet amazingly funny!

  • Reply Ally July 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    was feeling down before this but after reading your post, you chased my blues away =)

  • Reply Linette July 27, 2011 at 12:00 am

    This is such a hilarious post, yet a wonderful thing to meet the man himself, with 8 of the top bloggers in town, no less! And congrats on the best family blog win – woohoo, you would be one name to watch in the blogosphere! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE your mental journal during lunch! I think a lot like that during so-called important meetings when we all need to be self-important…but my mind would always stray to the most trivial of things!!! Lovely post :)

  • Reply edmund July 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Wow! Meeting Tony Tan must be the coolest thing ever…Congrats! And thanks for scoring a home run for the family bloggers :)

  • Reply Lawrence Ku August 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Lol I love your post. It is really witty. You should ask Dr Tony Tan for his autograph on that photo!

  • Reply Candice August 7, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Cousin, u should frame that pic only if TT gets elected president and Omg, u’ll have a picture with the president. How cool that’ll be. :)

  • Reply MamaLavie August 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    This is funny. :) You have brighten up my Monday. :D

  • Reply Looking back to look forward — MOTHER, INC. December 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    […] Blog Awards, made it to the finals for Nuffnang Asis Pacific Blog Awards and the 2011 Bloggies, had lunch with the President, launched a business just so I could call myself The Boss and the most awesome of all, sent the […]

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  • Reply Alvin October 27, 2014 at 12:11 am

    You were excited because you had lunch with a puppet president who is paid millions every year and appears more often in social pictures than tackling national issues?

    Ermmm….. ???

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