The Ayatollah Of Joo Chiat

Many of my friends have been asking how Alec’s job-seeking has been going. I am pleased to announce that on Sunday, he was given his first job in Singapore. It was in a KTV¹ lounge in Joo Chiat².

A friend of a friend needed a Caucasian for a TV commercial she was shooting (it’s only for a competition, not for normal TV), and since Joo Chiat is right up our alley, he agreed to help out.

The ad was for an expat magazine, and it focused on helping expats fit into Singapore culture. Alec’s role was to walk down the corridor, enter the KTV room and greet his Singaporean friends enthusiastically, after which they would all sing a Hokkien song with great gusto. During rehearsals, initial ideas of teaching Alec the whole song were hastily reassessed in favour of teaching Alec one line. But he took this line very seriously. Neither of us know what it meant, but by God he brought tears to my eyes.

He got paid a small token, but I’m pretty sure the neighbourhood hookers enjoy a more attractive remuneration package. This means I need to work on pimping him out a bit better, especially since he finally got his employment eligibility visa on Monday. After collecting it, he checked to see that everything was in order. It was, mostly, except for the bit where his nationality was “Iranian”. The mistake’s fixed now, but I’m still calling him Ayatollah for the rest of this week.

¹ May have once been used in an attempt to make karaoke look hip and trendy, but is now just a synonym for karaoke.
² A neighbourhood near where I live, with a burgeoning sex industry.


  1. Can someone tell me where the action is in Joo Chiat? I saw none of it while I was there! Only old men with pale, young Shanghai chicks hanging around at the hotel lobby. Maybe I don’t look enough like a cash-strapped, middle-aged man. Maybe superstar-actor Alec can teach me.

  2. Benny: Most of it is gone, apparently, after the whole “Save Joo Chiat” drive by concerned residents. There’s reportedly alot less streetwalking and soliciting now. I guess you could still wander into Blue Lagoon or Lip Disco or any of the $29 massage places or $99 all-nighter KTV places if you want to see how the action unfolds.

  3. Hi Michelle,

    I’m not completely surprised that Alec has entered the Acting fold again.

    As I recall, it was at the end of the last century and when pre-mellennial unease was sweeping through Paris, that he was quite popular among the more respectable elements of the theatrical elite of the French capital.

    At that time, had he consented to a performance in any of their larger venues, it would surely have thrust him into the bosom of the populist media.

    I’m quite sure i can find one the dozens of fanzines that were published in praise of his avont garde stylings, if i put my mind to it.(most of which were closed ignominiously following the intervention of a certain German politician who shall remain nameless)

    and as i remember, Alec was big in Japan.

  4. I bet the visa people took one look at Alec’s photo and thought “Irish? Must be some mistake. Iranian more like”. I presume he still has his beard.

  5. Sadly, Alec is far less beardy these days than I would like him to be, Suzy, and his passport photo isn’t that amazing Algerian terrorist one which graced the hall yearbook. He insists on shaving himself clean every time he goes out delivering his job applications, because he thinks city people don’t trust beardy people.

    And yes, Tessa, Alec once had a beard. Not an indie goatee, not designer stubble, but an all-out natural man-burqa, capable of concealing small thermonuclear devices within its bushiness. As Brian mentioned, Alec was indeed big in Japan. But his beard was bigger.

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