I guess what caught my eye about this story in the first place was the fact that it was a seemingly inconsequential kind of news about Singapore that was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Throughout my career, I have been taught (and also teach others) that news is only news when it is relevant to the local population that the paper is based in. News about the extramarital affairs of a Singaporean director in Singapore really seemed irrelevant to Sydneysiders who would probably be more interested to find out if say, Baz Luhrmann or Hugh Jackman had an affair, or if the Sydney Harbour Bridge is going to get airlifted into Brisbane and placed there as a permanent fixture.
But the story of a Singapore director who is virtually unknown in Australia? Even news of director based in Singapore who was born in Sydney was probably more relevant! However, it made the news, and so I decided to read on.
Turns out Mr “I am Singapore’s Tiger Woods” had been having affairs with young, nubile actresses/models by promising them juicy roles in his future films and a certain dose of fame and fortune. And that is what I find rather sad.
I suppose it’s a rather common occurrence. I mean, we even joke about it. That in order to be successful, one basically had to sleep their way to the top. But to know that it’s actually happening? I cannot understand it.
What drives people to be so desperate for stardom that a 20-year-old would even agree to sleep with someone at the virile age of 50 and nowhere near attractive? And to even believe that his assurance of fame are not simply empty promises?
Maybe I’m just a born cynic. I don’t trust people until they have proven without a doubt to me that they can be trusted. So what seems like a flimsy promise of “sleep with me and I’ll make you famous” just doesn’t add up to me. I might consider it if it were “I’ll make you famous first then you have to sleep with me,” but even then, I’d shudder if the person making the proposition were Mr Neo.
What is it that drives these people? Have they no other hope of making something of their lives accept to bargain moral activities with a married man? It isn’t so much that Mr Neo is older and unattractive. It is the fact that he is married and obviously making sleezy offers.
It would have to take someone rather desperate or naïve (let’s not forget his mistresses start from the ripe old age of 16) to take Mr Neo up on his offer.
And that is my point. Be it the desire of success or of becoming a celebrity, such need to be at the top (pardon the pun) that blinds people to making rather shady moral and ethical decisions is something that needs to be addressed. We are raised in a society that teaches us that we have to be the best in whatever we do, and we should stop at nothing to be the best, or otherwise we are worth nothing.
Is it really worth it?
I’d like to think not because at the end of the day, when you’re lying in bed in the dark, you still have yourself to live with.
Give me a happy, fulfilling life without the opulence of monetary success any day.