#20LeongYears Later

Twenty years ago, when I was just starting my uni studies in Sydney, Hossan wrote me an aerogramme to tell me he had taken the leap and joined The Necessary Stage full time as an admin. assistant and actor for the princely wage of $400 per month. He said he wasn’t sure if he was doing the right thing. I said he was, ‘cos that made him my first actor friend – I was so proud!

We used to write aerogrammes to each other and address each other like the geeks we used to be (and still are). (I’ll take the box of letters out of storage one day and post some pics here – He called himself “Hossan Battlestar Galactica Leong” and I was “Benjamin Buck Rogers Lee” in one letter.)

This week, we celebrate Hossan’s 20th anniversary in show business, and I wrote him an aerogramme:

Dearest Hossan,

I don’t remember if I replied to your that aerogramme or not, so here’s a reply anyway.

Time flies when you’re having fun, and I must have had so much fun in the last twenty years watching you work. It feels just like yesterday when you first started.

It’s been the greatest privilege getting to work with you for the last few years – I mean, how many of us get to work and collaborate with their best friends for so long?!

It makes me proud to know you and watch you reach greater heights with every stage of your working life. I remember you being so full of doubt about your own abilities and thinking how silly you were to think so little of yourself.

You, my friend, are so freakishly talented that you “spoil market” – and I know everyone would agree that it’s so easy to fashion a joke, a song or a dance routine for you to perform. Bugger, no one can un-see the amazing pole routine you did last year. One term comes to mind when describing your many, many talents. You are a “multi-storey complex”.

I know many people will join me in thanking you for staying in the business for so long, and for being Singapore’s favourite son. You have always been an inspiration to me, and more importantly, a friend who knows when to be “nongsern” and when to kick butt.

Congratulations. I love you very much, mate.

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