#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.

Double Confirm Your Dream Interior

My friend Hossan and I are doing something fun and interesting for Dream Interiors on 28 June at 7pm at 456 River Valley Road, Singapore 248342. Called Double Confirm Your Dream, it features Hossan doing a stand-up comedy set (except because there are chairs in a furniture shop, it’s more like a sit-down comedy performance).

The show is absolutely free, plus there will be champagne and refreshments thrown in. We thought also that since it’s a furniture and interiors shop, what better game to play than musical chairs – with the winner actually going home with a chair from one of the fabulous brands the store carries?

If you’re interested in coming, email me (miyagi@miyagi.sg) with your name and contact number and we’ll put you on the guest list. Space is limited (I was gonna say seats, but then, it’s a furniture shop).

Hope you’ll come and enjoy yourselves!

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My Friend Hossan Is A Freak

Last night Hossan’s family came to watch the show, and I had a chance to catch up with his aunties and uncles who’ve known us since we were kids.

An uncle reminded me how naughty or silly we were when we were in school, and how the silly ones – the boys who got kicked out of school or had to repeat a year or two were the ones who are happiest at what they are doing now. I told him I was very, very fortunate because those formative years laid the foundation of a viable career based on being silly.

Then Hossan’s mum told me something about how one afternoon after school, while helping out at the family’s florist shop, he had quite idly gathered a bunch of unwanted flowers and leaves which was destined for the rubbish bin and made an arrangement out of it. No biggie, except someone actually bought the arrangement.

Hossan just has a knack of picking things up and turning them into something people want, or want to watch. Just [spoiler alert] look at how he’s mastered pole-dancing in under a month!

I’m so chuffed to have such a freakishly talented friend, and it’s such a bonus to be working with him. I don’t know who else can sing, dance, tell jokes and play the piano for an hour and a half and keep everyone entertained as well as he can.

So if you haven’t already watched The Hossan Leong Show: Flying Solo, I urge you to get your tickets and witness this amazing performer. This is the last Hossan Leong Show for now, and I’m not sure if it’ll be reprised (or even if Hossan can muster the energy to do this one-man comedy sprint again).