We know Desmond Tan as an A-list actor, fashion clotheshorse and devoted dog dad. But, it turns out, that’s just scraping the surface. In a mathematical self-assessment, the 37-year-old revealed, he’s “almost 100 per cent Singaporean boy-next-door” and – wait for it – “40 per cent beng”.
So “ah beng”, in fact, that even his colleagues did not recognise him when he was in character for the upcoming new drama All That Glitters, in which he plays a struggling job drifter who eventually strikes it rich but at the expense of his personal relationships.
For his character’s stint as an air conditioner repairman, he wore a grey polo tee, loose-fitting jeans, a fanny pack, chains and an earring, and a wig of longish brown hair, “basically a very F4 or Ekin Cheng kind of vibe”. “People really thought I was there to fix the aircon,” he said.
Even in real life, “My wife makes fun of the way I talk and walk in my flip flops when we go to the market. She says, ‘Can you not be so beng in the way you walk?’ I say, ‘I don’t know leh, this is me, what.’”
Because of “my work and my relation with high fashion, and how people see me through social media and photos, sometimes people feel I’m very far from them,” he mused. But the truth is, one of his favourite things to do is to “walk through the wet market, purchasing groceries” and chatting with the meat and vegetable sellers – almost like, er, a ministerial meet-and-greet, minus the kissing babies part.
“I always tell my wife, ‘If I wasn’t an actor, I could see myself being a politician’,” he joked. “As an extrovert, I enjoy talking to people and bringing smiles to the faces of people I meet, tickling them a bit… like the General Elections or the Presidential Elections!”
And if he were running for President, what would his campaign slogan be?
“My symbol would be a durian!” he immediately piped up. And, “I will make sure we have a public holiday called Barbecue Day,” he said, going off on a long rant in the stilted language of politics about how barbecues at East Coast Park bring people from all walks of life together “while struggling to start the fire”.
Okay, Desmond, you get our vote.
ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD