Friday, June 10, 2011

Nobody Notices when you are Bald – Everyone Notices when you Comb Over

One of the earliest bits of advice when I started losing my hair in my late teens came from my Dad. He said, “Whatever you do, NEVER comb over and NEVER get a hair transplant. Somehow nobody notices when you are bald but everyone notices you when you comb over or have a hair transplant.”

My Dad was right. As I got older, I realised that nobody really gave two hoots about bald men. If anything, being bald can be a fashion statement. Just look at Andre Agassi who was a teenage sex symbol known for his long bushy mane (apparently it was a wig). Later on he shaved bald and his status as a sex symbol strengthened. On the other hand, everyone notices the guys who comb over. The most prominent comb over was Dr Cheong Choon Kong, former CEO of SIA and currently the Chairman of Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation. Dr Cheong’s comb over was so prominent that it provided a little but of comic relief during the tragedy of SQ Flight 006, which crashed in Taiwan.

Like it or not, baldness is not an uncommon trait for men. As such, we, the folliclely challenged, either learn to live with it or we try to hide it. Despite the fact that hiding it usually draws more attention to it, there are men who persist in doing things like combing over the growing bald spot with the few strands of hair that they have.

I have recently discovered another version of the comb over. This new breed does not have to worry about follicles on the head. Instead, this new breed deals with things like money or the lack of it. Let’s call this breed the story teller.

Being broke is a little like being bald – more of us are broke than we care to admit to. Like being bald, many of us feel that being broke is a little embarrassing and so, the temptation to hide being broke is quite strong. It’s generally easier to hide being broke than it is to hide being bald. However, the efforts to hide being broke sometimes reach proportions that can be compared to the valiant effort to hide a growing bald spot.

One of the silliest examples of an effort to hide being broke is “Oooppss, I forgot my wallet at home.” This is apparently a very handy excuse when you happen to be meeting people for the very first time and don’t have the finances to cover a round of drinks. Unfortunately, this is also the type of story that reveals that you’re not being entirely honest – who in this day and age forgets their wallet when they go out for drinks?

The efforts to cover up the fact that you are broke can be quite amusing. However, there comes a point when telling stories can reveal plenty about your character or rather lack of it. Story tellers like comb overs have an insecure streak that borders on dishonesty. Like the comb over, the sad thing about the story teller is usually most dishonest with him or herself.

Young Muslim Politicians serving National Service from the comfort of the bed room (Thumbi Pundeks) are especially prone to telling stories to cover up for their inadequacies.

This young PAP cadre who is currently living off his father and the tax payer believes that he is an important person and he’s very rich. Somehow, somewhere in his gene pool and education, he’s been told that he’s entitled to spend other people’s money on ipads and expensive prostitutes. Thanks to his father and the Singapore tax payer, the Young PAP cadre believes that anyone who cannot spend money such items is only one level above shit.

However, this façade that he’s valiantly trying to pursue has its limits. Money, like other resources has a way of running out and when you don’t have money, it’s rather hard to pretend that you have pots of the stuff.

The Young Pariah has discovered a way of dealing with it. It’s called – talking shit. He’ll announce to you that he’s dying to “treat you.” Then you go out with him, he’ll order food without looking at the price tag. Just before the bill comes, he’ll then ask if it’s OK if you put it on your credit card and he’ll draw cash from you later on. One would suggest to anyone agreeing to such a deal that you march him to the ATM immediately after you have finished – because his understanding of later can be rather elastic. Of course, you’ll have to deal with him trying to bargain with you and when you point out to him that he was supposed to treat you – he’ll look indignant and tell you, “But I just spent $400 on an new cover for my phone, you don’t expect me to have money do you?”

Another variation of the scam that this Young PAP Cadre from Pasir Ris GRC will try pull is this – “I’ll treat you, let’s go somewhere classy.” He’ll then tell you that he only has $30 on him once you’ve sat down for a meal. He’ll gladly except it if you pass him an extra $10 to cover the unmentioned cost like GST and service charge. Suddenly, when the bill comes, you’ll find that he gets change of over $15. You check the bill and find that you’ve ordered less than $30 bucks worth and he’s paid $50 of cash, excluding your $10. When you ask him about it, he returns $10. I suppose you could say he has a point – he said he’d treat you but he didn’t say he’d pay GST or service charge.

Young Pariah’s are a bit like bald men trying to cover up their bald spots. However, unlike the bald men trying to cover up the bald spot with their remaining three strands of hair, the Young Pariah has been allowed to enter politics and is sometimes portrayed as a person that the Deputy Prime Minister might want to associate himself with.

If you were to believe that the ruling party tolerates characters with such a high sense of self-esteem and integrity, you might be wanting to ask yourself if the ruling party is trying to hide something too?

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