The New Paper
By Tan Kee Yun
Almost a year ago, veteran Taiwanese TV host Pauline Lan raised eyebrows when she lambasted Singaporean men for being "sloppy", "badly dressed" and "oily" and for rating them "worse than" three out of 10.
The straight-talking 48-year-old was made to eat humble pie last Friday when the tables were turned on her.
At a press conference to launch the second season of beauty talkshow series Lady First Singapore, which she hosts, local actor-singer Daren Tan (above, in red trousers) led four male models to gatecrash the event, holding placards with the slogan "Sg Men NOT Oily".
Tan, 28, demanded an explanation for Lan's sweeping statement about local dudes having "you tou you lian" (Mandarin for oily heads and oily faces).
Lan clearly could not take her eyes off the suave hunks standing next to Tan.
"These four here are not oily at all. On the contrary, they are 'you tou you lian' (Mandarin for presentable and well-respected)," she said, peppering her replies with witty wordplay.
As it turns out, Tan has been appointed the leader of the men's celebrity team - Season 2's newest element, in addition to the resident ladies' celebrity team on the show - and will be featured in two special male-centric episodes.
Lady First Singapore 2, slated to begin production soon, premieres on E City (StarHub Ch 825) on June 3 and will air every Tuesday at 8pm.
Tan explained to Lan that these models will not be on the show. His team will instead consist of yet-to-be-unveiled local male celebrities "with flaws".
"Why can't these lads be included? I have many questions to ask them, like 'Where do you live? What are your telephone numbers?'" Lan teased.
Backstage, she told The New Paper in a more serious tone that from her general observations throughout her current visit here, Singaporean men "have indeed improved" in grooming.
"The only thing is, I find Singaporean men a little scrawny. Taiwanese men are more muscular. In Taiwan, after work, all the gyms are packed to the brim with men.
"Maybe it's Singapore's heat. It's so hot that guys grow lazy to exercise."
Will she ever consider dating a Singaporean man? "Sure, of course!" she said. "I love Singapore and if I have a Singaporean boyfriend, it'd give me more reasons to keep coming back."
When another reporter asked her how she deals with her need for romance and intimacy, Lan deadpanned: "These days, there are so many adult toy shops around that it's not an issue at all."
Hey, our men work out too!
Daren Tan is adamant that Taiwanese TV host Pauline Lan saw the "ugly side of Singaporean men".
The 31-year-old actor-singer, who was announced as the leader of Lady First Singapore 2's men's celebrity team, told The New Paper that unlike Lan's initial impression of local men as sloppy and oily, he feels "we are getting better at grooming, using facial products and working out".
He also contested Lan's remark that Singaporean men are "lazy to exercise due to the heat".
"In Singapore, it's so hot all the time and most guys, including myself, like wearing singlets. When you wear singlets, you have to constantly make sure your body looks good," said the star of Channel 5 police drama Mata Mata.
Tan, a self-confessed metrosexual, is looking forward to the two episodes of Lady First Singapore featuring him and his male teammates.
"I'm excited and pretty much game for anything. Well, so long as they don't make me shave my leg hair - that's a no-no for me," he said.
"It's too womanly. Having leg hair is a guy thing." Lady First Singapore 2's resident fitness instructor Jackson Tan, 30, said that hitting the gym is not a phenomenon exclusive to Taiwanese men. "There is a rising trend among Singaporean men to keep tabs on their health. Working out at gyms is extremely popular here," said the Star Search 2007 finalist.
"Singapore men have to go through national service, so don't forget that there is the yearly fitness test to motivate them to keep fit."
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