Why does everyone think it's me?
On Wednesday, The Star newspaper in Malaysia reported something big.
Or so it seemed.
At a press conference to warn consumers about online scams, the chairman of Malaysia's customer complaints bureau, Mr Michael Chong, mentioned three people who had complained to him that they had been duped by online scammers this year.
One of the victims was a man who ordered a RM450 (S$175) penis enlarger online and was deflated when he received a magnifying glass.
It came with the instruction: "Do not use in direct sunlight."
On reading The Star report, a colleague said to me: "Sounds like you."
How did it sound like me?
I don't believe I have ever expressed a desire to increase the dimensions of any part of my genitalia to anyone.
Just my luck the man who ordered the penis enlarger was identified in the report as someone named Ong.
Yes, my surname is also Ong, but that's just a coincidence. I am sure there are millions of people in this world with the name Ong.
What are the chances that I am the Ong in the story?
My point is, I have never and would never order a penis enlarger online.
Have I made that very clear?
Actually, all this denial is kind of moot.
A day after The Star report came out and was picked up by news outlets around the world, including the Daily Mail in the UK, the story turned out to be a hoax.
So there was no one named Ong who ordered a penis enlarger online and received a magnifying glass.
The Star reported that Mr Chong, the Malaysian customer complaints bureau chairman, clarified that he brought up the example at the press conference to highlight the dangers of buying stuff online.
He didn't know it was a hoax at first.
"Many of my friends, whom I trust, forwarded the message to me and requested that I warn the public about the scam," Mr Chong told The Star.
Mr Chong said he received many calls from acquaintances after the story was published.
"The story had them laughing, no doubt. If humour is what it takes for the message to sink in, then where's the harm in that?"
Well, the harm is that innocent people like me are wrongly accused of ordering a penis enlarger online.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Some of my closest friends order penis enlargers online. Actually, that's not true. I have no friends.
At least, my ordeal was over. Or so it seemed.
On Thursday, Singapore's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr K Shanmugam, posted on Facebook: "Some days ago, I wrote on the work done by MFA officers providing consular services.
"Singaporeans are making more overseas trips, almost 7 million last year compared to 3.6 million a decade ago.
"From time to time, they run into trouble and seek help from our consular staff. We handled over 3,000 consular cases last year.
"Many cases are genuine. But sometimes we do get odd requests."
And he gave this example:
"A Singaporean sought MFA's assistance for a refund after he had gotten illegal sexual services in a foreign country. He wasn't satisfied with what he had gotten. We had to tell him that MFA could not help!"
On reading the minister's post, another colleague said to me: "Sounds like you."
How did it sound like me?
The last time I was out of the country was six years ago when I went to South Korea with my family.
It would've been very difficult for me to sneak out to obtain any unsatisfactory illegal sexual services, much less seek MFA's assistance to get a refund.
I don't know whether to feel more insulted that my colleague believed that I am a man who would pay for illegal sexual services or I am a man who would try to get a refund after I did.
Why is this happening to me?
Do I look like someone who would complain to a government agency when my carnal and sizing needs are not met?
Why do people get the impression that I'm in the market for a penis enlarger and illegal sexual services in the first place?
Then on Friday, I sort of found out why.
My wife happened to see my new IC which replaced the one I lost last year.
She looked at my photo and said: "You look like a pimp."
How do I look like a pimp?
"It's that stupid expression you have on your face," she said.
"Like a pimp."
Oh, thank you very much.
At least, now I have a clue why my colleagues think I'm a magnifying glass-buying sex tourist.
I'm grateful Mr Shanmugam didn't divulge the identity of the guy seeking the refund.