S M Ong: Dick Lee makes good catfish bait
Dear online love scammer,
I am not a woman.
I feel the need to remind people of that now and then because a reader once called me "Samantha".
Who knows? If I had starred in Number 1, I might have won the Golden Horse award that Mark Lee failed to.
But because I am not a woman, I don't know what women want.
And because I don't know what women want, I would make a lousy scammer.
For example, it would never occur to me to use Dick Lee's face to attract women and scam them the way you did. That took some kind of evil genius.
Not that I think the 64-year-old is unattractive even though he is no Chuando.
On Saturday, The Straits Times reported: "In the last two years, home-grown singer-composer Dick Lee has been approached by about 10 women claiming they fell victim to - or nearly did - to online love scams in which his pictures were used."
Wait, does this mean you impersonated him online to dupe these women?
Yes and no. According to one victim ST interviewed, you used pictures of Lee but gave your name as "Alex Cheng".
Wait, if you sent someone a picture of Dick Lee and claimed to be Alex Cheng, weren't you afraid that she might say "Hey, that is Dick Lee" and realise that you are lying?
I mean, Lee is a pretty famous guy. He is practically synonymous with our National Day, thanks to his song, Home.
Not only that, the erstwhile Mad Chinaman used to be married to Mum's Not Cooking host and My Grandson The Doctor star Jacintha Abisheganaden in the 90s. Younger Singaporeans may not remember this, but the two were like Singapore's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of their day.
So, yeah, Lee is pretty famous - but in Singapore. And you knew that. The woman ST interviewed is a Hong Kong resident.
Okay, so maybe Lee is not that recognisable in Hong Kong, but why pick him of all the people in the world who are not that recognisable in Hong Kong?
What is it about that coiffed salt-and-pepper hair, boyish grin and well-moisturised skin that you found so irresistible to con women with?
Wait, I think I just answered my own question.
Still, why would you risk using a picture of someone who is a celebrity in a country not that far away from Hong Kong?
Why not a picture of a nobody - like me?
Not that I would want to be repurposed as bait to catfish women for their money. Oh no, not at all. I would feel so used, exploited and maybe just a tiny bit flattered.
Other local celebrities whose pictures have been used in foreign love scams include such handsome specimens as One FM 91.3 deejay Simon Lim, and Mediacorp actors Desmond Tan and Romeo Tan.
Lee told ST: "I've had maybe 10 women approach me over these two years to say they were victims or almost victims of scammers who had been stealing from my photos. I've received messages from women all over the world - Puerto Rico, Germany, Hong Kong."
Is it just me or did that sound like a humblebrag?
Hey, I just thought of something.
You know who else you should use if you want to stick with Singapore celebrities?
I guarantee that if you use a photo of his face, women will throw themselves and money at you like shoppers at a Black Friday sale.
Trust me. I know what women want.
I wouldn't scam a scammer, would I?