Why Seth Rogen thinks Singaporeans hate him
Caning, drugs & gum - what he said on Conan five years ago
Did you read the big news on Wednesday?
No, not the by-election thing.
No, not the eight Bangladeshis detained under the Internal Security Act.
No, not Leicester City becoming English Premier League champs.
Of course, I'm talking about The Straits Times report that Seth Rogen believes Singaporeans hate him.
In an interview with the paper to promote his movie Bad Neighbours 2 (now showing in cinemas), the 34-year-old Canadian actor said: "Singapore? They hate me there."
But why does Rogen think Singaporeans hate him?
All The Straits Times said was: "He is referring to the backlash following his comments about a trip to the island while promoting his superhero flick Green Hornet in 2011.
"He made fun of the country's laws on drug smuggling, chewing gum and caning, and some Singaporeans took exception to his remarks."
What were these remarks, pray tell? The Straits Times didn't say.
It was five years ago. Many of you probably don't remember.
Well, as public service for my fellow Singaporeans, let me recap specifically what Rogen said so that you can hate him as he is convinced you already do.
The offending remarks were made on Conan O'Brien's talk show, Conan, on March 10, 2011.
Rogen was there to promote the movie Paul, where he plays a weed-smoking alien. So he pretty much plays himself.
But the interview started with them talking about the Green Hornet movie, which was released two months earlier. O'Brien kicked things off by pointing out how stars like Rogen have to promote their movies internationally.
Rogen said: "But you get to go to places that you would never ever go. They sent us to Singapore to sell the movie."
O'Brien said: "I've never been to Singapore."
Rogen said: "Most people haven't because Singapore's kind of claim to fame is that in the 80s, that dude did graffiti and got caned a bunch of times by the Government."
Actually, it was in 1994 when Michael Fay was sentenced to four months in jail and six strokes of the cane (later reduced to four strokes) for not just vandalism, but stealing road signs as well.
Should we hate Rogen just for getting the year wrong?
Anyway, Rogen continued: "They whacked him with a cane which seemed barbaric and so I was afraid to go there because I'm a graffiti enthusiast."
He then went from caning to cannabis.
"You land and they put a thing in your passport literally that says, 'Death to drug smugglers', which is kind of my second career. So it was very frightening to be there."
CHEW ON THIS
But that's not even the most frightening thing.
"Gum is illegal. No gum at all in Singapore. You literally can't chew gum. There's a weird story to it. Someone once stuck gum to a subway door and it messed up the subway system. So they made gum illegal. And mouths. No mouths allowed. Chewing of any sort has been outlawed."
Okay, a few factual errors there. You literally can chew gum in Singapore. Mouths are allowed. Chewing has not been outlawed.
The "weird story" about the subway is true, though. Yes, there was a time when train service was delayed due not to track fault, but gum fault. Those were the days.
O'Brien then asked Rogen if he talked to the people there - meaning us.
Rogen said: "I did. No one who lives there has ever voted."
Perhaps he was referring to Singaporeans who live in constituencies where the MP didn't resign because of a "personal indiscretion". No, wait...
Rogen continued: "It's kind of like a benevolent dictatorship, I guess you can call it. You ask them, 'How things are going on here?' And everyone has the same answer. They go, 'So far so good.'"
Then he talked about going to Beijing.
Do you hate him already?
Rogen is probably convinced Singaporeans hate him because of online comments like this: "Next time he comes to Singapore, he sure will be bashed or even surrounded and beaten up! No one will say, 'I LOVE YOU SETH!' My god. 'GET THE HELL OUT OF SINGAPORE!' That (sic) what they will say. Singapore is a country, my country! WTH."
Still, it could have been worse for Rogen, who later in 2014 made The Interview, a movie where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's head is blown up in painstaking CGI detail.
If you think Singaporeans can't take a joke...