I love horses.
There is just something in the way a horse is built that oozes with masculinity and strength. When you peer into the eyes of a horse, it tells you the life of that animal. Whether you see a mischievous glint of a sprinter with hooves on fire, or a beast that has spent too much time in a place that doesn’t excite it anymore, their eyes provide us humans with just that glimpse into where their emotions reside.
I fantasise about owning a horse and riding it the way racers do on racing day because when man and animal work together, dreams are conquered and sweet victory lingers long after the horse returns to its stable. In Singapore, there are no horse ranches and riding clubs are rather exclusive, so my best chance of watching thoroughbreds would be at the Singapore Turf Club. I’ve only been to the Singapore Turf Club once and had to sadly turn down the recent invitation to world-class horse racing on the 17th of May due to my work commitments. I was however, very privileged to be invited to a gala dinner on the 15th at the Pan Pacific hosted by Singapore Airlines and Singapore Turf Club as part of the Singapore International Race festival leading up to the SIA Cup race day.
Mr Huang Cheng Eng, Executive Vice President, Marketing & The Regions, SIA had the crowds applauding with his "shit" jokes.
It was a night of good food, good entertainment and good company, but what I took home with me went beyond the tangibles. It was the speech by Mr Huang Cheng Eng that really left a deep impression. In fact, most people in the room hung on to every word of his speech. Why? Because his jokes were shit.
Wait a minute, I don’t mean to be rude, but the man designed his speech deliberately so! He actually had management parables, some disguised as “shit” jokes, told to him by the various horses that were competing on Sunday when he went to visit their stables. His humour caught the guests by surprise who were nodding and laughing with applause. Some of you might have heard of these stories, but just in case you haven’t, the gist of his speech contained the following parables, in no particular order.
A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out! Soon, a farmer passed by and heard the little bird chirping. Seeing the poor creature covered with dung, he decided to help the bird get out of the mess and placed it under a shrub. By this time, the bird was feeling warm and chirpy. and A cat passing by heard the sounds, saw the bird and ate it up.
Morals of the story?
1) Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy.
2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
3) When you’re in deep shit, it might be better just to keep your mouth shut.
A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.” “Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.” The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon he was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.
The moral of the story?
Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.
A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?” The crow answered: “Sure, why not.” So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
The moral of the story?
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.
A priest was driving along and saw a nun on the side of the road, he stopped and offered her a lift which she gladly accepted. She got in and Crossed her legs, forcing her gown to open and reveal a lovely leg. The priest had a look and nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun looked at him and immediately said, “Father, remember psalm 129?” The priest was flustered and apologized profusely. He forced himself to remove his hand. However, he was unable to remove his eyes from her leg. Further on, while changing gear, he let his hand slide up leg again. The nun once again said, “Father, remember psalm 129?” Once again the priest apologized. “Sorry sister, but the mind is weak.” Arriving at the convent, the nun got out, gave him a meaningful glance and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to retrieve a bible and looked up psalm129. It said, “Go forth and seek; further up, and you will find glory.”
The moral of the story?
Always be well informed in your job; Or you might miss a great opportunity.
These horseshoes were designed to kick start the Singapore International Festival with something a little more colourful and fun, and it couldn't have been more attention grabbing.
Kudos to Tata, the photographer who had to step in rhythm with the escalator in order to get this picture.
This is what you get when you put two of my favourite things together — horses and high heels. While horses exude the charisma of strength and agility which I associate with men, heels simply ooze sex appeal, which I associate with women. The way heels are made, the curves of the body, the girth of the heel, the materials used and finishing are immaculately put together to flatter the feminine silhouette. These Fashionista Horseshoes are the perfect epitome of masculinity and femininity combined.
There were ten of these horseshoes measuring seven feet and painted in various fashion themes to kickstart the Singapore International Race Festival, but only two displayed outside the ballroom. Nonetheless, it was quite an eye-opener.
Look closely and you'll see the ingenious marriage of the horse and the heel, making it look like an oxford shoe.
The surprise of the evening, as put forth by the host, was the dessert buffet, the fortune teller and the man who writes Calligraphy on Chinese fans. By the end of the main course, which was a lovely steak, everyone was ready to have a picture with one another over a macaroon or two. The atmosphere was cordial and relaxed which reminded me of my college prom night where everyone would crowd together and take pictures.
Many people had the names of their horses written.
The fortune teller would ask for your name and then tells the parrot, "Pick a card for so-and-so". The little bird will totter out of the cage, use its beak to separate 1 card out from the deck and totter back to its cage.
I had to have my fortune told! It's nice isn't it?
Doing a stand-up for the in-house video.
For friends around the world who came down specially for the race, it was a night that sparkled with merriment, a prequel to the highly charged, adrenalin-pumping action that was taking place on Sunday. Since I couldn’t be there to support my favourite horses, here’s what Felicia witnessed on race day.
That night I met some very wonderful people. From the SQ girls who greeted the guests by the door, the dedicated waiters and waitresses serving our tables, to the jovial friends from around the world and of course, the hospitable hosts from Singapore Airlines and Singapore Turf Club. Thank you for the lovely evening and hopefully I can be there on race day to watch the horses compete next year.