Last Saturday we headed down to west Singapore for the birthday celebration of our lindy celebrity, Hong Wee. We had the chance to ask our personality of the month a few questions. With more than a decade of lindy experience we hope he can inspire dancers old and new. Watch the video or read on, and learn how he started swinging, his swing fantasy, and how we can all be more like him!
Jazz Up Your Life (JUYL): So, we’re here tonight with Hong Wee, the personality of the month of JUYL blog, who has more than ten years of lindy hop experience. We have some questions for you, but first we have to say happy birthday to Hong Wee cos it’s his birthday! The anniversary of his 21st birthday!
(crowd went wild)
JUYL: So, first question. We’ll just start with the basics. How did you start swing dancing?
(kids interrupted to say bye to Hong Wee cos they were going home)
Hong Wee (HW): Daddy have work to do! I’m being interviewed by the media! These jiejies want to put me on television and newspaper. It comes with being a celebrity.
So. My wife and I just got married and we had nothing to do on Thursday nights. One day she came back and said, “hey I saw this dance, dunno what it’s called”. So we went to check it out. Sharon was very enthusiastic about it, and I was less enthusiastic about it. After the first three months I told myself, I couldn’t do this, this dance is too difficult for me. Then only after a while after I regained my manhood I gained some confidence and the swing, the groove, came to me and I began to enjoy it.
JUYL: So which year was this?
HW: Sing, what year was this?
Sing: Tras Street, ’99
HW: The last year of Tras Street, this was in 1999.
Crowd: 10 years ago? So you got married when you were 11?
HW: Yes, in some countries it’s legal.
JUYL: So, what do you do when you’re not swing dancing?
HW: I actually have a day job. Some may say it’s the Navy, but actually it’s “national security business”.
JUYL: Sounds glamorous!
HW: Oh yes it is. You know, when you put on the uniform and you do the pins and the buckle and everything comes together and work as one piece.
JUYL: We’ve heard this rumour about you telling people this joke about “custard”. So can you tell us your (in)famous custard joke?
(joke edited out by Hong Wee’s request for freshness and to comply with this blog’s PG rating)
JUYL: So what’s the awesomest costume you’ve ever danced in?
HW: I think I’ll ask my legion of friends out there. What’s the awesomest costume you’ve ever seen me dance in?
Crowd: Teenage mutant ninja turtle!
JUYL: How was it awesome?
HW: It was so awesome that five years later someone posted the photograph on Facebook (when Facebook was popular) and then last week, I received a message on Facebook from someone asking, “are you for hire as a teenage mutant ninja turtle? Cos my son wants to have a TMNT party!”
JUYL: So we know that earlier this year we went to Hong Kong swing festival. We’ve been told that something happened in Lan Kwai Fong. Can you tell us what happened exactly?
HW: Nothing happened! I wasn’t even there! Ask Anthony! Anthony, we were not there, right? No, nothing happened. We checked it out, walked the street..
(A member of the crowd showed us the photo of HW in the awesome TMNT outfit at a party. It was serious stuff.)
Crowd: Is that a swimming pool on your back?
HW: It’s a portable jacuzzi. That was quite a fun party. Lan Kwai Fong on the other hand was a sobering place, go there to read books and have a quiet drink.
JUYL: But some of the videos we saw of you in Lan Kwai Fong..
HW: was digitised.. Nothing happened, really. Ask Pam! Next thing I knew was in the hotel sleeping.
JUYL: Moving on, so you mentioned you work in the Navy and you have this programme to teach the Navy to dance.
HW: I work in the Singapore Armed Forces, and my colleagues asked me about Lindy Hop and wanted me to teach them. It was supposed to start 2 weeks ago but it was postponed, and then it was supposed to start last but it was (again) postponed. But eventually we will get there. And my office has 28 people of whom 8 are ladies and 20 are men. So we’re short of ladies.
JUYL: So how do you plan to balance things out?
HW: I’m getting a few interviews here and there. So yeah, I’d like, through this interview, to appeal to all the ladies to turn up on Fridays at SAFTI MI.
JUYL: How can we be more like Hong Wee in three steps or less?
Crowd: Are you sure you want to be like Hong Wee?
HW: FIRST, buy uncoordinated clothes, and wear them. TWO: orange shoes. And THREE: read my latest published joke book, of which the custard joke is the first one. And I will round off this interview with another joke!
JUYL: Hang on we still have one final question for you! What is your ultimate swing fantasy?
HW: There are evolutions. In the beginning I just wanted to dance with two very good follows. Then after watching Austin Powers.. Did you guys watch Austin Powers? In the list of things to do before he dies: Japanese Twins. Well, I will just say “Japanese Twins”, I won’t limit myself to the dance. Then I went to Herrang (everyone must go to Herrang, by the way) and met Lithuanians. Now, cross off Japanese insert Lithuanians!
JUYL: So yeah now you can round off this interview with your joke!
HW: This one must laugh, OK. Cos it’s damn funny.
Crowd: We’ll try to laugh.
(joke again edited out for freshness and PG-rating of this blog)
Crowd: *groaaannn* That’s sick..
HW: Thank you thank you very much!