Would he hug anyone and anything? And if he had to choose, who would Desmond rather hug? (This is an excerpt from a story that first appeared in Issue 1313, Dec 17, 2015)
A dog or a human?
“Do you know that hugging animals actually improves your health? People with dogs or cats or any kind of pet lead healthier lives. As for whether I’d hug a dog or a human, a dog comes to mind first. And the picture isn’t of me hugging Hoshi [his beloved cocker spaniel], but dogs who are less fortunate. I see abused animals and I just want to give them a big hug. Dogs do feel our love for them. Recently, there was a video of an otter caught on a fishing hook at the Kallang River. When I heard those squeaks of pain, I just wanted to give the otter a hug. Humans have other humans to hug them, so I will just leave it to other humans to service them.”
Rebecca Lim or Julie Tan?
“Maybe Julie lah. I’ve known Rebecca longer, so the number of hugs I’ve given her is higher than what I’ve given Julie. (Laughs) And I’ll be working with Julie for the next 10 months on a long-form drama. So we need a lot of hugging to encourage each other and keep the energy going for those 10 months. A co-star I hugged recently was Oon Shu An, who played my love interest in Mata Mata 3, where I play an Ah Beng with a heart of gold. We had just shot a very intense fight scene in Penang. Right after the cut, Shu An and I hugged each other. We really needed the reassurance, and to calm down and bring down the emotions. Then the rest of the actors also all hugged. It was a big group hug to defuse the intensity. It was just so powerful.”
Ian Fang or Romeo Tan?
“Erm, Ian lah. I’ve always treated him like a younger brother. I’d hug him to encourage him, and the age difference makes it easier for me to hug him as a younger bro. Me and Romeo are around the same age. We’re both the big brothers, so there’s nothing much to hug about. (Laughs)”
Someone with BO or someone with bad breath?
“Bad breath. When you hug, your face is at the other person’s shoulder, so technically you won’t smell a person’s breath that much, as your nose will be behind his or her face. But with someone with BO, the smell may linger on your clothes. And the next person who hugs me may think I have BO! But I’m quite an open person, and usually not that bothered by those things.”
Your girlfriend or your mother?
“I would rather hug my…. mum. Um, ’cos I think didn’t hug her enough when I was younger. When I hug my mum, I can feel her bones, ’cos she’s so skinny, and I can feel that she’s getting older.”