This is not a Rebecca Lim commentary

I’ve been telling my friends that the whole Rebecca Lim and NTUC Income publicity stunt was such a non-story. So writing this piece on my blog kind of contradicts myself, because I am writing a story about a non-story. Even talking about it has made it a story.

But let me be clear here. This is not a commentary about Rebecca Lim. This is about how society is spending too much time getting its knickers in a bunch over nothing.

What was the stunt, you ask? You can read the news, or let me phrase it in an calm manner:

Some Singapore TV actress said on Instagram she was retiring but she was just trolling the audience to get attention for her client NTUC Income and the media went into a frenzy over being lied to. The story even appeared on the front page of The Straits Times (I think it was on Sunday?). 

And before you get upset with me (because you were upset with the stunt or wrote something about it to tell people you were upset), I’ll say that I’m not her fan.

I hardly watch her on TV (because I only watch Netflix yo), I don’t know how many Star Awards she’s won and when she announced her retirement, the only thought that came to me was “Oh is she going to do a Felicia Chin? Quit early and then come back to acting again? Ok lor, she must have earned a lot by now.”

(Yes, I do know who is Felicia Chin).

And maybe you will say that I must be missing the point of the whole debacle – that she misled the public in her capacity as an actress, that NTUC Income has lost credibility with their customers, that bad marketing campaigns are never good, that you have to be careful on social media in case people get depressed over their idols etc etc.

I do get it.

Lame or not, it was an obvious marketing stunt. I would not do it myself or for the companies I’ve worked for (maybe I’m not brave enough). I fell for “the retirement news”, but I didn’t care for it. And the folks involved have been doing really lousy PR damage control with convoluted, “Oh I didn’t know you’d think that way bla bla bla”.

But I also get this:

The more you write about this case, the more publicity you are giving her or NTUC Income. Even if you do not watch Mediacorp serials, you will probably know who she is now.

Not even NTUC Income could afford the massive budget required to make her that famous (or infamous) with the wider public. Why, I prefer to buy my insurance policies from my good friend Jeffrey at AIA, but maybe now I might remember NTUC Income even exists so maybe I’ll check their website for other plans if I have the dough… (nah, just kidding).

I’ve also seen quite a few articles lamenting why both parties have not apologized. Actually, more than a few…


Yes, if someone did me wrong, I would like them to apologize.

But let’s examine the situation a bit more. She’s an actress. She’s paid to act. She gets paid even more to endorse a commercial client. Her job, fantastic as it sounds, is to create an illusionary scenario to entertain others. Someone will write a script for her, say “do this do that” and she gets paid a certain sum to meet the needs of a specific marketing campaign.

In a nutshell, she’s employed to provide entertainment. The thing that we imbibe after a long day’s work and just want to chill out on the couch, and stare at an LCD display full of loud noises and bright colors.

So, the question I have for people who are upset, is : What real difference will it make in your life or the life of others, if she and her ad client actually apologizes, or if they did things the way you wished they did?

Will you be happy once they have demonstrated public contriteness, integrity or gone on their knees for your forgiveness?

Will it make your life any better? Will it improve the quality of public relations or advertising in this country? Will thousands flock to buy an NTUC Income insurance plan? Will hungry children get fed better? Will our roads suddenly become free of reckless drivers and roadhoggers? (Ok, I’ll stop before this gets pointless too).

Yes, I also know the story makes for great media fodder. Newspapers and websites, and hey, even this blog needs fresh content to keep the readers coming. Entertainment news is mindless in itself, but this curious case has gone beyond the fashion or TV reviews pages, into the public mainstream of angst and handwringing like I’ve never seen any other actress (actress!!) get into.

I mean like, I’ve never imagined in all 10 years of doing this blog, I’d be writing about a Mediacorp actress I don’t even care for – I’m sure a lot of people will read this ranting article instead of my incredibly effective weight-loss book or oft-quoted motorcycling advice (see, I’m marketing myself as we speak, in a rather lame but metaphysical way!)

Maybe I’m just annoyed by the relentless coverage of this non-story of a bad marketing stunt. It is like as if there isn’t enough news for people to read despite the deluge of information and posts on social media.

I would like to close this needlessly long rant with this thought.

If you want to get upset and demand an apology from someone, please prioritize the following people over Rebecca Lim:

  • People who are rude to service staff!
  • People who create unnecessary traffic jams with their poor driving!
  • Parents who terrorize teachers!
  • Cooks who don’t wash their hands after using the toilet!
  • False preachers who drive flashy cars!
  • Ministers who don’t walk the talk!
  • Children who are rude to their seniors!
  • The Strawberry Generation!

Now, my dear readers, I don’t even get paid for writing this.

5 Replies to “This is not a Rebecca Lim commentary”

  1. Quite right, Ivan.
    I didn’t bat an eye when I first saw the flap from some angry ‘fans’ which the media saw fit to publish/highlight.

    It’s not even a storm in a tea cup that some people see it fit to kick up a ruckus about.

    To her ‘fans’.
    Why all that fuss about someone who you are a ‘fan’ of, intimating her early ‘retirement’? So what it is too you? A grand scale calamity if it is true because you would be DEPRIVED of the opportunities of watching her ’emotes’ on the small screen?

    Grow up man. IF I am a fan of hers and I saw that NTUC advert, my first reaction would probably be ‘wow, what a pity, I would not be watching her anymore’. And if I later learned that it was just an advert gimmick, I would go ‘hey, what a relief, I can continue to see her on the small screen, after all. Phew, that was close’. (lol)

    You would be going overboard to react in such a nasty manner as some apparently did. In my books, that’s not how a ‘real’ fan should react. Seems more like some people with a self-important over-inflated image of themselves, have gotten angry, in their view, because poor Rebecca Lim has just played a trick on their immature sense of pride – ‘why that ungrateful b…h for…’.

  2. I am no fan of Rebbeca Lim but it is funny why so many people are crying foul about the actress. There was one reporter in Straits Times who also passed negative comments about R Lim. This reporter apparently is quite clueless about the possibility of contractual terms.

    R Lim is paid by Income for the ad and there would likely be a clause in the contract stating that she is not at liberty to say, write or do something contrary to what Income wants.

    People not happy with the ad and who are demanding for an apology should go after Income not the actress who is merely a paid agent in this case. There was one reporter in Straits Times who also passed negative comments about R Lim. This reporter apparently is quite clueless about contractual terms.

    The actress may well want to apologise but if Income says no or feels that it not need be apologitic, what can R Lim do? If there such a clause exists in the contract and she proceeds to apologise against Income’s will she could be sued.

  3. Absolutely in line with your thoughts here Ian. Isn’t there a quote somewhere that says that you are complicit if you let your mind be disturbed? I.E. One has a choice in how one feels about each particular event.

    Easier said than done though 🙂

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