Fridays with William #2: Glen Goei’s Ring

William was watching the Olympics 100m butterfly semi-finals on his iPad Friday morning, so we unexpectedly got to watch Joseph Schooling winning his semi-final race.

William has a man crush on Michael Phelps. He is bewildered as to how someone could collect a medal on the podium, then change immediately to compete in another race. He is only impressed with people who display stamina and determination, not just in one race, but over many years and many races. A man’s man. And this man’s man has to be NUMBER 1 IN THE WORLD, nothing less.

A Rugrats doll in a judo outfit. A man's doll.

New this week: a Rugrats doll in a judo outfit sitting on the cuckoo clock. A manly man’s doll.

Otherwise, he is mostly nonplussed and unimpressed with the rest of humanity, because the road he has had to walk to get to where he is was long and tough. You know that movie where Tom Hanks gets stuck on an island and makes friends with a volleyball? That’s the free download version of William’s life.


A long, tough road makes someone appreciate the peace of a self-determined, unchanging routine. This is the discipline, together with Bridget’s unparalleled threshold for pain, that makes marathon 12-hour sessions possible.

It only looks painless.

Bridget drinking a pina colada.

This week’s session was all about colour. Sometimes, Bridget and William will get into an impasse where nobody can decide what colour is best to add to the mix. At this point, William goes out and puffs on a cigarette twice or thrice, after which the impasse magically resolves. I don’t know why this is.

Cigarettes are always unfinished.

Cigarettes are mostly unfinished.

Bridget tells William about meeting Glen Goei.

“Glen Who?”
“Glen Goei. He’s quite famous.”
“Ang Kong William is more famous! Ask anybody here who Glen Goei is. Nobody knows. But if you say Ang Kong William everybody knows.”

Nonplussed and unimpressed.

Tattoo staple diet.

Tattoo staple diet.

But there you have it: Singapore’s social divide in a nutshell. People Who Know Glen Goei | People Who Know Ang Kong William. Bridget and I, we’re the |, although we didn’t know Glen Goei was Glen Goei until he wrote his name 3 times in our almost empty email book. After he left we immediately felt ridiculous.

I think we are more Team Ang Kong William.

Team Ang Kong Willam

We have been sitting on building a pair of rings for Glen Goei for months. We said we wouldn’t take 6 months like we once did but it’s already been 3 months and Glen Goei’s Ring is still at the Haunting Stage. In fact, “Glen Goei’s Ring” has permanently entered the World Savage Lexicon as a descriptor for Things Permanently at the Haunting Stage (usage: OMG is this Glen Goei’s Ring again?!).

And then, while William is slowly plugging away, scraping away skin and inserting colour into small spaces on her shoulder, Bridget suddenly says, “I know exactly what Glen Goei’s rings look like. Write this down so I don’t forget. White – cross and sphere, black – cube.”


The apple that fell on Newton’s head.

“Really? Can like that one ah?”
“You don’t believe me is it?!”
“So weird what!”

There is now a weird psychic connection between Glen Goei and Ang Kong William. And this connection has propelled Glen Goei’s Ring into the Unintelligible Scribbling Stage.

Glen Goei's Ring

Glen Goei’s Ring

And it might just stay there because Bridget says that maybe she was just delusional from pain.


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