'Daring and sexy': Muscleman remembers classic Mocca ad that had an 'almost naked man' on TV

Viral Video Stars is a biweekly series where we hunt down viral icons. What's it like to be famous? What have they been up to? We catch up with them to find out all about life after viral fame.

Gold chain necklace and (only) a pair of skimpy striped underwear on national television.

Vietnamese Ha Thanh Quang, better known as Ben Ha, captured people’s imagination with his bulging muscles and bodybuilding antics in a 2007 ad that promoted the now-defunct Mocca – Mediacorp’s online classifieds website at that time.

It depicted a bodybuilder selling his home, and in one scene at the toilet, he flexed his triceps with that one line many would remember: “Check out my matching pipes!”

When we caught up with Ben recently, he was wearing a white body-hugging t-shirt – having maintained his physique – and faded blue jeans. His affable personality was clear and present throughout the interview.

Ending his sentences with an infectious smile and laughter, the 46-year-old mused on why the ad was such a hit.

“Daring and sexy,” he said, "and with an almost-naked man." He added: "Not something you see on TV often."

During the shoot, he remembered improvising the bodybuilding poses himself with the script the director had given him. "That's one of my first time filming (sic)," he remarked excitedly.

When the ad was broadcast in 2007, his face – and body – was shown over and over on screens found in public transport.

Ben said that people commuting on the MRT or the bus would go up to him and ask: “Are you the Mocca man?”

It was reported that Mocca was the number one online advertising website in Singapore after two months of broadcasting that ad – attracting more than seven million page views.

Ben even had to wear a cap when he went out then because of the sheer number of people who recognised him in public spaces.

Such instances are rarer these days, but if someone approaches him and says he looks familiar, he would just reply: “Oh, maybe people look alike.”  

Just $60 as appearance fee

However, at the height of his popularity, he was offered just $60 to appear on a popular local TV show.

He was surprised – hurt even. “The taxi fare from my home and back was not enough to cover,” an exasperated Ben said. 

As he was working full-time in retail then, he said he was not actively looking for appearances or to ride on his newfound popularity. But he received many appearance requests from event companies.


As he was new to the talent industry, he wasn’t sure how much he should charge. But when asked, he told AsiaOne that back then, he was paid $250 for most appearances under an hour. Sometimes, he was paid up to $4,000 for appearing at events, he said.

The boy from a village near Ho Chi Minh City

Ben has lived in Singapore for almost 20 years.

He was born and raised in a village in Tien Giang, and used to take a two-hour journey to take up Japanese Studies at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Foreign Languages and Information Technology in Vietnam. 

However, he dropped out of university halfway through after winning a hotel management scholarship to study in Singapore in 2001. Since completing the course, he has worked mainly in the hotel line and also in retail. 


Ben has been working in the hospitality line since 2014. One of his many talents includes speaking multiple languages. At work, he speaks fairly fluent Mandarin to communicate with his team. “Working here you have to adapt,” he said.

He hasn’t settled down but is thankful his siblings back home in the village look after his family while he supports them financially.  

When asked about his popularity then, he told AsiaOne: “Not purposely I wanted to be famous (sic).” It was purely an accident that the ad became highly popular with Singaporeans, he felt.

Among the things he gained from appearing in the ad, one of them is an extra dose of confidence.

“Everyone has their own beauty,” Ben said.

“No matter how big or small, or where you are, when you have your passion and you work hard on it, one day you can make it.”