Humour: Running by the Bay with Baey

Baey Yam Keng and SM Ong.

This was it.

It was as if all the training was to prepare me for this moment - and I didn't even realise it.

All the Jurong Lake Runs, the Hello Kitty Run, The Urgent Run for World Toilet Day, the Army Half Marathon -they were just warm-ups for the main event on Thursday.

That was the day of my first #runwithBYK.

BYK, of course, stands for Baey Yam Keng, the MP for Tampines GRC and my man-crush.

I had written so much about the man without actually meeting him that he was in danger of becoming almost like Hello Kitty - a disembodied construct that exists only to provide material for this column.

So when the opportunity came to rectify this situation, I leapt at it. Or rather, I took the train to Raffles Place at it.

It all started on Wednesday with a post by Mr Baey on Instagram with the hashtag #runwithBYK and an open invitation to join him in his "first ever evening run at Marina Bay tomorrow".

His previous runs were either in the morning or in Tampines.

I could not join him for the morning runs because I do not usually get out of bed until lunchtime.

And because I live in Choa Chu Kang, I avoid going to the eastern part of Singapore since the people there tend to look down on us "westerners" as evidenced by the West Sucks Story on Tumblr.

Also, Tampines is very far.

But Thursday evening at Marina Bay was the perfect time and place.

I was 10 minutes early and saw another guy in running gear hanging around the Raffles statue, which was the meeting place.

Was he here for the #runwithBYK too?

That meant I would not have Mr Baey to myself. My heart sank.

Nursing my disappointment, I walked as far away as I could from the interloper while keeping the statue in sight.

A few minutes later, I saw Mr Baey talking to my new enemy and immediately went to make my presence known.

As I laid eyes on the MP's lean, tanned body in a black tank top, I finally saw in the flesh why I once called him the Sexiest Man Alive.

He recognised me and said: "S M Ong."

I could die now.

Shaking my hand, he said: "You look better in person than in your photos."

I know, right? Not everyone can be as photogenic as His Selfieness.

Then the most coincidental thing in the universe happened. The other guy (the interloper, my new enemy) recognised me and I recognised him.

We used to work at MediaCorp together. He was a director for Singapore's ground-breaking sitcom Under One Roof, which I also wrote for.

I had not seen him in a decade.

He, too, had never met Mr Baey before and decided to join the #runwithBYK after seeing the post on Instagram.


Who knew #runwithBYK could reunite old acquaintances better than Facebook?

Suddenly, Mr Baey seemed like the third wheel.

But after some quick catching up, it was time to run.

From the Raffles statue, Mr Baey led us past the Esplanade, over the Helix Bridge, past Gardens By The Bay to the Marina Barrage, where we took a break. That was over 3km.

Along the way, we were approaching an intimidating flight of stairs and I whined: "Stairs?"

Mr Baey immediately changed direction and we ran up a gentle slope instead. I was grateful.

During the break at Marina Barrage, I explained I was still recovering from a 14km run at MacRitchie Reservoir the previous day, so I was not in the best of shape. I think they believed me.

After we took the all-important selfies to commemorate the occasion, it was time to run back, this time round the other side of the bay, past Marina Bay Sands and Clifford Pier.

But I lagged so far behind the other two that at One Fullerton, I completely lost sight of them in the evening rush-hour crowd.

Despite all the Jurong Lake Runs, the Hello Kitty Run, The Urgent Run and the Army Half Marathon, I could not keep up with BYK.

Would I see him again?

I figured if I could find my way back to the Raffles statue, I still had a chance.

As I wandered through the maze of tunnels and bridges, I must have stumbled onto a short cut because I suddenly saw Mr Baey and my ex-colleague crossing the road in front of Victoria Theatre.

The road was so busy, I was worried they would be killed by oncoming traffic. That would certainly affect Mr Baey's chances for re- election.

But I caught up with them and we made it across the road alive.

Alas, it was time to say goodbye - but not before I took one final selfie with BYK.

Who knows if we will ever see each other again?

We will always have Instagram.

This article was first published on February 8, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.

More about
baey yam keng