Fly on the Wall
Romancing the Ball
By Sylvia Toh Paik Choo
November 08, 2010
HOW to fit 500 into 400 can be a niggling problem.
Seat the 400 at the gala ball’s 40 dinner tables, and the rest can go to the midnight post-ball (standing room only) party of Teochew porridge, cigars and libations.
Society’s dedicated monthly Singapore Tatler made everyone happy with its first two-party system for the magazine’s 28th anniversary ball at St Regis hotel on the eve of Deepavali.
‘This way, everyone can come and enjoy,’ said Mr Gilbert Cheah, managing director of Singapore Tatler.
Great Romances was the theme, so we were rather expecting to catch our breaths beholding Scarlett and Rhett, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, Lady and the Tramp, even Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.
The island republic’s socialites and tai-tais came as themselves, in wall-to-wall ball gowns, armed with husbands and gentlemen and partners and walkers.
The annual Tatler Ball is one of, say, four balls where the menfolk consent to attend with their womenfolk. ‘I’m lucky if my husband agrees to one in four years!’ (There are some 18 balls of some standing in a year.)
You know this is a ‘laku’ (hot-selling) ball as the old guard of coveted guests such as Dr Arthur Lim, Mr and Mrs Lee Kip Lee, and Mrs Lucy Chan were there.
The fine living publication knows how to throw a party – well it’s got its sister magazines’ balls in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila, to live up to.
Over there, royalty, snooty money and ostentation may prevail. Fortunately here it’s pretty much middle-class classlessness out to dress-up, dine and dance.
Simply divine. Giant bowls of roses and ribbons, red carpet for the obligatory photo, little black square box of four Hediard chocolates, flower petals in the soup (oh don’t be so gauche), a jazz band and chanteuse, scallop from Hokkaido and the leadership awards.
Mr Dick Lee (for Culture) thanked his parents for their love (and Arab Street for his jacket’s handwoven fabric). Mrs Celeste Basapa (for Community Service) thanked her husband Larry for his ‘stoic support’. Mr Nash Benjamin (for Business) thanked his wife Violet for putting up with him. And Mr Ho Kwon Pin (for Environment) did not thank his wife, as she, Ms Claire Chiang, was on stage with him as co-recipient.
‘The secret to a marriage of more than 30 years is to always let your wife have the last word,’ he revealed.
Mrs Ho then said her thank yous.