Time Out Singapore: Adrian Teo

Having accepted that his life became ‘a series of dates’, Adrian Teo decided to chronicle his wisdom in a new book titled Date KingGwen Pew finds out more from the king himself.

Book cover of Adrian Teo's book, 'Date King', illustrated by Ken Foo. Image courtesy of Epigram Books.

Cover of Adrian Teo’s book, ‘Date King’, illustrated by Ken Foo. Image courtesy of Epigram Books.

1 Sep 2013: ‘My name is Ah King, but my friends call me “Date King”. Not because I’m smooth with girls, but because my life is a series of dates,’ writes Adrian Teo, the towkay kia (boss’s son) of a third generation chicken rice seller in the opening pages of his debut book. The project started in October 2012, when he teamed up with local illustrator Ken Foo to share his wisdom and adventures on the Singaporean dating scene with the world, and the Date King blog was born.

Teo’s popular – if controversial – blog made the leap from website to page in July, covering topics such as his numerous dates-gone-wrong to the types of people you’ll find at speed dating events (‘at least one guy with huge muscles, two girl-next-door types and three financial types in their 30s who like to club and are a bit fat’), plus his guide to stereotypical types of local girls (from the bak bak [fleshy] girl to the attractive Malaysian girl) and advice for other hapless, clueless souls. Here, he shares more about the project.

Tell us how Date King was born.
Date King is a collaboration between me and Ken. The aim was to attempt to create a uniquely Singaporean icon that was still exportable overseas – a genre that was both local and exportable. So we settled on romance and comedy as its choice. Ken was already an accomplished art designer and comic illustrator.

Have you always been working with Ken Foo? His illustration style really adds a cute visual charm to the stories.
Ken and I were strangers when we met on a stormy December night three years ago where we both ordered the same popiah from the popiah uncle. The uncle said there was only one popiah and Ken and me both wanted it, so we decided to arm wrestle for it. While we were wrestling, the uncle chopped the popiah in half and gave us one each, and that was when we took the omen from the comic gods that we were meant to create the best Singaporean icon possible to represent the manliness of the male Singaporean.

Whoa, really?
No. Actually, we met at comic-con in 2008 through my cousin Derek.

So how much of the book is true? Did one of your dates really throw a prawn in your face after you wouldn’t peel it for her?
Half of it is true, the rest are pure imagination from watching too many Mediacorp Chinese dramas.

Have you actually dated any of the girl types you mention in the book?
I have dated ten percent of the girls in there; the rest are stories from my mates.

What made you decide to go from blog to book?
The book was actually re-created two years ago to start some basic marketing for the blog and also to record some amusing drafts that could work [on the page].

We get a sneak peek of Book Two at the end of Date King, which introduces your enemy, the ‘buaya king’ [a player, literally ‘crocodile’ in Malay]. Tell us more! How many books are you planning to release in total?
Book Two will have longer story arcs – you can see a sample of it on the blog. We planned on a total of six books initially, but we’re also exploring other media formats such as digital, video and podcasts on the topic of dating.

Lousy dates aside – what’s been your most romantic date?
Now that I’m married, all my dates start with a romantic dinner and end with a soiled diaper from my baby boy and me forcing my toddler girl to eat her vegetables.

What’s your most important lesson about dating in Singapore?
Well, I think dating in Singapore can be enhanced to another level if only both men and women can open their minds and not have preconceptions.

What advice would you give to struggling local singletons?
Join the Date King dating service, coming soon! Complete with limo service and all-you-can-eat buffet.

Finally, describe your ideal girl.
My wife, of course… or Megan Fox feeding me carrot cake with a pair of chopsticks.

Date King is available at all major bookstores for $9.90 (www.epigrambooks.sg). See http://www.dateking.blogspot.sg for more.

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