Gurmit Singh: For the first time in my life, no one criticised me

Instead of being judged, actor–comedian earned praise for putting family first

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Photos: Zara Zhuang, Gurmit Singh (@gurmitgurmit) via Instagram
Video: Charlene Chong, Kimberly Tay

When he announced in December 2014 that he was leaving a full-time career at Mediacorp, instead of comments implying he was too weak to handle the pressure of being a celebrity, Gurmit Singh received an outpouring of support from friends and fans.

“For the first time in my life, not one (word of) criticism came my way,” the 51-year-old freelance artiste said.

In fact, so inspiring was his decision that he received positive posts and messages on social media, and three of his friends followed his example and quit their companies.

“I hope the boss is not angry with me!” Gurmit said with a laugh.

While he says he’s been told he’s not judgmental, as a special guest on Double Trouble’s May 27 episode, Gurmit led hosts Mark Lee and Kumar around a suburban mall, not to judge others on their looks or fashion sense, but to be on the receiving end of baseless criticism to comedic effect. (Catch up on the episode here.)

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Battered and bruised
But it hadn’t always been that way for Gurmit, who went through a rough patch early in his television career. His 1998 talk show Tonight with Gurmit was roundly bashed and he became dejected to the point of refusing to answer phone calls from the producer.

“I think as soon as I became a celeb in front of camera, I was straightaway put on a platform to be judged,” he recounted. “But that's how the media is — how the environment is — it's part and parcel of the job.”

The harsh criticism so discouraged him that he considered throwing in the towel, but friends pulled him back from the brink. “They said, ‘Look, there will always be naysayers, everyone has an opinion, but whether you want to give it credit is up to (you),’” Gurmit said.

Nowadays the critiques the actor–comedian receives from members of the public tend to lean towards the superficial. “People come to you and say, ‘Hey Gurmit, you're fat!’ Just like that, out of nowhere,” he said. “I didn't even ask them the question.”

“Or they’ll say, ‘Eh wah, you lost a lot of weight, you sick ah?’ From a compliment it became a bad thing!”


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