Photos: Zara Zhuang, Gurmit Singh (@gurmitgurmit) via Instagram
Video: Kimberly Tay
Gurmit Singh concedes he hasn’t got a great long-term memory.
The actor and television presenter once had to memorise 30 contestants’ names when he hosted Miss Singapore Universe, but he told the impressed ladies he wouldn’t remember them after two weeks.
Then, at a Channel 5 event three weeks later, his prediction came true. “Some ladies came along and asked to sit next to us and looked at me expectantly to be recognised,” he said. “I was like, Why are you looking at me like that?”
“‘Gurmit, you were right, you weren’t lying.’”
“‘Sorry, lying about what? Who are you?’”
But despite the memory lapse, Gurmit will be hosting Don’t Forget to Remember, Channel 5’s upcoming game show that tests its contestants’ power of recall. The 23-part series will see three teams of two players compete during each episode to snag the top prize, which can climb to more than S$10,000.
The debut episode will feature Mediacorp radio DJs - Class 95FM’s Muttons and Yasminne Cheng, GOLD 905’s Vernetta Lopez and Mike Kasem, and 987 FM's Joakim Gomez - as contestants. Cast members from Tanglin, including Nat Ho, Fauzie Laily and Jae Liew, will make an appearance on a separate episode.
Gurmit’s most recent Channel 5 hosting gig was Don’t Forget the Lyrics in 2008. “This is the second game show I’m hosting, and both their titles contain ‘Don’t Forget,’” he mused.
It must be a sign.
Gurmit’s wife, Melissa Wong, more than makes up for what the 51-year-old funnyman lacks in memory skills.
“Whoa, my wife’s memory — she remembers what shirt I was wearing on the day we met, what happened during our wedding and our wedding anniversaries,” Gurmit said. “It’s scary, I think she has a camera that records everything everywhere she goes.”
If he were a contestant on Don’t Forget to Remember instead of its host, he has every confidence he would score the top prize — but only if his wife were his partner. “I wouldn’t do anything at all,” he said. “My wife would be the one answering (the questions) and I would just be there smiling and be a mascot.”
In fact, it was Melissa who encouraged him to take up this project. “My wife put it to the next level, and she said it’s a good marketing strategy so that you’re still in people’s minds,” Gurmit said.
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Since he ceased being a full-time Mediacorp artiste in late 2014, Gurmit has been devoting more time to his family. Filming for Don’t Forget to Remember has to take a break during the June school holidays because the father of three has plans to go on a family vacation then.
Though Gurmit has expressed unhappiness at having to miss family events and holidays because of his work, he didn’t mind that he had filming on his 51st birthday, on March 24, as the Don’t Forget to Remember crew surprised him with chocolate cake and a birthday message flashed on a giant screen.
The television host spent the evening with his wife and children, talking, joking and receiving birthday presents, “which they bought with my money,” he said.
But instead of holding a bash in a restaurant, Gurmit’s family stayed in. “Sometimes it’s nice to be home because I don’t have to worry about people looking at me or trying to take pictures from two tables away,” he said.
Don’t Forget to Remember debuts May 9, 7.30 p.m. on Channel 5. You can sign up to take part in the game here.
Catch up on Don’t Forget the Lyrics here