No 'Uniquely Singapore' marriage proposal for Bobby Tonelli

He confirm-plus-guarantee-chop won't pop the question by asking his girlfriend if she'd like to apply for a flat


Photos: Toh Zi Yi, Mediacorp Channel 5, Tata Cahyani/Instagram

The King of Fruits, durian, has a reputation that far precedes its famed pungent smell. Much like Taiwan’s stinky tofu, you either love it, or hate it.

For Singapore-based American actor-host Bobby Tonelli, he used to stand firmly in the “hate it” camp.

“When I first came to Singapore, I had durian and frog legs, and I couldn’t stand both of it,” he shared in an interview at the media conference for Channel 5’s new info-ed show Steady Lah!, which he co-hosts together with Lush 99.5FM deejay Rosalyn Lee (also known as Rozz).

“I still don’t like frog legs, but now, I love durian,” Bobby let on.

His love-hate relationship with the fruit started in 2009, when he was filming for Channel 8 drama New Beginnings. He played the husband-to-be of local actress-host Jade Seah in the show.

“We had to film a gatecrashing ceremony, where I had to eat durian. Bu I couldn’t stand the fruit,” he recounted. “Tay Ping Hui was in that drama as well, and he told me, ‘You might not like durian now, but the more you eat it, the more you’ll like it.’ I had to eat three to four seeds and I almost gagged the first time I ate it.”

But lo and behold, Ping Hui’s words held true, and by the time Bobby was done with his scene, he saw the fruit in new light.

“I guess you can say that Tay Ping Hui taught me how to like durian,” the 41-year-old laughed, adding that he prefers the sweeter variety.


However, the King of Fruits will not be making any special appearances in Steady Lah!. Instead the show will take a light-hearted look at how Singaporeans build community bonds and celebrate diversity, with hosts Rozz and Bobby posing uniquely Singaporean challenges to a group of foreigners who have set up homes in Singapore. Challenges include being a tour guide or a hawker for a day, becoming a dragon-boater and more.

“The Hawker for a Day episode was good. We had a good time doing the coffee, I had so many cups of kopi! I was literally speaking so fast, Rozz even asked me if I was okay,” Bobby laughed, imitating the sound of a machine gun.

With filming more or less completed for the eight-episode series, Bobby, who first set foot in Singapore in 1997, proclaimed he’d be very “steady lah” if he were a participant on the show.

He may, however, have problems coping with the cooking portions. “I’m not really a good cook," he laughed.

(Continued on next page: What’s next for Bobby Tonelli in 2017?)

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