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21 Jan 2008

muscle war 2008

Fridae's Muscle Maiden, Alvin Tan, fails to pass off as a contestant for Ms Body Fitness but still manages to file his report on Muscle War 2008.

For the past months, I have been visiting my gym religiously to add muscular definition to my already celestial body but mostly to work on my legs which had about as much muscle mass between them as Keira Knightley's left arm.

From top: Daniel Zhang, Desmond Lee, Travis Neo and unidentified contestant 12. Photos by Stuart Koe.
With my training routine, I was convinced that I would be able to go undercover backstage as a contestant in the Miss Body Fitness contest at this year's Muscle War 2008 organised by the National University of Singapore's Health & Fitness Club.

After all, how hard could it be?

If Denise Richards can play a nuclear physicist in James Bond's The World Is Not Enough, I should be able to pass off as a Miss Body Fitness contestant - especially since the female bodybuilders I know have hair on their upper lips and are virtually indistinguishable from their male counterparts from behind.

On the day of the competition, I was making my way to the competitors' tent behind the stage with a spy camera hidden in my Dior compact a la Maggie Q in Mission Impossible III when I was stopped and barred from entering by the student security.

Despite my insistence that I was a Miss Body Fitness contestant and my execution of a front double biceps pose ending with a perfectly executed split, the student security told me that I could not be a Miss Body Fitness contestant because the contest had been cancelled! Curses!

Thwarted, I made my way to join Fridae's CEO and fellow bodybuilding bessie, Stuart Koe, who was seated in the centre section near the front of stage with his professional-looking camera and tripod all set up and ready for action.

Held for the first time in Vivocity's amphitheatre, Muscle War 2008 is Singapore's most anticipated annual competition for muscular student bodies and naturally attracted a record turnout of muscle maniacs and maidens.

However, unlike past Muscle Wars, the buffed boys competing in the Tertiary Class Bodybuilding 170 cm & below as well as 178 cm & below categories were a letdown compared to muscled men in the Open category.

There were contestants who were severely malnourished (too many to name), a contestant who resembled Stripe from Gremlins (Contestant 25, 178 cm & below) and another who looked as if he had fallen into a coal vault seconds before he went onstage (Contestant 26, 178 cm & below, who should really go easy on the pro-tan).

The exception was Contestant 40 (170 cm & below), the playful Daniel Zhang, who returned to the competition wearing the same purple trunks he wore for Muscle War 2007 and upon whom Fridae would like to confer its Muscle War Awards for "Best Hair" and "Best Personality."

(Editor's Note: Daniel Zhang was also one of CLEO's Most Eligible Bachelors for 2007 and featured in Alvin Tan's Bachelors Bonanza 2007.)

The muscle mentertainment truly began when the contestants in Muscle War's Open Competition stormed (and overcrowded) the stage and nearly caused a minor flooding incident as members of the audience drooled uncontrollably (except for yours truly who came prepared with a bib).

Many muscle worshippers were also said to have suffered from spontaneous nosebleeds when Contestant 23 (Second Runner-Up), Desmond Lee, appeared onstage with his muscle bound frame clad in a pair of trunks which appeared to be held together by strings.

Despite having eyebrows which were too well-plucked for my taste, the delectable Desmond remained the clear winner for Fridae's Muscle War Awards for "Best Face" and "Most Tempting Trunks."

(Confession: I had to refrain from leaping onstage and mauling Desmond the way Richard Gere mauled Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness rally in India.)

Likewise, when Contestant 30 (Winner), Travis Neo, started to flex his bulging biceps and turning on his mega-watt smile, I could have sworn that many in the audience (including yours truly) broke the existing Guinness World Record for "furthest eyeball popper."

For this writer, Travis is the well-deserved winner of two Fridae's Muscle War Awards: the "Best Body" Award and - because he had thighs so massive that he must have had to rub mayonnaise on them before he could put on his posing trunks - the "Most Tantalising Thighs" Award.

There were also other contestants in the Open Competition worth mentioning, including Contestant 55 who executed his bodybuilding poses with a wedgie (thereby winning him Fridae's "Best Butt Cheeks" Award) and Contestant 38 who obviously failed to receive the memo that lycra posing trunks are illegal for fat people.

The most memorable contestant, however, had to be Contestant 12 who was conferred Fridae's "Most Developed Love Muscle" Award after he debunked the myth that all bodybuilders are about as well endowed as a sparrow with his sizable salami thrusting outward and forward like a divining rod in search of water.

With such a visually rewarding line-up of muscle men in the Open Competition, Muscle War 2008 (despite the bougainvillea wilting afternoon heat) was definitely worth making the trip down to Vivocity.



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