Three Fat Virgins

An acclaimed playwright in Singapore, Ovidia Yu has dramatized the situation of Singaporean women in plays both serious and humorous. Her name is frequently linked with her 1991 comedy “Three Fat Virgins Unassembled.” Below is an extract that gives the flavor of this seminal play.

 

from “Three Fat Virgins Unassembled”
by Ovidia Yu

 

WOMAN

Inside every fat virgin is a thin schoolgirl.
There is no sadness like the inner sadness of fat virgins and skinny schoolgirls.
There is no sadness like the sadness of a dreamy schoolgirl trapped inside the body of a fat virgin.
This has nothing to do with penis envy.
It is usually men that suffer from penis envy.

VIRGIN A
If a woman wants a penis she can buy one in a sex shop. Only there aren’t that many sex shops in Singapore.

[TELEVISION COOKING PRESENTATION STYLE]

Ladies, what you can use as an alternative is the common cucumber or tseng gwa.
But make sure that you wash it carefully first, because not all cucumbers are Green and cucumbers that come from Cameron Highlands may have pesticides on their skin that can give you an ugly rash.
You can wash your cucumber with douche.
Or better still, you can slip a condom over it.

[COAXES CONDOM OVER CUCUMBER AND LOVES IT UP A LITTLE WITH HER HANDS]

Cucumbers that come straight out of the fridge can give you a nasty shock. So unless you like that sort of thing, plan ahead and leave your cucumber out in the sun for two or three hours until it is soft and pliable. Then peel off the skin just before you are ready to use it.
And afterwards, if you really want to, you can make achar.

[STRIPS OFF CONDOM AND CHOPS UP CUCUMBER EFFICIENTLY]

That is one of the many advantages of using cucumbers instead of using a man.
It is also much cheaper.
If you want to know more about cucumbers, send for our free recipe book.
If you want to know more about men, call my boss.
His name is Mr Ong.

WOMAN
[FLAT ENGINEER VOICE]
I am a man.
I am Mavis Wee’s boss. My name is T.M. Ong. I used to work in SIA but now I work in a private company. I am a firm man with a sense of humour and a big house. I am strict with my sons but I spoil my daughter.
I don’t have affairs in the office so I consider myself a very upright and moral man. I know that a lot of my senior staff play around. I don’t mind as long as it does not distract them from their work.
I like to joke around with them to make them realise that I am just one of the boys.
To be fair to Mavis Wee, I also joke around with her, to show her that she is also one of the boys as far as I am concerned.
Mavis! Come into my office for a moment.

VIRGIN A
Do you want me to bring in the quality control report from HDB?

WOMAN
Yes, yes, bring it in, bring it in.

[VIRGIN A BRINGS THE REPORT INTO THE OFFICE]

WOMAN
Is this it?

VIRGIN A
Yes. And I think it’s quite complete. Will that be all?

WOMAN
Hmm. I see.
On your way home?

VIRGIN A
Yes, unless there’s something else…

WOMAN
No, no. Nothing else.
I think I might go for a massage. What do you think, Mavis?

VIRGIN A
Sounds like a good idea. Well, have a good one, T.M.

WOMAN
Have you ever gone for a professional massage?

VIRGIN A
No…

WOMAN
It’s very good you know. Relaxes you… you just lie there… it loosens all the tension out of your body. Out of your shoulders, especially. You should try it. Especially as you are sitting down at your desk all day.

VIRGIN A
Well, I swim off the tension. In fact, I’m off to the pool──

WOMAN
I think you should try it, you know, Mavis. But of course, I don’t know how they finish it off for women. You should try it and let me know; you know what I mean?

VIRGIN A
I don’t see why it should be any different, Mr Ong. Well, I’ll see you──

WOMAN
Let me ask you one question, Mavis. Do you know what is a powder massage?

VIRGIN A
I don’t know.

WOMAN
What do you think?

VIRGIN A
I suppose… when you get a massage with powder instead of with oil?

WOMAN
Ha, that’s what you think, is it?
Well, let me tell you something that you don’t know.
When the girl has finished your massage she will give you a powder massage… you get the idea? To release the tension from all parts of your body completely she will use her hands and give you a powder massage. You can ask Jack. He introduced me to this health club at the Paramount Hotel──

VIRGIN A
I don’t really talk to Jack that much──

WOMAN
You should you know. You might learn something. He’s a very interesting chap.
You know what the girl at the Health Club told me? Her name is Soriya.

VIRGIN A
I have no idea.

WOMAN
She told me, your friend Jack comes here quite often.

VIRGIN A
Oh, really?

WOMAN
They all know Jack down there. Do you know what else she told me?

VIRGIN A
I’m sure you’ll tell me.

WOMAN
She told me, your one is six and a half inches, not bad, quite average… but your friend’s one is six and three quarter inches! These girls I tell you, they know everything!

VIRGIN A
[Coldly] Why are you telling me this?

WOMAN
Just for your information.

[VIRGIN A LEAVES THE OFFICE]

VIRGIN B
I am a man.
I am Mavis Wee’s colleague, Jack.

[VIRGIN B/JACK GOES INTO THE OFFICE]

VIRGIN B
So, T.M., how’s things going!

WOMAN
Today something very funny happened!
I told Mavis Wee about the powder massage.
You should have seen her face!
Ha! Ha! Ha!

VIRGIN B
I am a bit intimidated by Mavis Wee.
But I know how to carry balls in the right places.
Ha! Ha! Ha!

WOMAN
She didn’t know what to say!
I had to explain to her what a powder massage is!
Ha! Ha! Ha!

VIRGIN B
Ha! Ha! Ha!
These virgins can’t take a joke.

WOMAN
This Mavis Wee. She is a joke.

VIRGIN A
A powder massage is when you grind a man into powder.
With a SEA Games gold medal in judo, I can still grind my boss into powder.
But I don’t.
I am not sure about certain things.
Virgins can’t always tell where the dividing line between a joke and sexual harassment is, exactly.
When it is your boss.
It is usually a joke.

VIRGIN B
I think I’m being sexually harassed in the office.

VIRGIN A
Take it. If you can’t take it, leave it.

VIRGIN C
Men. You can’t live with them and you can’t turn them into sushi.

VIRGIN A
Or tempura.

VIRGIN B
Or sashimi.

VIRGIN A
Sashimi maybe can.

ALL
Hmmmm…

VIRGIN C
But how can you eat your man?
As it is, I am already always warning my little daughter, don’t put strange things in your mouth.
And sometimes I wonder, who am I to tell her this?

 

End of extract

 

This version of the play is based on a rehearsed reading directed by Ong Keng Sen of Theatreworks in 1991. The cast was:

WOMAN: Claire Wong
VIRGIN A: Jacinatha Abisheganaden
VIRGIN B: Nora Nordin
VIRGIN C: Valerie d’Costa

 

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After writing 30 plays in 20 years, Ovidia Yu is now writing a series of Singaporean mystery novels. Aunty Lee’s Delights was published by William Morrow in 2013. Its sequel, Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials, followed in Fall 2014.

“Three Fat Virgins Unassembled” was collected with other Singaporean plays from Theatreworks Writers Lab in the volume entitled Fat Virgins, Fast Cars and Asian Values (Times Books International). It has been reprinted recently in Eight Plays by Ovidia Yu (Epigram Books), which also includes Yu’s award-winning The Woman in a Tree on a Hill and Hitting (on Women).

 

About Jee Leong Koh

My book of poems Steep Tea (Carcanet) was named a Best Book of 2015 by UK's Financial Times, and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. I also wrote three other books of poems and a book of zuihitsu. My work has been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian and Latvian. Originally from Singapore, I live in New York City, where I edit the arts blog Singapore Poetry, and run the Second Saturdays Reading Series and the Singapore Literature Festival in NYC.

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