Fully booked Schooling is clearly hot property

Joseph Schooling signing an autograph for Jenna Wong, seven, at a session for his photo book titled Hello, My Name Is Joseph Schooling at Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City.
Joseph Schooling signing an autograph for Jenna Wong, seven, at a session for his photo book titled Hello, My Name Is Joseph Schooling at Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Young and old, hundreds of Singaporeans descended upon Ngee Ann City's Kinokuniya main store yesterday just to catch a glimpse of Singapore's Golden Boy, Joseph Schooling.

Landlord Soh Beng Tiong, 59, was at the store since 9am - some five hours before the swim star was scheduled to arrive for the signing of his photo book titled Hello, My Name Is Joseph Schooling.

Not only did she get her copy of the book signed, but she also presented the 21-year-old with a bouquet of red and white roses.

Soh, who said she bought 100 copies of the book, added: "I gave 90 copies back to the bookstore and kept 10 for myself.

"I'm a strong supporter of Joseph, and I salute him for bringing such glory to our country."

Meanwhile, 10-year-old Rayner Grignani, who was with his father Robert, was the first to get his book and swimming cap signed.

Said the United World College pupil, a Singapore PR: "I'm really happy I met him, and proud that he was fast enough to beat Michael Phelps and win the gold medal."

Organisers had given out 150 queue tickets, but about 350 more people swarmed the corridors along the bookshelves to catch Schooling in action.

The swimmer spent more than an hour at Kinokuniya, before making his way to a private event at the Hugo Boss store in the same building, where he signed more books.

There, he also participated in a question-and-answer session where talk turned to his love life.

"As long as you know what you need to do and your priorities, it shouldn't be a factor. But right now, no, I don't have a girlfriend," he replied to the 200-odd people in attendance.

Speaking to the media afterwards, he said: "(Today) was really busy but I had a lot of fun. Usually events can be pretty tiring but this one was more relaxed.

"I'm just trying to enjoy as much as I can, show my buddy around and meet new people - it's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to that."

Today, Schooling will sign two books - From Kid To King and Schooling Joseph - published by Straits Times Press for the first 50 buyers in the queue at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre.

Both are authorised biographies and written by current and former Straits Times sports journalists.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2016, with the headline 'Fully booked Schooling is clearly hot property'. Print Edition | Subscribe