He was kissed by male strangers, hit by a wayward Lionel Messi free kick and got drenched with beer that had been flung in the air by jubilant fans in his five weeks in Russia.
Yesterday evening, The Straits Times' sports correspondent David Lee shared his experiences covering the 2018 World Cup with about 120 people at a public talk at the Central Public Library. It was organised jointly by ST and the National Library Board (NLB).
Lee, a journalist with The New Paper and ST for about nine years, was the only reporter from Singapore Press Holdings who covered football's showpiece event this year, which France won after they beat Croatia 4-2 in the final.
During the 90-minute askST@NLB session, the 33-year-old spoke about topics such as working under deadline pressure while thinking on his feet, and having to juggle readers' demand for news on different platforms.
"In the modern era, it is not just about filing print or online stories," he explained. "Short videos about the sights and sounds in Russia, showing our followers what they otherwise would not have seen off the pitch, also formed an important part of ST's coverage."
He recounted how he enjoyed the food - even getting to taste horse meat - and marvelled at Moscow's opulent metro stations. And how language and cultural barriers were broken when he played Fifa 18 with locals at an Internet cafe.
Lee also fielded questions about various topics, like whether he was concerned about the security at the World Cup, and what Singapore can learn from small countries such as Croatia (population 4.2 million) and Iceland (335,000), which competed in Russia.
"Covering the World Cup would often be considered the highlight of any sports journalist's career," he said. "It was a privilege for me to have covered it for ST and I am glad I also got the chance to share my journey with readers."
Aspiring sports journalist Tan Yu Ming was at the talk with his younger brother Yu Kai, eight, and father Soon Liang.
"The talk was very interesting; we got to hear him talk about things that we wouldn't see on television," said the 11-year-old Yu Ming, who stayed behind with his family to chat with Lee. "It was just a pity that he couldn't stay longer and talk more about his experience."
The talk was streamed live on the Rings.TV application, which had more than 1,200 views. The live streaming video can be replayed via the Rings.TV app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, or Google Play Store.