In Line Walker (使徒行者), we see almost every character (save one) go undercover at some point or the other. This will inevitably prompt discussions about how Singapore should make an undercover cop drama (film, television, or otherwise), which is an exciting proposition!

Except… it’s not going to work in Singapore, not in this day and age anyway. It’s a small country and there are hardly enough abandoned tunnels for undercover cops and their handlers to meet (and half of those abandoned tunnels would be blocked by a broken down train anyway). Then there are our Hardware Zone sleuths who will track down the name, mobile number, and favourite Extra Value Meal of any wrongdoer who’s unfortunate enough to be Stomped. Undercover cops don’t stand a chance here.

Here are the six biggest problems facing undercover cops in Singapore.

1. Multiple identification numbers to keep track of

What's your passport number? Credit: Mothership

What’s your passport number? Credit: Mothership

By the time you’re 21, you’ll have memorised your IC number, since it’s a mandatory field in many forms and online logins. If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll have to memorise your passport number as well. Then there’s the favourite bank account number that you want people to fund transfer to, your voicemail PIN, and the WiFi password to your house. That’s five numbers already.

If you’ve got a second identity, that’s another five numbers you have to memorise. Can you imagine memorising ten numbers and always having to know which one is the right one? Key in the wrong number for one of your identities, and your cover is blown – someone will know that you and your cover identity are the same person.

2. If you’re Chinese Christian, you have a million names to keep track of

Everyone loves forms. Credit: British Council

Everyone loves forms. Credit: British Council

Just like with the identification numbers above, you have to know when to respond to the right name. If you’re a typical Chinese, then you have a Chinese name (in dialect), a Chinese name (in hanyu pinyin), a surname (in dialect), a Chinese name (in hanyu pinyin), and a Christian name. If you’re Christian, then you might get another name when you’re baptised. So if you’re a Chinese Christian, you have six names to respond to, and if you’re also going undercover as a Chinese Christian, you’ll have to remember to respond to twelve names.

Twelve names! That’s not including nicknames and pet names. At some point, you’re going to respond to the wrong name, and again your cover gets blown. And you know where this is most likely to happen? When you’re ordering a drink at Starbucks.

3. You need another mobile number to activate 2FA for Singpass

Public service announcement: Have you done your Singpass 2FA? Credit: Channel Newsasia

Public service announcement: Have you done your Singpass 2FA? Credit: Channel Newsasia

2-factor authentication (that’s where online portals SMS you just to double confirm that you are really you when you log in) can generally all be sent to the same phone – unless it’s Singpass. You’ll need to get another mobile number to activate 2FA for Singpass (which you should have done by now!). So on top of all those names and registration numbers, you’ll have to get another mobile number number and worry about exceeding your data cap for yet another plan.

Memorising all those numbers sounds worse than A-Level F Maths.

4. Taxes

IRAS. Credit: The Business Times

IRAS. Credit: The Business Times

So a cover identity means an IC number – which means taxes. SPF has to be paying you somehow, so do they pay your real bank account or your cover bank account? If you’re earning money from your cover identity job, does it go into the same account as your undercover cop salary does? If you’re taxed according to your separate identities’ income, but your total combined income would actually put you in a higher tax bracket, aren’t you committing tax fraud?

Confusing, right? Your CPF is going to be another headache. There’s two Minimum Sums to keep track of, then you’ll need to figure out your loan repayment rate if you buy a HDB flat (or two), and… I shudder to think of what else.

5. Everyone lives within two hours of each other.

Singapore's really quite small. Credit: Wikipedia

Singapore’s really quite small. Credit: Wikipedia

Unless one identity stays in Pasir Ris and the other identity stays at Joo Koon, one of your neighbours is going to bump into you at some point when you’re in the wrong identity. Singapore is only so small, after all, and there are only those few Michelin star restaurants you can hang out at. And it’s not like you can stay in either Pasir Ris or Joo Koon for the entirety of your undercover operations – what, you’re going to deny a late night supper jio by your gangster boss?

So the places you can go in Singapore are limited.

6. You will be exposed during Chinese New Year

Let the Chinese New Year questioning commence! Credit: The Star Online

Let the Chinese New Year questioning commence! Credit: The Star Online

So back to all those poor Chinese undercover cops. When it’s time for Chinese New Year, what is the favourite question relatives like to ask? That’s right, your job. You better have an amazing story all cooked up, because those aunties are going to pry and pry and pry until they discover you’re lying, or the bak kwa has been finished. And if they discover you’re an undercover cop, the your entire family will know.

Guess you’ll have a reason to skip Chinese New year if you’re an undercover cop.

Line Walker (使徒行者). Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Line Walker (使徒行者). Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Fortunately, the cops in Line Walker (使徒行者) don’t have that problem – they’re too busy trying not to blow their cover! This film adaptation of the hit TVB serial brings the complex web of lies and deceit to the big screen, helmed by big stars Louis Koo and Nick Cheung! Charmaine Sheh reprises her role as Ding Jie for this film.

Catch Line Walker (使徒行者) and see if they have any Chinese New Year problems to worry about!

 

Credits: Mothership, British Council, Channel Newsasia, The Business Times, Wikipedia, The Star Online, Golden Village Cinemas