When Mr Raymond Lei appeared in Ngee Ann Poly campus on May 12, scores of students rushed down to catch a glimpse of the overnight TikTok sensation and danced with him for his TikTok channel, which now has 30,000 followers (and counting).
The Guangdong native shot to fame in Singapore after he posted a 15-second clip, featuring him and his friend Lily dancing to Tanja Thomas’s “One Way Ticket (To The Blues)” at a bus stop. Their quirky dance has clocked 1.6 million views (and counting).
He’s shared many more videos of him dancing in various parts of Singapore and the clips are always captioned “Thanks for meeting. Be happy.” This was a line he wrote on a piece of paper for a fan, and he’s since used it as his tagline.
Who is Raymond?
In an interview with The UrbanWire, Mr Lei said he used to work as a general manager in the finance department of a Chinese company before he was head-hunted to work here in 1998. That’s when he got his English name, Raymond. He’s since settled down here as he loves the lifestyle, environment and even the hot and humid weather in Singapore.
Mr Lei is married with two sons. Both sons have completed National Service and are Singaporeans.
While his family didn’t expect his dance clips to go viral, they are supportive of his TikTok adventure. “As long as I am happy, they are happy for me,” Mr Lei said.
Why He Dances
Mr Lei started using Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok before migrating to TikTok in 2020.
He was too shy to dance in public places at first. It was Lily, his “partner in crime” in several clips, who gave him the courage to let loose and have fun.
“As long as I am not obstructing anything and being a nuisance to the public, I can dance freely anywhere with no fear now,” Mr Lei said.
He added that as Lily’s moves are more sensual and graceful, he wants his dance routine to be more powerful and energetic.
Mr Lei is best known for dancing to a cover of Faye Wong’s 1999 track, “A Century of Loneliness” (百年孤寂). So, will he choose a different song?
“Yes, definitely! There is no way I can use this song forever but I won’t be changing the song for now as it is still helping me gain popularity and audiences,” said Mr Lei.
Haters, Back Off!
While Mr Lei gets many fan mails on TikTok, there are the occasional haters who might leave insulting messages.
“It is fine when they attack the way I dance, the way I look or even my purpose of doing such videos,” said Mr Lei. “However, they are not allowed to insult my family.”
When this happens, Mr Lei said he wouldn’t hesitate to block the users. Thankfully, he’s only had to block two haters so far.
This is probably why he insists that his sons shouldn’t appear in his TikTok channel. “If they want to film a TikTok together with me, I would not allow so because I do not want to put them in any danger,” Mr Lei said. “But they are free to film TikTok videos without me inside.”
So, where are Uncle Raymond’s most and least favourite spot to dance in Singapore? Watch this clip to find out!