Taiwanese actress Ruby Lin’s newest project, Miss Andy, clinched the MM2 Creativity Award at the Golden Horse Film Project Promotion Awards Ceremony, held last Thursday (November 15). The award came with a grant of USD$10 000 (approximately SGD$13 742), a welcome relief for the actress’s first venture as a movie producer.
At the ceremony, Ruby shared that film is about the chance meeting between two illegal Vietnamese transgender workers in Malaysia.
Filming is scheduled to commence in April next year, and will take place in Malaysia. Ruby will also take on the role of a Vietnamese illegal worker for the movie. Though she will not be learning Vietnamese for the role, Ruby let on that she was worried about her Chinese accent.
“I’ll be heading to Malaysia a month before filming starts, to stay and learn how the locals speak,” she shared.
In other related news, Taiwanese actress Shu Qi, who was at the awards ceremony as a judge, shared more about her experience, quipping that it was “pretty fun, and I was given a salary as well”. She shared that she watched about 35 films at home, and that it was hard to make a decision.
“When I see the proposals of the young directors, I’ll think to myself, ‘Will I be inside?’. As an actress, I really wanted to take part (in the movies). I’m pretty happy to see the movie industry improving every year. It’s really something to be proud of, and to cheer on.”
To say that the underworld in upcoming Channel 8 drama Hello From The Other Side is an unconventional one would be an understatement.
For starters, there is air-conditioning. The "Courts of Hell", where one’s deeds in life are judged, looks more like the set of a game show. The "Gifts Hall", where burnt offerings from the living are sent, has a take-a-number system, like what you might find at the post office or a telco store. Very modern, and very different from what is depicted at Haw Par Villa or in Dante Alighieri’s poem Inferno.
Perhaps that’s why its staff are always in such a cheery mood, or at least, they were when we paid a visit to the set yesterday. Rui En, who plays a latte art-making grim reaper, was particularly smiley and full of things to gush about, including her co-star Shaun Chen.
"He’s changed so much [since we last worked together in The Journey: Our Homeland]," the 37-year-old actress told Toggle. "I’ve discovered that he really is the perfect husband and father. Sometimes during dinner breaks, he would specially rush home just to spend time with his family - you can see that they are really his priority now."
Likewise, Shaun had plenty of good things to say about Rui En, who is fresh out of a year-long showbiz hiatus. "She’s getting more and more awesome," he grinned. "It’s exciting to see her come back after a long break to show a better and more mature side."
Rui En scared Shaun Chen’s daughter?
It was on the set of Hello From The Other Side that Rui En got to meet Shaun’s wife Celine and daughters, Nellie and Neia, for the very first time. Chen Hanwei, who plays the boss of the underworld, along with a few crew members had secretly planned a surprise birthday celebration for Shaun on November 3 (his 40th birthday), and arranged for his brood to pop by.
"It was my birthday but I still had to go to work, so I thought it would a completely normal day with just a small cake or something, that’s it," he recalled. "I never imagined that my entire family would show up to visit me! It really was a surprise, and I’m so thankful for it."
Although Rui En didn’t get to interact much with his little girls, she was won over by how adorable they are (can’t say we blame her). She even noticed how Shaun seemed to pay more attention to his oldest, Nellie, who turns 3 in December.
The father-of-two was quick to explain this alleged display of favouritism. "She tends to get jealous of her sister; for example, if the younger one wants a hug, [Nellie] would quickly run over to ask for one as well, so I have to cuddle with them both at the same time!" he chuckled.
Rui En also shared a story of how her grim reaper getup may have traumatised poor Neia, who is just about a year and four months old. "That day I was wearing a black leather vest, so I think I may have looked a bit scary to her," she said. "I tried to approach her but she looked frightened; I think she’s also more shy, while the older one is more mischievous."
Rui En is recovering from her sickness
Due to the fantasy elements in the new drama, it’s no surprise that Hello From The Other Side contains a lot of stunt scenes and special effects. "It’s my first time working with so many green screens in the background," said Rui En. "It can be quite challenging at times but we’re all looking forward to seeing the final product."
The challenge, she elaborated, is in trying to picture something that will only be edited in during the post-production process. "The crew tries their best to describe what we should be reacting to, but there’s no proper reference, so it can be difficult," she said, before turning to Shaun and chuckling, "Does that mean we finally know what it’s like to work in a Hollywood film? I think so! (Laughs)"
Unfortunately, the long hours and copious amounts of action took a toll on Rui En, who fell sick last week (not that her fever could stop her from attending her fan club’s 10th anniversary celebration). But fret not, for she reassured us that she is well on the road to recovery.
"My body is recovering, but I still get tired easily so I try to get as much rest as I can and drink lots of water," she smiled, saying that she was "feeling much better" already during our chat. She also theorised that her feeling under the weather could be caused by a lack of sleep - she estimated that she gets just five hours of shut-eye a night, at most.
Oh dear. Let’s hope that as soon as she has the chance, Rui En will go from escorting the dead, to sleeping like the dead. She deserves it.
Are you a light or heavy packer? Organised or messy? A last minute packer or a well-prepared traveller?
These were a few burning questions we posed to the cast of Channel 8’s newest long-form drama series Jalan Jalan at the show’s press conference last month, where we invited them to bring and share with us some of their must-have travel essentials when they are on an overseas trip. It was an intimate session, to say the least, with the actors airing some of their insecurities and deepest, darkest secrets, and we had it all captured on camera.
We picked up a couple of interesting celebrity trivia about the cast of Jalan Jalan: there is a self-professed fitness nut who needs to work out every day when he’s travelling because of his sweet tooth; a gadget girl who can’t live without her arsenal of techy stuff (even though it weighs a ton); and an idiosyncratic traveller who packs two of everything, just to name a few…
To kick off this series, we have Dawn Yeoh, who plays big sister Zhang Wei Ru in Jalan Jalan, in the hot seat. Formerly trademarked by her incessant love for all things Hello Kitty and princess-y, Dawn told Toggle those days are long gone – although she still admits to being quite the ‘princess’ at home.
Despite her girlie demanour, Dawn is no glampacker (or at least, she’s no longer one – watch the video to below to find out more). Her most adventurous holiday saw her going on a backpacking trip to India, Calcutta and while it was “tough”, she has no qualms doing it all over again.
The 32-year-old also calls herself a reformed traveller and sees herself as a ‘minimalist’ and organised packer all thanks to her job.
“Work has trained my very well – I think I can pack my luggage in less than an hour ‘cos at the back of my mind I already know what I want to bring for trips. It’s very standard lah,” she quipped.
Unlike some of her other Jalan Jalan co-actors, she’s also not the type to take #OOTD (outfit of the day) shots wherever she goes. “If I’m going to nearby countries like Thailand, I won’t plan my OOTDs, but if I go to Europe or the US, obviously I will still plan my outfits like this is look #1, look #2. It’s like a runway show, you know?! (Laughs).”
Yup, we do.
“I want to take this opportunity to announce to the whole world that I actually have myopia and I really can’t make out the features of people if they are standing 100 metres away [and] I don’t wear contact lenses because I had a very bad experience with it which resulted in an eye infection. So my eyes tend to be a lot drier than normal and I need to use eye drops every day… These [my sunglasses] are my must-haves, but this particular pair has been with me for about a year plus? And I actually lost it three times but I’ve managed to find it each time. It’s very special to me.”
#2 Healthcare items like vitamins and 100 plus
“I’m concerned with my health now – not because of age, but because I recently have an Achilles heel problem… both my legs were swollen and really looked like pig trotters, so I couldn’t even walk normally and needed to be on a wheelchair. Even during filming, I was constantly on a wheelchair for as long as a month and a half. So supplements and multi-vitamins are a must now.
“This 100 plus is not a sponsored. There was once I was filming in Ipoh and it got quite tedious… filming every single day for three months… The environment is not ideal so I fell sick and I had very bad food poisoning. It was so bad I couldn’t even stand for a minute without going to the toilet, I’d either be puking or pooping – after drinking one can of 100 plus, I could immediately continue filming till night. Ever since then I realised it’s a life saver.”
#3 Beauty items
“…if you ask me about beauty necessities, it will be lipstick. Then, of course, [facial] masks are a must-have and a facial roller. A lot of people have asked me if this roller really works [and] I must say it works for me… There was once Jeremy [Chan] said that my eyes were very puffy, I immediately started massaging it with the roller and when I went back to the studio for filming, even the floor manager said I looked really good today. It’s a bit heavy but since it’s so small, I think it’s fine [to bring around].”
#4 Cup noodles
“A must especially [when you’re travelling] to cold countries like Finland. I once went to Finland and Norway for 14 days [and] I think I would have died without cup noodles. I went with four girlfriends so we [were each assigned food to bring from home] out – like who is to bring cup noodles and packet instant noodles etc. We can’t go without it! My favourite flavor is tom yum [because] you need spicy stuff when it gets cold. In the Scandinavian countries, it’s minus five degrees [and lower], the weather was very harsh. Even if you pour hot boiling water into the cup noodles, it immediately turns cold. It was quite a painful trip ‘cos it was too cold for any normal human being.”
“I need this in harsh cold weather too. I used it in London even though it was not as cold. But it was a wet kind of cold, to the extent where you won’t feel like stepping out of the hotel room. The corset keeps you warm [and it’s] even better than heat tech! Plus, with the corset, no matter how much you eat, you won’t put on weight! I tried it for a couple of trips already and I really didn’t put me on weight. It is uncomfortable lah, but you just have to bear with it.”
Taiwanese actress Summer Meng attended the launch event for a line of crystal jewellery in Taipei.
She shared that Christmas is her favourite holiday, and that when she was a child, her family would put up a Christmas tree in the house, and her father would even dress up as Santa Claus. "Now, my fiancé Mickey Huang is chubby enough to dress up as Santa - he doesn't even need a fake belly!" she joked.
When asked about what gifts they plan to get for each other over the holiday season, Summer gushed that she and Mickey always know what the other wants, even without discussing it. "For instance, he once bought me a piece of art from Joan Cornellà, an artist I've admired for a long time but never told him about before! We really have similar thinking."
Summer then shared that she intends to buy a crystal elf figurine for Mickey for Christmas, because, "It really looks like him with a hat on!"
Fan support is everything in showbiz, and for Rui En, she has been propped up by a group of very supportive people, through ups and downs, for the past 10 years. They are none other than RBKD – the official fan club of Rui En.
It was no wonder she had told them that they are her motivating force and her source of strength to get through a tiring shoot—even while running a temperature and only ending work for Hello From The Other Side after midnight the day before, at her fan club’s 10th anniversary celebration last Saturday. And made an exception to celebrate their 'birthday' although she's "never one to celebrate birthdays [and] never found the need to celebrate birthdays."
More than 40 members were present and some came in from as far as Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Batam, Indonesia to attend the celebrations.
According to a memo issued to the media by her fan club, Rui En was still nursing a temperature on Saturday but had stayed with them for the entire three-hour celebration aboard the Royal Albatross.
There was a cake-cutting session, small group interactions and a mini certificate presentation “ceremony” to recognise members who have been with the fan club for five to 10 years. Rui En was awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation, too, for her “trust and love for RBKD”.
In return, the actress prepared a sweet gift to thank her fan club for all they’ve done and to celebrate a decade of togetherness. The specially commissioned Croquembouche cake, made by award-winning Resorts World Sentosa chef Kenny Kong, consisted of 101 profiteroles in RBKD’s signature colours of black, white and gold atop a chocolate fudge cake.
The 37-year-old told her fan club that amidst her gruelling schedule, she would sometimes ‘forget’ who she was working so hard for, and their gathering was a ‘timely’ reminder to her that everything she has done was for them – because at the end of the day she knows they are there for her, waiting for her next drama.
“I am very grateful to have RBKD accompany me throughout my journey in this industry,” said Rui En through her manager. [I’m] especially happy to see so many familiar faces during this gathering today. 10 years is not an easy feat and I hope to continue the journey with you guys in the upcoming years. Thank you for your unconditional support and love.”
In a video message to fans, she said, "The path in showbiz and the path in acting has never been an easy one – and it’s quite a lonely one, I must say. But you guys have always been there and are still there. And I’m very grateful for that, very happy for that."
We never would have pegged Aloysius Pang as much of a foodie, but as we found out, he does take his meals quite seriously. Especially when it comes to seasoning.
“There is no chilli in Mongolia and Russia. No chilli!” he complained to us, banging his hand on the table softly for dramatic effect. “I didn’t bring my own because I didn’t expect them not to have it. One night they gave me an entire chilli pepper and expected me to bite into it like that.”
The 28-year-old actor had just returned from a two-month trip to those two countries (as well as China), where he was filming road trip saga From Beijing to Moscow, and we had the chance to catch up with him at a photoshoot with co-stars River Huang and Jojo Goh for the upcoming series last month.
Spice-less woes aside, Aloysius had a general longing for Singaporean fare (as any Lion City native who has ever been out of town for an extended period of time can likely relate to), and he certainly wasn’t the only one. “When we were there, everyone would start to talk about hokkien mee lah, chicken rice lah, laksa lah, and it ruins your appetite because you’re stuck eating chicken breast and steak,” he recalled, chuckling.
His cravings were apparently so bad that when we asked him to rate how homesick he was on a scale of 1 to 10, he picked 3 or 4 – without food being taken into consideration. “If you include food, then maybe 8,” he chuckled. “3 or 4 because my mum didn’t want me to call her! (Laughs)”
We can explain that shocking last point (it’s not as heart-breaking as it sounds). According to Aloysius, he tried making a call to his mother via WhatsApp on his first night in Beijing, but the connection was so laggy that she eventually got fed up and said to him in Mandarin, “Aiyah, don’t call me lah!” Poor Aloy.
Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean they cut off contact entirely during his trip. Instead, they stayed connected via text messages and voice recordings. “She does worry about me and wants to know where I am and how I’m doing, but all she needs is a text,” said Aloysius. “We’re a very traditional Chinese family so we don’t have to say much.”
Aloysius was approached by female college students “five or six times”
Well, Aloysius’s mum needn’t have worried so much about her son, because as he reported to us, he essentially spent most of his free time cooped up in his hotel room letting his creative juices flow. “I had my laptop with me so I was constantly writing a lot of things,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I even wrote rap and song lyrics!”
Aloysius went on to share that he’s been “looking at doing more things aside from just acting”, all of which are related to behind-the-scenes and production work. At the time of our conversation, he revealed that he had already penned 50 to 60 short film scripts, 35 to 40 of which were done during his two months abroad.
When we asked why he didn’t join the rest of the cast and crew on their sightseeing expeditions (work hard, play hard, right?), he shrugged and said, “Whenever they asked me to go with them, I would say, ‘Google lah, you’ll see enough’. I’m a terrible traveller, that’s all I can say! (Laughs)”
Instead, this undeniable introvert preferred to walk around city areas by himself. It was during his solitary explorations in Irkutsk, Russia that he made a pleasantly surprising discovery: that Russian girls dig Asian guys (or at least, Asian guys that look like Aloysius Pang).
He proved to be particularly popular among university students, who were open enough to approach him and try to chat him up, albeit “in a bunch of Russian I couldn’t understand”. “They would just talk until they realised there’s a language barrier, then laugh and go away,” he said, feigning a crestfallen expression. “To be honest I don’t even know if they were trying to pick me up because I didn’t know what they were saying, but it felt like a pick-up to me. (Laughs)”
Aloysius estimated that he got hit on “five or six times”, and quickly clarified that he “didn’t get it on” (if you know what we mean) with anyone. Still, he quipped, “I think I have a market there, so if I fail in Singapore, I’ll go to Russia!”
Aloysius Pang, a Russian babe magnet who takes his chilli very seriously. Who would’ve known?
Taiwanese singer-actor Aaron Yan revealed yesterday (November 13) on Instagram that his maternal grandmother has passed away.
Just last week, Aaron had found himself caught up in a media storm after his ex-boyfriend went to the media, alleging that the 32-year-old was a three-timer. At that time, it was reported that Aaron had all but disappeared, and that even his management agency could not contact him for a statement. Eventually, Aaron released his own statement denying the allegations. Another of Aaron’s ex-boyfriends also came forward to tell his side of the story, standing up for Aaron with regards to the cheating allegations.
After that, it was revealed through Aaron’s conversation with a fan that his grandmother, who he is said to be very close with, was currently hospitalised. As a result, he had been keeping her company in the hospital, which was why his company was unable to reach him initially.
According to reports, she had been diagnosed with cancer in August, and that the cancer cells had spread throughout her entire body. Her condition was then further complicated when she contracted pneumonia last week, landing her in the intensive care unit. At that time, she could only breathe with the help of a mechanical ventilator. Once he knew of his grandmother’s condition, Aaron immediately rushed back to be by her side.
In his post, Aaron wrote that he’d like to think that his grandmother has been brought away by his grandfather. He also hoped that she would “live well, and enjoy your time. Don’t worry about this clamorous world any longer.” Aaron also promised to “take good care of myself, to better myself”, ending his post with a declaration of love for her.
Aaron also touched on the matters of the past week, writing, “ I hope that you’ll be able to let love guide you, to progress on your life’s path, instead of negativity. Only love can nullify all setbacks, bruises and difficulties. I love my grandma, and I love you guys too. Thank you to everyone who has given me encouragement in this period.”
Aaron’s management agency, HIM International Music, also released a statement, thanking everyone for their concern. “Aaron's maternal grandmother passed away peacefully in the wee hours of the morning today. We earnestly request for everyone to give Aaron and his family some space, so that they can concentrate on settling the funeral arrangements, to give their final goodbyes to Aaron’s grandmother. Finally, we’ll like to thank everyone for their help.”
Hong Kong singer-actress Gillian Chung and her doctor fiancé, Michael Lai’s relationship has been pushed into the spotlight recently, after their marriage was announced in May this year.
Since then, the lovebirds have become guests on the reality show, Mum and Dad Preschool, where they will learn essential skills to better aid them as they start their own family.
In the latest episode for the show, the couple were tasked to share their displeasure with their other half, so that they could work together to overcome these issues. Although Gillian started out by saying that there was “nothing much to be displeased about”, she eventually shared that she feels that Michael has a strong sense of pride. She shared that even though Michael does not usually reveal this side of him in front of everyone, whenever they quarrel, he’ll tend to say a number of childish remarks.
When it was Michael’s turn to turn the tables on Gillian, he came prepared, with a long list of things to talk about, which led Gillian to remark that he had “written a whole book”. With a smile on his face, Michael shared that whenever he has his hands full, Gillian will tend to ask him to help her get water. “(I hope) that she can use her eyes to see what I’m doing (too),” he laughed.
Michael also revealed that he falls asleep almost immediately at night, but is often woken up by Gillian to help her with trivial things, such as shutting the windows. Sharing that he has to get up “around three times” each night as a result, he asked Gillian to change her ways, only for her to remark jokingly, “I can’t do anything, that’s my habit,” charming viewers with their bickering ways.
n case you’re wondering or came across this piece of fake news – no, Li Nanxing did not make millions of dollars after investing in Bitcoin as alleged in this fake article. The Ah Ge’s agency clarified in an Instagram post that they “have no idea what it does, how it works nor [is] anyone interested [in it].”
Do not be taken into it. The biggest giveaway in this bogus article, if you asked us, is the comma in “$4,7 million”. Nice try for passing off the article as a news piece from ‘First Look Asia’. We don’t think he’s ever guested on the same-name weekday breakfast news programme by Channel NewsAsia (CNA) too.
AL4HA – made up of vocalist Desmond Ng, guitarist Simon Lai and drummer Joe Lee unlocked a new milestone yesterday and held their first showcase at the X Music Entertainment Club.
The session, which was open to the public, spanned a good two hours as the trio performed both fast-paced tracks and mellow ballads for the 300-strong crowd. Among the celebrity friends spotted in the audience were Pierre Png, Rebecca Lim, Felicia Chin, Jeffrey Xu and Bonnie Loo, along with local musician Lee Wei Song.
The group rocked out to a set list comprising of tracks such as ‘Party Animals’, ‘Sun Wu Kong’ and ‘First Day’, along with AL4HA’s second and newest single, ‘Promise’. This was the first time that the song was performed live, and the music video was also played ahead of its official release online.
Another treat was presented to the audience when Ian Fang made an appearance on stage as a special guest performer as he performed ‘Still Me’ with Desmond, along with Nick Chou’s hit track, ‘So Handsome We Broke Up’.
On their official site, AL4HA explained the meaning behind their group name, which is that all three members are the alpha males of their respective specialties – singing, playing the guitar and drums. The trio, who have known each other for a long time decided that it was time for them to pursue their dreams, which led to the formation of the group. With the formation of AL4HA, they hope to produce music from the heart, and push themselves to grow musically at the same time.