Photos: Wu Qi
Video: Foong Mien Shi
What did it take for local actor Andie Chen, who is usually calm and collected, to get all emotional during his interview with xinmsn yesterday? His 4-month-old son Aden, of course.
The 29-year-old, along with cast members Li Nanxing, Chris Tong, Chen Hanwei, Jeanette Aw, Romeo Tan, Shaun Chen, Felicia Chin, Desmond Tan, Carrie Wong and Brandon Wong, attended the press conference of Ch8’s blockbuster series The Journey: Tumultuous Times held at InterContinental Hotel yesterday.
In the drama, Andie plays Hong Dang Yong, the eldest son of Hong Shi (Desmond Tan) and Ya Zi (Jeanette Aw). Idealistic and fuelled by his passion for revolution, Dang Yong joined the anti-colonialism forces and was heavily involved in the fight for Singapore’s independence.
In June, the cast spent three months in Ipoh filming the drama. Sleeping only two hours every day for two weeks took a toll on Andie, who almost collapsed from exhaustion.
Did the actor especially pine for his wife, Taiwan-born MediaCorp actress Kate Pang, during those tough times?
“I missed my bed more, (laugh)” Andie chuckled. “I was so busy and drained that the only time I could call her was in the toilet, while ‘making big businesses’!”
Now, is being an actor or a dad more exhausting?
“If you are talking about other shows, being a dad is more tiring. But when you compare it with Tumultuous Times, that is definitely more taxing!” he cried.
When asked to rate his performance in regard to fatherly chores (such as changing diapers and bathing the baby), the first-time dad unabashedly gave himself 80 marks, confident that his wife would give the same score.
A self-professed hands-on dad, Andie said: “I think I’m pretty good! I wouldn’t say that I am a perfect dad because I can’t breastfeed him, but I try my best to help out. Even when Kate goes out to exercise for a few hours, I can manage quite well.”
Andie can never get mad at his son
Visibly excited at the mention of his son, Andie, who is amazed by the changes the child has brought to his life, lovingly described Aden as “a piece of blank paper that has so much goodness and purity”.
During Kate’s pregnancy, Andie remained “cool and rational” about his impending fatherhood, thinking that it was just a part of life’s processes. Without bearing excessive expectations, all he planned was to become a responsible dad and to raise the child well. Little did he know that the new member in his family could stir so many emotions in him.
“When you’re growing up, you want to become strong and successful. When you get older, you hope to contribute more to the society. When I look at my son, I see hope and I believe that he can do better than me, so I cannot let him down,” the teary-eyed actor shared.
From the pictures on Aden’s Instagram, the boy appears to be a very cheerful baby. “Yes he is! He’s a born optimist. He only cries when he is hungry or when his diaper is soiled. Otherwise, he is always smiling,” Andie said with pride. “He brings a lot of joy to us. It may be tedious to look after him, but Kate is so happy every day. Aden is a beautiful burden.”
Surprisingly candid throughout the interview, Andie confessed that he used to cringe when parents praise their own kids for being adorable. But now, the father of one has joined the league.
“I can’t help going ‘so cute’ whenever I see Aden! Last night, I was quite fatigued from the promotional activities, but I didn’t sleep well because Aden wouldn’t stop kicking my face! Despite my grogginess when I woke up, I couldn’t get mad at him because he is so cute!” he chortled.
Baby number two in the making?
Andie and Kate recently started a YouTube channel named Kandie Network, where the couple intends to share their parenting experience, starting from the actress’ natural childbirth at her Taiwan home. “Kate is an awesome mum. She did a lot of homework, read many books and is probably more knowledgeable than many parents,” Andie declared.
Currently, Andie is in charge of all production procedures (from filming to editing) of the videos that are published on the non-profit channel. While it is time-consuming, the dedicated chap hopes to continue creating new content.
In addition, Andie hinted that his wife, who is in the midst of discussion with the company, could be returning to the small screen very soon. Determined to place his loved ones on the top of his priority list, the actor divulged his plans for the family of three to stay in Singapore next year. Andie has also decided to reduce his work load in 2015, as long as he can afford it financially. “Wifey, hurry and return to work!” he laughed.
And that came from a guy who will be spending a five-figure sum on his son’s upcoming baby party, where nearly 200 guests have been invited. “Aden is already 4 months old, but many of our relatives and friends have never seen him in real life (as he had been staying in Taiwan with Kate), so it’s a chance for everyone to meet him and to share our happiness! It is also a show of respect for the elders,” Andie explained.
However, the couple, who are not fond of weddings, will not be throwing a belated banquet anytime soon. In the event that they do, the ceremony will most likely be held overseas.
What about plans for baby number two?
“My first reaction when Kate talked about having another baby was: ‘No! I can’t even sleep well now.’ But as I watch Aden grow, I feel like I will miss him as a baby. Perhaps when I have the urge to fuss over an infant again, we would try for a second one. As for now, please give us some space!” the actor pleaded with a smile.
The Journey: Tumultuous Times premieres November 24 at 9pm on Ch8.
WATCH: Andie Chen says his son is a beautiful burden!