Video: Vina Chia
DIRECT FROM MELBOURNE: A 20-strong team consisting of cast and crew members of Channel 8’s The Dream Makers 2 flew to the land of kangaroos to film certain key scenes in the 32-episode drama series for two weeks in September. And Toggle was part of the entourage from start to finish: we got to breathe the same air, sleep under the same roof, and had equally early call times too – but that’s another story for another day.
Each week, starting today, we’ll be featuring one of the six celebrities who travelled down under with us, as part of a special ‘Dream Makers 2’ #throwbackthursday series. In the spotlight this week is new dad Qi Yuwu, who spoke extensively about his longing for his wife, Joanne Peh, and their two-month-old daughter, baby Qi, as both mother and daughter celebrated their first Mid-Autumn Festival at home “without papa”.
While he isn’t worried about the situation at home, especially since Joanne is coping well for a first-time mum, Ah Wu let on he’d hoped to be at home to help lighten her load in any way possible, especially since the both of them are very hands on and self-reliant parents.
“This is the first time I’m away from her (Joanne) since the baby’s arrival,” he shared, “And I feel that Joanne needs support and help, especially during this period of time. It’s been quite tough and I could not bear to be away.”
So what did he do to try to make up for his absence?
Apart from daily video calls and text messages, Ah Wu also shopped up a storm during what little free time he had and in between takes, too, and bought “a fair bit of clothing” for his little princess – not including kitchenware (“crockery like plates and cups” he told us) and a few (we mean, three) chopping boards he lugged back to Singapore for his culinary adventures at home.
Yuwu and Rui En's drama characters doing a wedding shoot in Melbourne.
So satisfied with his shopping haul, the cooking aficionado later enthused that he was able to tell the tree’s age by the rings on the whole piece of wood that was made into a chopping board too.
Being away is difficult, but when you have to travel for work – you don’t have much of a choice, the actor conceded, during an interview with Toggle, at a stable across the Yarra Valley Lodge.
Instead of brooding over being continents apart from his wife and daughter, he quipped, “Maybe this imperfection is perfection in itself – because it brings about longing and in turn, the love becomes treasured and precious.”
And this is coming from the man who tells us tulips are one of his favourite flowers without realising the flower language behind it. In case you’re wondering, tulips are second to roses when it comes to signifying love and romance, which probably explains for Ah Wu’s fixation with it, as seen during a day trip with the media, when he decided to tape a bunch of tulips immersed in a bottle of water to a car seat for “viewing pleasure”.
Guess that makes him a romantic realist.
Read on for more of Ah Wu’s little travel quirks as he shares with us the story behind his favourite picture of the trip which reminded him of his wife back in Singapore.
The Dream Makers 2 debuts December 4, 9 pm on Channel 8; it will be available on Toggle-It-First on November 26. Watch The Dream Makers 1 on Toggle.
Special thanks to Tourism Australia and Tourism Victoria.
Toggle: What’s your favourite picture taken during this trip?
Yuwu: It’s a picture of a mother and her two kids at Brighton beach. I don’t know why but the mother reminds me a lot of Joanne.
Ed's note: He shares about the picture in our video on page 1!
When you travel abroad, what do you never leave home without?
My exercise gear because you’d need to maintain a good physique when filming so exercising is important.
What is the first thing you'd do when you enter your hotel room?
I’d check out the toilet bowl and the shower stall. I do have a bit of OCD and it’s important for it to be clean. I think Australia’s hotels – so far (Ah Wu then reaches out to touch a piece of wood), provided by the production teams are very well-maintained (chuckles).
What did you do on the flight to Melbourne?
Watched movies – fell asleep – watched movies – fell asleep – watched movies – fell asleep … (the cycle repeats itself – see full picture on next page)
Most memorable filming location?
Tesselaar Tulip Farm. The colours are so vibrant and it just makes you happy… I once bought tulips in Singapore to display at home but it started to wither as soon as I bought it because of our country’s humidity. The climate is much cooler here so it’s able to survive better.
I look forward to…
The next visit to Melbourne.
Song of the trip?
‘The Moon Represents My Heart’.
Ed’s note: Check out Ah Wu’s doodle of the moon, his heart and an unidentified human face (we suspect it’s a self-portrait) on the next page!
The one item you’d take to a desert island?
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
My wife, my family, my friends.
Anything you hate about travelling?
Who out of your co-stars have you learned makes the best and worst travel partners, and why?
No one. Because their luggage end up all heavier than mine (sic).
Check out Ah Wu's creative doodle on the next page.