Photos: Camelia Ting & Goh Li Xin
Additional Photos: Zhang Yao Dong’s Instagram
Video: Tan Shi Qi & Teng Siew Eng
It’s been eight years since Zhang Yao Dong and Felicia Chin last acted as love interests in the drama Love Blossoms, and the two will be paired up again for Channel 8’s upcoming drama Life’s Blessings. In the show, the Malaysian actor based in Singapore plays Liu Yi Shou, an ex-convict who has no family to return to after being released from prison. After beginning his new job at a hotel, he eventually falls in love with his boss’ daughter, played by Felicia.
Pretending to be unenthusiastic about their reunion, during an interview with Toggle at the drama’s imaging session, Yao Dong joked, “Ugh, her again!” and later clarified, “Although we haven’t collaborated for many years, I think that we still have good on-screen chemistry together.”
He added that he is very excited to play his “poor and helpless” ex-convict character, albeit challenging, since it’s his first time.
When asked about if he is required to lose weight for the role, he replied, “Not for this show, but before I began to shoot my Malaysian movie This Moment of Yesterday this year, the director asked me to lose weight, so that was the point when I stopped going to the gym.”
Explaining that he’s about a month into his gym hiatus, he continued, “Not too long ago, I planned to start working out, but at the same time I’m too lazy. I think I’ll stay lazy for now! (laughs)”
Although he claims to be a lazy person, he’s got a lot on his plate right now as he just wrapped up back-to-back shoots for two of his Malaysian projects, and is now back in Singapore to film Life’s Blessings.
Although he is currently signed to a Taiwanese agency, Yao Dong shared that he doesn’t have an projects in China or Taiwan now, explaining that he doesn’t want to limit himself.
“My dream is to travel far and wide to see the world while I’m still young. I hope not to have any regrets when I’m older,” said the actor.
He doesn’t mind having to travel between Malaysia and Singapore, adding, “As long as I can meet up with my circle of friends often enough, I’m happy! Sometimes we would meet up over a meal as one big, noisy group.”
Set to turn 40 in two years’ time, Yao Dong is happy with his ‘single and available’ relationship status too. “I’m satisfied with going out with friends and having fun with them. It doesn’t matter if I’m single!”
He even joked, “My brother and sister have already gotten married, so my family has already expanded to a new generation! (laughs)”
“I’ve thought about marriage before and I’ve thought of having a girlfriend, but I’m still very focused on my career for now. Looking at myself now, I’m so busy with my acting projects, I don’t think it would be fair to the girl if I’m unable to make time for her,” he added.
Apart from acting, he also needs to take the time to manage his restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia called Niu Taste. In fact, he said that it’s “doing pretty well” and shared his plans to open a new seafood restaurant there as well as a café in Singapore.
Life’s Blessings premieres October 19, every Monday to Friday at 7.30 pm on Channel 8.
This article is translated by Melanie Ho.