What our favourite entertainment uncles can teach us

Gather ‘round, kids — here are some valuable life lessons from those who are older and wiser

If you can’t win, at least make sure you’re having fun — Ji Suk Jin
If you can’t win, at least make sure you’re having fun — Ji Suk Jin
17 Feb 2016

If you can’t win, at least make sure you’re having fun — Ji Suk Jin

Running Man’s big-nosed hyung (elder brother), who turned 50 on February 10, is famous for being lousy at the game show’s physical challenges. The first time he managed to tear off the Commander’s (Kim Jong Kook) name tag was 130 episodes into the series, and he has lost in wrestling to Song Ji Hyo, the only maiden of the seven-person main cast.

But despite his consistently poor performance, the Impala takes it in his stride and plays along, and he seems almost content to bring joy and laughter to the programme for the common good, even if he’s often the first one eliminated (and humiliated).

Believe the unbelievable — Chen Tian Wen
Believe the unbelievable — Chen Tian Wen
17 Feb 2016

Believe the unbelievable — Chen Tian Wen

Who saw Eric Kwek coming? Probably no one, not even Tian Wen. A supporting character in Channel 5’s sitcom Spouse for House, the 52-year-old breakout star of 2015 crooned all the way to TIME.com with his 70s-style ballad about eternal adoration, cable cars and vegetables.

The actor experienced a spike in recognition with his performance as a struggling working-class father in Anthony Chen’s Cannes winner, Ilo Ilo (2013), but the accolade didn’t quite earn him the same permanent spot in local pop culture.

Tian Wen returned over the Chinese New Year period with another retro music video, ‘Happy Together,’ this time featuring Chew Chor Meng, Carrie Wong, Adam Chen and Zhang Wei from the drama series Don’t Worry Be Healthy.

Bad wigs and gaudy printed shirts never go out of style, ‘miright?

Related:
Watch episodes of Don’t Worry Be Healthy here 
Catch up on past episodes of Spouse for House season 1 and season 2  
Chew Chor Meng, Carrie Wong felt incestuous filming Don’t Worry Be Healthy 
Successful Singaporean films 
THROWBACK: Topics that dominated entertainment headlines in 2015  

Appearances don’t matter — Henry Thia
Appearances don’t matter — Henry Thia
17 Feb 2016

Appearances don’t matter — Henry Thia

Most recently seen as a plain vegetable stall owner in Jack Neo’s nostalgic comedy Long Long Time Ago, Henry has a lengthy and enviable resume, made more impressive by the fact that he hasn’t exactly been blessed in the looks department.

This 63-year-old proves you don’t have to resemble Michelangelo’s David to have a successful acting career. His past roles have run the gamut from sketch shows to sitcoms, drama series, movies — Comedy Night, Police and Thief, Money No Enough, Happy Family, among other productions. And if there ever was a biopic on local politicians in the making, he’d be the first pick to play Khaw Boon Wan.

Related:
Catch up on the sixth and last season of Police and Thief here 
Successful Singaporean films 
Mark Lee: Everyone said they wanted to slap me

Lighten up — Suhaimi Yusof
Lighten up — Suhaimi Yusof
17 Feb 2016

Lighten up — Suhaimi Yusof

The 46-year-old is arguably better known to English audiences for his comedy roles — as Sulaiman Yusof the handyman in Living with Lydia, the uptight Sgt Dollah in Channel 5’s Police and Thief, and field reporter Jojo Joget from the Noose — but he’d been a permanent fixture on Malay radio airwaves in the 80s and 90s.

This funnyman never shies away from poking fun at himself. Alluding to his portly build, he said he broke a few mirrors practicing Michael Jackson dance moves for the seventh season of the Noose. And speaking of his experience filming Jack Neo’s Long Long Time Ago, during which he lost 8 kg over two weeks, he said, “I told Jack, I’m ready now for Ah Boys To Ah Bwee (overweight person)!”

Suhaimi will be performing in the upcoming The Noose & Kakis … 11 Months of Fresh Air stage show from March 31 to April 2 at The Theatre @ Mediacorp. Tickets priced at $65, $85, $115, $135 (excludes booking fee) are available from Sistic through its website and booking hotline (6348 5555).

Related:
Watch Suhaimi Yusof in past episodes of the Noose 
Catch up on the first season of Police and Thief here
6 numbers to know for Jack Neo’s Long Long Time Ago 

Be flexible — Eric Tsang
Be flexible — Eric Tsang
17 Feb 2016

Be flexible — Eric Tsang

The 62-year-old Hong Kong multi-hyphenate started his showbiz career as a stuntman, often filling in as a double for female roles due to his 1.6-m height. But Eric decided to make the switch to work behind the camera as a scriptwriter for two reasons: His wild idea for a movie about a troupe of struggling stuntmen earned praise from Hong Kong film producer Karl Maka, and the death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee led to a reduced demand for stuntmen.

Eric took a leap of faith and quit his job with choreographer Lau Kar-Leung to focus on writing screenplays. He described the experience of writing his first script, a story about Hong Kong bar girl Suzie Wong, as difficult — he was pulling down HK$50 (approximately S$9) every fortnight as an assistant.

But the gamble paid off. From scriptwriting, he then moved on to overseeing continuity on set, editing, directing and finally acting. And look at him now: the Infernal Affairs trilogy, 72 Tenants of Prosperity, Bodyguards and Assassins, Perhaps Love — some of the biggest hits in Hong Kong cinema bear his mark.

Related:
Jacky Cheung, Eric Tsang lead bidding war for Anita Mui’s belongings 
Eric Tsang: I won’t force Owodog into a corner 

Speak your mind — Anthony Wong
Speak your mind — Anthony Wong
17 Feb 2016

Speak your mind — Anthony Wong

You could almost call the 54-year-old Hong Kong screen star an actor–activist based on all the issues he gives his opinions on: the Occupy Central movement, relations with mainland China, traditional versus simplified Chinese script, and even the acting skills of industry newbies. He didn’t shy away from calling Miss Hong Kong 2013, Grace Chan, an annoying actress who “contorts her face in an unnatural way.”

Anthony once said he wasn’t bothered by whether people liked his opinions, even though keyboard warriors have bullied him on the Internet for his controversial remarks. The 2015 TVB Anniversary Awards Best Actor winner didn’t back down when angry netizens called for him to be banned in China for supporting Occupy Central; instead he said on Facebook he would shoot more Hong Kong movies, even if it meant a pay cut for him.

Plus, you have to have guts to do this.

Related:
Anthony Wong visits sex shop with female assistant 
Kevin Cheng admits girlfriend Grace Chan’s acting needs work 

Family comes first — Lin Tsai-pei
Family comes first — Lin Tsai-pei
17 Feb 2016

Family comes first — Lin Tsai-pei

Once an 80s heartthrob who shot to fame through sappy Chiung Yao television adaptations, the 62-year-old Taiwanese actor has now become a regular among a stable of “uncle” actors seen in the island’s longform dramas, playing father figures or triad bosses.

Last December, the news broke that his wife, Taiwanese artiste Tzu Lin, had been diagnosed with late-stage liver cirrhosis in 2014 and given just four months to live. According to Taiwanese media, Tzu Lin had thoughts of ending her life, but Tsai-pei wouldn’t give up on her: He sought out medical experts on both sides of the Strait, took her to mainland China for an organ transplant and spent NT$8 million (approximately S$338,000) on her treatment.

Tzu Lin celebrated the first anniversary of her surgery last June and wrote a detailed note thanking her family for being by her side. But Tsai-pei brushed it aside, saying his wife had given her life for the family, and what he did for her was insignificant in comparison. 

Keep up with technology — Masaharu Fukuyama
Keep up with technology — Masaharu Fukuyama
17 Feb 2016

Keep up with technology — Masaharu Fukuyama

Two words: fax machine.

Last September the 47-year-old longtime bachelor finally entered into matrimony and wed actress Kazue Fukiishi, 33, breaking hearts all over Japan. But the actor–singer’s announcement was just as surprising as his method of making said announcement: by issuing a statement via fax. In the 21st century.

Though we’re tempted to make jokes about Masaharu’s preference for archaic appliances, it appears the fax machine lives on in Japan, long after it was replaced by e-mail in the rest of the world. The Japanese seem to prefer handwriting’s human touch, and 26 per cent of its population was above 65 in 2014 — well, think about how great your grandparents get along with a computer.

Related:
Masaharu Fukuyama registers marriage to Kazue Fukiishi  

Photos: TPG, Golden Village, artistes’ social media

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