Desmond Tan almost quit SPD Charity Show 2017?

Local and international artistes will partner with SPD beneficiaries to help reach the event’s fundraising goal of S$3.8 million

Desmond Tan
Desmond Tan
28 Feb 2017

Desmond Tan

Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Tay Yixuan

On March 19, the biennial SPD Charity Show returns for its sixth live televised programme with the theme “Where Dreams Inspire”, as part of SPD’s (formerly known as the Society for the Physically Disabled) “Breaking Barriers” campaign.

While the last show in 2015 successfully raised S$4.8 million, a more modest target of S$3.8 million has been set for this year’s event, which will once again be hosted by Taiwanese entertainer Mickey Huang and our very own Quan Yi Fong. A variety of local and international artistes are also collaborating with SPD beneficiaries to keep audiences entertained throughout the three-hour gig.

Set to sing and play guitar on stage for the first time is Desmond Tan, who will present a medley of classic songs with fellow actors Tay Ping Hui and Cavin Soh, as well as SPD clients Soh Whee Lian and Kamaruddin Bin Ahmad. However, the 30-year-old confessed that he considered bowing out of the charity show after a discouraging practice round.

“I was completely lost during our first rehearsal,” Desmond told Toggle at yesterday’s press conference, explaining that his hectic filming schedule didn’t allow him enough time to listen to his reference track. As a result, he ended up just “hugging his guitar” for a majority of the two-hour session, while his bandmates showed off some cool musical moves.

With just three weeks to go before their live performance, Desmond asked the show’s producers if they wanted to consider axeing his involvement. “I told them that I didn’t want to bring everyone else down, but they encouraged me to keep learning and see how things turn out, and if I really felt like I wasn’t getting better, I could give up,” he said.

But hearing the words “give up” seemed to stir up a new conviction within him. “It got me thinking about the beneficiaries, whose disabilities made them lose a lot in life and might have made them want to give up as well,” he mused. “Since the problems they’re facing are much bigger than mine, I decided to press on and deliver my best performance on stage.”

Thankfully, he improved by leaps and bounds during their second rehearsal. He explained that looping the song (Mavis Hee’s ‘Regret’) helped familiarise him with the flow, and he had such a good time jamming that he couldn’t stop smiling and felt like he had gone back to the good old days of playing on his school stage.

Ya Hui
Ya Hui
28 Feb 2017

Ya Hui

Ya Hui remained steadfastly tight-lipped about her performance item, only going so far as to call it “mouth art.” She will be presenting the unusual skit with Rayson Tan, Michelle Tay, Terence Cao, Jeremy Chan and SPD staff member Hussein.

“We will use different mouth shapes to tell a very meaningful story, and I’ll be singing live for the very first time,” she said. “It’s a huge challenge for me because I have to use a specific mouth shape to sing, which is very difficult!”

Although she finds the concept interesting, the 29-year-old actress is also feeling a huge amount of pressure, especially since it will be a live show – and a less-than-perfect first rehearsal, during which she kept going off pitch, obviously didn’t help calm her nerves.

“We all just started practising so we have a lot of room for improvement, but if it wasn’t difficult, then it wouldn’t be as meaningful,” she said, adding that she has been doing “mouth exercises” every day on her way to work.

At least she won’t be playing an instrument, which she said would be even tougher. “I was never good at playing instruments; I tried to learn the guitar but I just couldn’t coordinate my hands well,” she said.

Hong Ling
Hong Ling
28 Feb 2017

Hong Ling

While Kate Pang and GeTai Challenge winner Desmond Ng open the SPD Charity Show 2017 by serenading audiences with the event’s theme song, Hong Ling, Bryan Wong and SPD client Samuel will be backing them up with instruments.

The performance item will give Hong Ling a chance to flaunt her flute-playing skills, which she picked up during her band days in secondary school. “I was the worst flautist among my bandmates,” the 22-year-old said with a laugh. Despite her self-deprecatory comment, she reported that when she recently played the woodwind instrument again for the first time in six years, she was delighted to find that her ability hadn’t rusted one bit.

“I’m happy to be playing the flute because that’s one of my few talents,” Hong Ling told us. “I want people to watch me and think, ‘Hey, Hong Ling is actually talented’!”

Xiang Yun
Xiang Yun
28 Feb 2017

Xiang Yun

Instead of performing on stage, Xiang Yun will be sharing touching stories about several of the beneficiaries. The veteran actress personally visited two homes of SPD clients with muscular dystrophy to understand their lives a little bit more, and the trips moved her.

When asked what kind of item she would have liked to present if she had the chance, the 55-year-old said, “As long as it’s within my abilities and it’s for charity, I’m willing to try a variety of performances.”

Elvin Ng, Chef Pung Lu Tin, Chef Charlie Tham
Elvin Ng, Chef Pung Lu Tin, Chef Charlie Tham
28 Feb 2017

Elvin Ng, Chef Pung Lu Tin, Chef Charlie Tham

In addition to the live show, a special segment will also be running concurrently at NEX Shopping Mall’s Level 1 Atrium, where four renowned local chefs – Chef Eric Teo, Chef Heman Tan, Chef Pung Lu Tin and Chef Charlie Tham – will each be whipping up 200 plates of sumptuous delicacies, which folks can sample after donating any amount to SPD.

At the press conference, Elvin Ng revealed that he would have loved to cook with the chefs, but due to some licensing issues, that idea had to be scrapped. Instead, he will be on site with Chen Han Wei, Romeo Tan, Felicia Chin and Seraph Sun to lend their support and assist to attract attention and potential customers.

So does Elvin have any special “sales” tactics up his sleeve? For starters, he told us that he will be wearing an apron on that day to look the part. Then, armed with his famous smile and friendly persona, he will target multiple generations of families to donate as generously as they can.

“I’m not the best salesman with a glib tongue, but I’ll win them over with my sincerity, affinity with the audience, and also my own brand of humour,” he said. “I’m happy to be doing my part and giving a small contribution by collaborating with the chefs and being on the ground mingling with the audience.”

Paralympian Joyce Chan
Paralympian Joyce Chan
28 Feb 2017

Paralympian Joyce Chan

Paralympian Joyce Chan will be showcasing her archery skills on stage alongside Hong Kong pop legends Grasshopper. Taiwanese Mandopop heartthrob Wilber Pan and veteran Hokkien singer Huang Yi Ling, also from Taiwan, are the other two foreign stars gracing the charity show.

The artistes, chefs and SPD representatives pose for a group photo
The artistes, chefs and SPD representatives pose for a group photo
28 Feb 2017

The artistes, chefs and SPD representatives pose for a group photo

The artistes and chefs
The artistes and chefs
28 Feb 2017

The artistes and chefs

Michelle Tay demonstrates a
Michelle Tay demonstrates a "mouth art" move
28 Feb 2017

Michelle Tay demonstrates a "mouth art" move

SPD President Chia Yong Yong speaks at the press conference
SPD President Chia Yong Yong speaks at the press conference
28 Feb 2017

SPD President Chia Yong Yong speaks at the press conference

Watch:
How confident are the stars in their performance items?

Catch the SPD Charity Show 2017 LIVE on March 19, 7pm on Channel 8. The repeat telecast airs March 26, 3.30pm on Channel 8.

Donation hotlines are now open until March 26.

1900 112 0303 ($10)

1900 112 1313 ($20)

1900 112 2323 ($50)

1900 112 3333 ($100)

Report a problem