Of kopitiam tales and lucky numbers with the 118 cast

The cast talked about what 118 means to them, their most interesting kopitiam memories and more

The cast talked about what 118 means to them, their most interesting kopitiam memories and more
The cast talked about what 118 means to them, their most interesting kopitiam memories and more
21 Sep 2016

The cast talked about what 118 means to them, their most interesting kopitiam memories and more

Photos: Lee Wei Lin, Camelia Ting
Videos: Tay Yixuan, Sarah Tay

It will be a little over two months before the cast of 118 Season 2 greets viewers on their small screens once again, but the studio that the actors will call home for the next year has already rumbled to life. Attending the lensing ceremony for the show yesterday (Sep 20), a “lights on” ceremony was also held to signal an auspicious beginning for the cast and crew. A similar “lights off” ceremony was held in Mediacorp’s Caldecott Broadcast Centre when filming wrapped for 118.

Speaking to Toggle in separate interviews, the returning cast members laughingly bemoaned the “brand new” look of the Yao Yao Huat kopitiam, blaming Dennis Chew and Xu Bin’s characters, Hong Shunfeng and Hong Shunshui respectively, for their “new and unimproved” workplace.

Jokes and light-hearted ribbing aside, the cast, which will also see the addition of new ‘family’ members such as Ha Yu, Jeanette Aw, Elvin Ng and Bryan Wong, spoke to Toggle to tell us about their personal kopitiam experiences and lucky numbers.

Read on for more.

Jeanette Aw
Jeanette Aw
21 Sep 2016

Jeanette Aw

My most interesting kopitiam experience is…

I often get recognised when I go to kopitiams – I think that hawker food is sometimes the best so I’m not someone who only dines at restaurants. There have been stall owners who wanted to treat me to a meal or gave me extra ingredients too.

My must-haves when I visit a kopitiam are…

I don’t drink cold beverages or sodas and this is a habit I’ve had since I was in secondary school. I remember our physical education teacher telling us, “Drinking sodas after exercising will cancel off all the work you’ve done during class!”

I felt that what he said made sense so from then on, I stopped drinking sodas and eating fast food. If I really don’t have a choice or fast food is the most convenient option, then I’ll make an exception but it happens really rarely. Even if it’s blazing outside or I’ve been under the sun for the whole day, I’ll still have a hot drink regardless.

I’m not picky about food so I don’t have problems when I’m traveling, but sometimes I’ll feel a particular craving for a certain dish on the day I return to Singapore.

My lucky number is…

Probably 28 and the reason is because my birthday falls on the 28th!

Chen Hanwei and Sheila Sim
Chen Hanwei and Sheila Sim
21 Sep 2016

Chen Hanwei and Sheila Sim

To me, the number 118 is…

Sheila: 118 is a lucky number for the both of us because our characters met, became friends, fell in love and even had a baby!

Hanwei: We’re really close in real life as well and we go out for meals often… Do you think we’ll have a baby in real life too? (guffaws)

My lucky number is…

Sheila: I think 8 is a really lucky number – I have four 8’s in my IC number! I’ve lived on the eighth floor a number of times as well.

Hanwei: That’s because you’re very auntie. (Ed’s note: The Chinese term Hanwei used was三八, from which the second character is the number 8.) My lucky numbers are two and five. It’s strange – when I was in school, I’d always choose option two on multiple choice questions if I didn’t know the answer and I’d always get it right.

If it was a question with options A to E, I’d choose B or E (the second or fifth option) and one of the two would definitely be the right answer. During the Star Awards, there’s always a nominees list and I’ll definitely get the Best Actor award if my name is called out second or fifth. If I hear my name being called out in any other than these two positions, I’ll know that I won’t be going home with the trophy tonight.

Sheila: Oh please, you’ll get it regardless!

Chen Hanwei and Sheila Sim
Chen Hanwei and Sheila Sim
21 Sep 2016

Chen Hanwei and Sheila Sim

My most interesting kopitiam experience is…

Hanwei: This isn’t really a kopitiam story but I was in Australia for a holiday and I approached a café owner asking if I could wait tables there for two days. I said that he didn’t need to pay me and would just need to provide me with three meals a day and he said okay. I wanted to know what it was like in the service industry.

A bunch of Singapore Airlines staff came in and asked for pictures when they recognised me. The owner asked me about it and I lied to him that it was because I looked cute – he didn’t believe me so he approached them and was surprise to find out that I’m an actor. Not only did he provide me with my meals, he let me stay in his home, which was above his café, for free!

Sheila: I went to the kopitiam near my house to buy breakfast and the uncle selling fishball noodles looked and me and remarked, “Wow, you’re really slim in person! You look really fat on TV leh!”

I said that he was exaggerating and explained that being on screen makes us look bigger than we really are, but he insisted that I looked really, really fat on television, which made me really sad. (laughs)

My must-haves when I visit a kopitiam are…

Hanwei: Teh-C! It doesn’t matter what I’m eating, I’ll definitely order a cup of it.

Sheila: Chilli padi! It goes with anything and everything I want to eat.

Xu Bin
Xu Bin
21 Sep 2016

Xu Bin

My most interesting kopitiam experience is…

I remember while filming 118, many uncles and aunties started to recognise me by my role, Shunshui but some would get confused if I was Shunshui or Shunfeng (Dennis Chew’s character).

There was a funny incident when I was ordering kopi siew dai and the auntie said to me, “Don’t you know how to make it yourself? If you don’t know how to do it, ask your dad (Chew Chor Meng) to make it for you.” I asked her not to joke around because I was in a rush.

There was another time I was eating at a kopitiam but didn’t order a drink but the drinks stall auntie came over and put a cup of kopi siew dai on the table, saying that it was on the house. This is the power of Hong Shunshui! I hope that the Hong family gets free coffee when we go out once 118 Season 2 starts airing. (chuckles)

To me, the number 118 is…

While we were filming 118, there were some numbers that appeared while filming – for example, Pan Ling Ling and Liu Lingling’s 0000 (zero in Mandarin is ‘ling’) struck the first and second prizes!

There are some numbers that you can pay attention to in 118 Season 2 and I’ll give you a heads-up: Ha Yu’s fanny pack has the word ‘fortune’ on it and there are four digits on it too. Do pay attention to it when it appears on screen and you can consider getting lucky with that combination!

My lucky number is…

I like the number one because it’s the first number and also signifies a beginning. It reminds me that I should do everything to the best of my abilities too.

Dennis Chew
Dennis Chew
21 Sep 2016

Dennis Chew

My most interesting kopitiam experience is…

My dad’s nickname was kopi boy because he used to make coffee at a kopitiam previously. My dad would bring me along when I was younger and they would call me kopi junior – this is what has left the deepest impression on me.

My must-haves when I visit a kopitiam are…

I love eating sliced fish hor fun with bitter gourd in black bean sauce the most! My stomach started rumbling at the mere thought of it. (laughs) I eat it at least twice or thrice a week. The stall owner knows me and he gives me a lot of sliced fish when I order it. He isn’t that generous when someone else orders it for me.

To me, the number 118 is…

1+1+8=10 so 118 means perfection to me. I take a picture whenever I see the number – I was in New Zealand and saw a sign with 118 and took a snap immediately. If I catch a Pokémon that has 118 CP (combat points), I’ll definitely take a screenshot as well.

I’ll choose to stop at lot number 118 if I see it in a carpark – you can say that I’m really sensitive to this number!

My lucky number is…

The number three. I really like this number – don’t you find it really sexy? If you look at it one way, it looks like a butt, but if you flip it over it looks like a chest. That’s why I like this number the most! (guffaws)

Elvin Ng and Ya Hui
Elvin Ng and Ya Hui
21 Sep 2016

Elvin Ng and Ya Hui

My most interesting kopitiam experience is…

Elvin: After becoming an artiste, there have been stall owners who insist on treating me to their food but I tell them to treat me like every other customer and say that I’ll leave otherwise.

Ya Hui: That means that the chicken rice stall auntie used to give him two slices of chicken before he debuted and she wants to treat him to chicken rice now to make up for it!

Elvin: Hey, I got along with everyone pretty well even back then! It’s just that there have been some who insist on treating me to a meal now. There are others who joke that they should charge me more because I’m an artiste, and I tell them that I’ll leave if they really do that! (laughs)

Ya Hui: I’ve seen ah bengs argue before. It happened in Geylang and it was pretty scary. I heard people shouting and I was prepared to run away just in case anything happened.

Elvin: But they were just arguing, right? They didn’t really start a fight.

Ya Hui: I was just worried that they’d suddenly turn the entire table over! After becoming an actor, my imagination became more vivid and I’d imagine all sorts of different scenarios happening.

Elvin Ng and Ya Hui in bodyguard and
Elvin Ng and Ya Hui in bodyguard and "fishball princess" mode
21 Sep 2016

Elvin Ng and Ya Hui in bodyguard and "fishball princess" mode

My must-haves when I visit a kopitiam are…

Elvin: I order enough for two! Just having one bowl of noodles is not enough for me. I prefer eating noodles – I’ll usually order a bowl of laksa and add on a serving of satay or rojak… In short, I just need a side dish. I’ll also order two drinks: one hot and one cold.

To me, the number 118 is…

Ya Hui: We filmed 118 for over a year, so I think of family once I hear the number 118. My favourite number is 18 and you’ll see this number printed at the back of my fanclub shirt as well!

My lucky number is…

Ya Hui: I don’t really have a lucky number but I have a special affection for the number seven, maybe because I was contestant number seven at my first Star Search. (laughs)

Elvin: I happen to like the number seven too! I like both five and seven – somehow the numbers just appeal to me.

Nick Teo and Hong Ling
Nick Teo and Hong Ling
21 Sep 2016

Nick Teo and Hong Ling

Carrie Wong and Hayley Woo
Carrie Wong and Hayley Woo
21 Sep 2016

Carrie Wong and Hayley Woo

Chew Chor Meng, Pan Ling Ling, Carrie Wong and Xu Bin
Chew Chor Meng, Pan Ling Ling, Carrie Wong and Xu Bin
21 Sep 2016

Chew Chor Meng, Pan Ling Ling, Carrie Wong and Xu Bin

WATCH: The cast of ‘118 Season 2’ talks about their most unforgettable coffee shop experiences!
WATCH: Huat! '118' is back for a second season!

118 Season 2 debuts November 29, 7.30pm on Channel 8.
Watch past episodes of 118 on Toggle.

Related:
Same old brand new look for 118 in Season 2
Elvin Ng: Ya Hui has become more attractive
Xu Bin and Desmond Ng are afraid of Carrie Wong
Jeanette Aw ready to kick butt on 118 Season 2
How well does Jeanette think she can fight in real life?
Ya Hui wants to "go crazy" in 118 Season 2

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