Oon Shu An lands first lead role in Chinese drama Yes Mdm!

RECRUITS, FALL IN: What are some of the challenges faced by the actors on the set of Toggle’s new sketch comedy web drama, Yes Mdm!?

Oon Shu An lands first lead role in Chinese drama Yes Mdm!
Oon Shu An lands first lead role in Chinese drama Yes Mdm!
10 Aug 2016

Oon Shu An lands first lead role in Chinese drama Yes Mdm!

It’s not everyday that you see a woman in a no.4 uniform on TV, barking down military orders to a bunch of recruits – and the last time it happened, we saw “Goddess” Paige Chua step into the role of a no-nonsense straight-faced Mdm on Channel U’s The Recruit Diariesthree years ago. 

Starting this week, ang moh pai (English-speaking) actress Oon Shu An will take on one of her biggest acting challenges to date in Toggle’s new web series, Yes Mdm!, as she is tasked to play the lead actress Yang Lei, a “very driven” and “very disciplined” female army officer who happens to be dating one of her lackadaisical recruits, Jeremy, played by Eden Ang. 

The up side: she gets to channel her sweet and fierce side in this role – something the self-professed “fierce” actress identifies with easily, the down side: Mandarin lines and “getting used” to her sweet but strong character.

“I got a Chinese teacher [specially] for this, whenever I have Chinese scripts I will go to her. That’s what I did for the [stage play] Chinglishand [movie] 4 Love,” shared Shu An, during an interview with Toggle. “She will help me to understand the content and context [of the script] and when I understand what’s happening, it’s easier to memorise [the lines].”

(Continued on the next page)

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
10 Aug 2016

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!

To help ease into the role of an officer (or Platoon Commander), Shu An started watching hit Korean drama series Descendants of the Sun, and fell for it hook, line and sinker. “I’m so in love with him,” she gushed, like most females did when they first saw Captain Yoo (played by Song Joong Ki) in action, “He’s so charming and there’s a childlike quality to the character which I’m quite drawn to… 

“I’m also watching some Singapore army channels and shows… and also the show called Bad Lads’ Army.”

A former Girls’ Brigade member during her schooling years, Shu An says she is no stranger to marching drills but admits that “getting used to the army style” of marching is a challenge in itself. 

“When I was 12, I really wanted to join the army, but then I realised I need to go into the jungle and all that and then I said ‘Ok, maybe not my dream’,” she laughed, “But I really like the uniform groups and their discipline [displayed].”

Meet Yang Lei’s onscreen boyfriend Jeremy on the next page.

Eden Ang
Eden Ang
10 Aug 2016

Eden Ang

You may remember Eden as the geeky Michael Tong from Tanglin who is, coincidentally, serving the nation – just like his character Jeremy in the drama. What makes them different, however, is one has lines in English and the other speaks Mandarin, said Eden. 

More comfortable conversing in English, the b-boy and actor shared that he has been investing extra time and effort rehearsing his lines. “When I speak in Mandarin, I speak particularly slow and I need to translate my lines in han yu pin yin too. I keep practising till I get fluent in it,” he revealed, “I didn’t enlist the help of a Chinese tutor mostly ‘cos I have no time for it. [What I’d do is] record my co-star’s lines just to keep practising over and over again.”

Eden revealed that he “connected very well” with Shu An, having worked with (and romanced) her on stage four years ago for a play called Machine, “She played a teacher, lover and girlfriend to my then-15-year-old character so we have really good chemistry… but we are also familiar with each other [in real life] too and we both really enjoy acting.”

A big Taiwan movie buff, Eden hopes this role as a flippant 27-year-old recruit will help open new doors of opportunities for him to do more variety shows and movies in future.

Meet Yang Lei’s older brother Yang Jun on the next page.

Lee Teng
Lee Teng
10 Aug 2016

Lee Teng

Having a sister who is seven years younger than him in real life has helped Lee Teng ease into his role as Yang Jun, the protective older brother of Yang Lei, in Yes Mdm!, said Lee Teng. “I’m very close to my younger sister and we’re like good friends. We’d kid around and this character is like a replica of my real life personality too. I do care a lot about my sister and I used to ‘care’ about her boyfriends in the past, but I don’t really interfere in it now,” he chuckled.

As the actor with the least experience of the lot (Lee Teng acted in Served H.O.T. and Let It Go previously), the chatty host shared that he had to “familiarse myself with the cameras again and work on my reaction time.” 

Thankfully, he had the guidance of his Left Profile boss, Michelle Chong, who will also be starring—and directing—some parts of this short web series. 

“When I first received the script, Michelle, who was coincidentally the director, discussed with me about the character. After I received some tips from her, it was easier to step into my character. This boy has quite a sunshine personality and he is quite entrepreneurial—just like me, and runs his own F&B (food and beverage) business.”

Meet Captain Lim, the show’s comic character

Michelle Chong
Michelle Chong
10 Aug 2016

Michelle Chong

According to Michelle, her latest comic turn as Captain Lim “doesn’t appear very frequently” in this web series, but when she does, she brings (or Michelle is hoping for her to incite) laughter to the viewers. Acting and directing at the same time is not something new for this multi-hyphenate, who has done that for her own movies, Almost Famous and the upcoming Lulu The Movie

Calling her appearance in Yes Mdm! a luxury, as compared to her movies, Michelle shared that while she has to direct and memorise lines, she has a really good support group to fall back on and with their help, it has been a “very relaxing” journey so far.

The challenge for this sketch comedy series about army life, said Michelle, is in the details. “At least 40 percent of the audience would have gone through NS (National Service) and so a lot of factual information needs to be accurate too.”

Catwalk artiste Yusuke Fukuchi plays one of Yang Lei's suitors in the show
Catwalk artiste Yusuke Fukuchi plays one of Yang Lei's suitors in the show
10 Aug 2016

Catwalk artiste Yusuke Fukuchi plays one of Yang Lei's suitors in the show

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
10 Aug 2016

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!

The cast at script reading sessions with Michelle.

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
10 Aug 2016

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
10 Aug 2016

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
10 Aug 2016

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!
10 Aug 2016

Meet the cast of Yes Mdm!

WATCH: Is Michelle Chong a strict director on set?

Watch the first five episodes of Yes Mdm! on Toggle here; the next five episodes of Yes Mdm! airs August 15 on Toggle. For more information and BTS clips, visit the microsite.

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