Photos: Dion Tang, Shaun Chen
Video: Vanessa Lim
“No lah, no lah! It’s a secret, do I really need to say it? (laughs)” was the initial reaction we got from new father Shaun Chen when we asked for the name of his baby daughter, who was born in Malaysia last Saturday (Dec 5), at the imaging session of his new Channel 8 series The Dream Job.
Thankfully, it didn’t take that much more probing before the Star Awards 2015 Best Actor winner finally caved in and told us that his little princess is called Chen Xin En, which was decided upon with the help of fortune tellers and family elders. He added that they have yet to pick an English name at the moment.
“I hope she grows up to be someone that is filial, well-educated and intelligent,” he said. “I don’t intend to put too much pressure on her studies – we’ll take things as they come.”
Clearly enamoured with the new lady in his life, Shaun heaped praises upon his daughter’s delicate features. “She looks like a little bit of both her parents: her lips are like mine and her face shape is like her mother’s – she’s very pretty!” he chuckled.
Despite being a first-time father, Shaun reported that everything has been calm and trouble-free so far. “I have a lot of experience from taking care of my nephews and nieces,” he explained. “Babies always cry for a reason – if she’s hungry, I feed her; if her diaper is dirty, I change it.”
But being away from his daughter, who is now in Kedah with his wife Celine, so soon after her birth has been difficult, especially since the infant was struck with jaundice and had to undergo phototherapy for two days. “All I can do is check my phone for updates, but with [my wife’s] mother and sister taking care of them, I’m not that worried,” he said.
It helps that Celine is extremely understanding about the nature of his job. “She’s not mad that I had to travel back to Singapore so soon, but told me that I could leave in peace while they take care of things back home.” Before he left, he said to his daughter, “Baby, Daddy has to go to work now and will be back in a few days. Be good!”
When asked if he plans to buy an abundance of gifts for his daughter to make up for his absence (just like Qi Yuwu did for Baby Qi when he was filming The Dream Makers 2 in Melbourne), Shaun replied, “I haven’t bought that many things other than a few basic toys; I don’t want to spoil her.”
Although it has only been less than a week since Xin En was born, Shaun is already eager to add to his newly-expanded brood. “I’m not getting any younger, so the sooner the better! Maybe we’ll try again in about half a year?” the 37-year-old said with a laugh. “I don’t have any gender preference as long as they are safe and healthy, but it would be nice to have both a boy and a girl.”
In The Dream Job, Shaun plays a lawyer named Li Jun Feng who sets out to take revenge against a father he grew up hating. “It’s a very challenging role because I want to portray a character that people will love and despise at the same time,” he elaborated. The upcoming 2016 heavyweight drama also stars Jeanette Aw, Romeo Tan, Ian Fang, Zhang Zhen Huan, as well as Rebecca Lim and Sheila Sim, with whom Shaun will be caught up in a love triangle.
Shaun was previously married to former Mediacorp actress Michelle Chia from May 2009 to April 2011. He made the shocking announcement of his second marriage, which took place in July, and wife’s pregnancy in October.
The Dream Job debuts June 27, 9pm on Channel 8.