Photos: Dion Tang
Video: Zhang Jiahao
She finds him a bit of a nag; he worries that she’ll overwork herself.
“I’m often up until 3 or 4 a.m. in my studio, and she’ll be working in secret in the bedroom,” Ang Junyang, 34, said of his wife of five years, Candyce Toh, 35. “And when she knows I’m coming over she’ll pack up quickly and go to sleep.”
Not to be outdone, Candyce fought back. “Sometimes I’m glad he’s not around because he loves to nag, he’ll keep repeating the same lines without ever rephrasing them, like a pesky fly. It’s so annoying!” she said.
“I’m so used to it now that once he starts I space out, and because he says the same thing all the time, even when I refocus my attention on him, I’ll know exactly what he just said.”
Candyce and Junyang met on the first season of televised singing competition Project SuperStar back in 2005 — Candyce reached the top 10 and Junyang emerged the male runner-up. The pair announced last October that they were expecting their first child, a girl due in early April.
Both their families seem more nervous about the new arrival than they are. “They’ve bought clothes (for the baby), she’s the first granddaughter for both our parents so I think she’ll be quite pampered,” Candyce said. “I hope she doesn’t suffer the princess syndrome.”
The couple have only shortlisted a few English names (the Chinese name will have to wait), and the nursery and baby products have yet to be prepared. Living apart for months at a stretch — Junyang works in music production at Ocean Butterflies in Taiwan, while Candyce stays in Singapore to run Cafe Manuka in Paragon and, now, IMM — meant Candyce’s family had to look after her and her goldie, Tuffy, on Junyang’s behalf.
After four years of working abroad, Junyang will stay in Singapore until his daughter is born. He has requested to be transferred to Singapore, he added.
“You ask if I could bear to give it up? Of course I can’t,” he said of his overseas music career. “Taiwan is where Mandarin music is at, and many musicians dream of working in the Taiwan music industry.”
“The culture in Taiwan is different from Singapore’s and I’ve developed rapport with my colleagues there, but for the sake of my child and family, it’s worth it.”
He’ll put aside his work for now, and moving his family to Taiwan is still on the cards. “But when our daughter is ready for school, we’ll have to move back here,” Junyang said. “I hope she’ll get her education in Singapore.”
Family and business
Candyce has opted for a natural delivery, and Junyang will be by her side in the delivery room when the time comes.
“I won’t be recording (the birth) though — my hands will shake,” he said. “But seeing a new life being born, I think I’ll cry. I’ve been trying to imagine what it would feel like, and I’m looking forward to it.”
The career-minded Candyce will return to work after her month-long postpartum confinement period is over. And though she’s still open to taking on acting or hosting gigs, she’ll be more selective about the ones she accepts.
“It’s my own business after all,” she said of Cafe Manuka, which she and her sister bought over from a New Zealand couple in 2014. “When we took over the first store (in Paragon), it was hassle-free and we were making money, but we started this second outlet from scratch and we had to do everything ourselves.”
“Women still need their own careers, that way we won’t annoy our husbands and they can focus on their work too.”
Junyang ribbed her, “Play the role of an expectant mother, that way you won’t have to strap on the fake belly and you can go on set just as you are.”
This story is translated by Zara Zhuang.