Photos: Teo Sijia
Video: Charlene Chong
Are you a light or heavy packer? Organised or messy? A last minute packer or a well-prepared traveller?
These were a few burning questions we posed to the cast of Channel 8’s newest long-form drama series Jalan Jalan at the show’s press conference last month, where we invited them to bring and share with us some of their must-have travel essentials when they are on an overseas trip. It was an intimate session, to say the least, with the actors airing some of their insecurities and deepest, darkest secrets, and we had it all captured on camera.
We picked up a couple of interesting celebrity trivia about the cast of Jalan Jalan: there is a self-professed fitness nut who needs to work out every day when he’s travelling because of his sweet tooth; a gadget girl who can’t live without her arsenal of techy stuff (even though it weighs a ton); and an idiosyncratic traveller who packs two of everything, just to name a few…
To kick off this series, we have Dawn Yeoh, who plays big sister Zhang Wei Ru in Jalan Jalan, in the hot seat. Formerly trademarked by her incessant love for all things Hello Kitty and princess-y, Dawn told Toggle those days are long gone – although she still admits to being quite the ‘princess’ at home.
Despite her girlie demanour, Dawn is no glampacker (or at least, she’s no longer one – watch the video to below to find out more). Her most adventurous holiday saw her going on a backpacking trip to India, Calcutta and while it was “tough”, she has no qualms doing it all over again.
The 32-year-old also calls herself a reformed traveller and sees herself as a ‘minimalist’ and organised packer all thanks to her job.
“Work has trained my very well – I think I can pack my luggage in less than an hour ‘cos at the back of my mind I already know what I want to bring for trips. It’s very standard lah,” she quipped.
Unlike some of her other Jalan Jalan co-actors, she’s also not the type to take #OOTD (outfit of the day) shots wherever she goes. “If I’m going to nearby countries like Thailand, I won’t plan my OOTDs, but if I go to Europe or the US, obviously I will still plan my outfits like this is look #1, look #2. It’s like a runway show, you know?! (Laughs).”
Yup, we do.
So what are Dawn’s travel must-haves, and what’s her secret tip(s) to keeping warm in freezing temperatures? You’ll be surprised to know one item on her list is a body-shaping suit fancied by women of the past.
Jalan Jalan is now showing weekdays, 7.30pm on Channel 8. Watch past episodes of Jalan Jalan on Toggle.
“I want to take this opportunity to announce to the whole world that I actually have myopia and I really can’t make out the features of people if they are standing 100 metres away [and] I don’t wear contact lenses because I had a very bad experience with it which resulted in an eye infection. So my eyes tend to be a lot drier than normal and I need to use eye drops every day… These [my sunglasses] are my must-haves, but this particular pair has been with me for about a year plus? And I actually lost it three times but I’ve managed to find it each time. It’s very special to me.”
#2 Healthcare items like vitamins and 100 plus
“I’m concerned with my health now – not because of age, but because I recently have an Achilles heel problem… both my legs were swollen and really looked like pig trotters, so I couldn’t even walk normally and needed to be on a wheelchair. Even during filming, I was constantly on a wheelchair for as long as a month and a half. So supplements and multi-vitamins are a must now.
“This 100 plus is not a sponsored. There was once I was filming in Ipoh and it got quite tedious… filming every single day for three months… The environment is not ideal so I fell sick and I had very bad food poisoning. It was so bad I couldn’t even stand for a minute without going to the toilet, I’d either be puking or pooping – after drinking one can of 100 plus, I could immediately continue filming till night. Ever since then I realised it’s a life saver.”
(Continued on next page: Dawn tells us why the corset's her best friend when she travels to winter countries)
Dawn also recommends picking up a bottle of red (or white) at the duty-free shops because alcohol helps to warm when its cold outside.
#3 Beauty items
“…if you ask me about beauty necessities, it will be lipstick. Then, of course, [facial] masks are a must-have and a facial roller. A lot of people have asked me if this roller really works [and] I must say it works for me… There was once Jeremy [Chan] said that my eyes were very puffy, I immediately started massaging it with the roller and when I went back to the studio for filming, even the floor manager said I looked really good today. It’s a bit heavy but since it’s so small, I think it’s fine [to bring around].”
#4 Cup noodles
“A must especially [when you’re travelling] to cold countries like Finland. I once went to Finland and Norway for 14 days [and] I think I would have died without cup noodles. I went with four girlfriends so we [were each assigned food to bring from home] out – like who is to bring cup noodles and packet instant noodles etc. We can’t go without it! My favourite flavor is tom yum [because] you need spicy stuff when it gets cold. In the Scandinavian countries, it’s minus five degrees [and lower], the weather was very harsh. Even if you pour hot boiling water into the cup noodles, it immediately turns cold. It was quite a painful trip ‘cos it was too cold for any normal human being.”
Dawn and her trusty corset.
“I need this in harsh cold weather too. I used it in London even though it was not as cold. But it was a wet kind of cold, to the extent where you won’t feel like stepping out of the hotel room. The corset keeps you warm [and it’s] even better than heat tech! Plus, with the corset, no matter how much you eat, you won’t put on weight! I tried it for a couple of trips already and I really didn’t put me on weight. It is uncomfortable lah, but you just have to bear with it.”