‘Reach for the Skies’ stars’ holiday habits and horror stories

Who once had a small jet ski accident (that sent them flying), and who once got so badly burnt their “ears were peeling”?

‘Reach for the Skies’ stars’ holiday habits and horror stories
‘Reach for the Skies’ stars’ holiday habits and horror stories
18 Sep 2018

‘Reach for the Skies’ stars’ holiday habits and horror stories

Photos: Tammi Tan

After two months, the scenes that were shot during the Reach for the Skies cast and crew’s work-trip-slash-resort-getaway in Bintan will finally be shown on Channel 8 this week (in the episodes airing September 19 to 21, to be exact).

Since their characters are on holiday, we decided to ask the stars about their own traditions and tales from real-life trips of their own when we paid a visit to the island set. Read on to find out who would do absolutely anything to stay out of the sun (even if it means getting weird stares from other tourists), who was saved by a knight in shining armour following a scary diving incident, who was terrified by a tube slide, and more.

Kym Ng
Kym Ng
17 Sep 2018

Kym Ng

Packing essentials: Enough nice clothes for a good variety of #OOTD shots. Sometimes, she needs as many as two suitcases for a winter holiday because, “10 days one jacket meh? (laughs)” She would bring around five, in case anyone’s wondering.

We wish we had a video camera during our interview with Kym because you should have seen her get all giddy and cute – like a high school girl with a crush – whenever she talked about her husband, who’s known only as “Mr. Yang” to the public, and their many memorable adventures together.

“Most of the time when my husband and I go on holiday, we either relax or do extreme activities like trekking,” she said. “I’m not as adventurous as him, but I follow him so I can learn to be more adventurous.”

While most of her high-octane getaways turned out to be very fun (and very Instagram-worthy), there were a few minor incidents that sounded quite frightening. “We were diving in Bintan and the current was so strong that I got lost and was swept away,” she recalled. “I surfaced and found a big rock to cling on to, but when I turned around, there was nobody! A few minutes passed (but they felt like hours), and suddenly, someone tapped me from behind: [gooey voice] it was my husband! He came to save me!”

She changed her tune and tone when remembering another heart-stopping event: they were riding a jet ski (her husband was driving) when they got too close to shore and hit solid ground, bringing the vehicle to an abrupt stop and sending poor Kym flying from the back into the sand ahead, which was fortunately wet and soft.

“My husband said he saw a frog fly over his head,” she chortled. “He asked, ‘Baby, are you okay?’ and I replied, ‘I haven’t died leh!’ I wasn’t angry with him but it was quite scary when I flew. I never told my mum about this, or else he’d be dead! (laughs)”

Erm, we guess she knows now. And we hope Kym and Mr. Yang will be more careful.

Sheila Sim
Sheila Sim
17 Sep 2018

Sheila Sim

Packing essentials: Given one particularly horrifying tanning experience she had a long time ago, sunblock is certainly at the top of the list.

Before her days as an actress and ambassador for a top skincare brand, the model savoured sessions where she did nothing but soak up the sun. However, her love for turning into a bronze goddess went a tad overboard one summer in Hong Kong, when she was “so badly burned” that she couldn’t even lie down.

“Every time I lay down, I could feel the blisters all over my body,” she winced (we winced too). “It was so bad that even my ears were peeling. No joke. That was one of the worst summers and tans of my life.” Now, her philosophy is, “If I’m going to be under the sun, I make sure it’s worth my while.”

An example of such a worthwhile sun-drenched endeavour would be all those hikes she’s been going on – and will keep going on – with her husband. “I love how majestic it is and how you can get so close to nature and feel so small while realising that there are all these wonderful things around you,” she gushed.

One of her most unforgettable moments in nature was during a trip to Indonesia’s Gili Islands with her husband. “One night, while we were cycling, we looked up at the sky and it was like stardust – speckles of stars everywhere,” she said. “It only lasted for two magical seconds because I think clouds came, but it was amazing.”

Like anyone else might have done, Sheila thought of taking a photo, but of course, her phone wasn’t powerful enough to snap such a stunning scene. At least she managed to capture it in her memory.

Zhang Zhen Huan
Zhang Zhen Huan
17 Sep 2018

Zhang Zhen Huan

Packing essentials: A book and mosquito repellent, the latter of which is to be put in his room while he’s sleeping, because bedbugs aren’t the only creepy crawlies you should be worrying about.

Don’t expect Zhen Huan to bare a Baywatch-worthy beach body anytime soon (if ever). The actor forlornly revealed that ever since he suffered a slipped disc from a basketball accident years ago, he’s been unable to do certain exercises, such as full sit-ups. “From then on I couldn’t work on my abs,” he sighed.

Fortunately, his condition didn’t stop him from trying out paddle-boarding for the first time in Bintan (which he obviously enjoyed immensely, judging from the number of times he kept trying it out for himself after we were done photographing him). According to Zhen Huan, that was the first time he took part in a water-related activity since filming a variety show in Korea three years ago.

“I had go down a tube slide twice – if I knew how scary it was, I wouldn’t have done it!” he laughed (that must have been one insane tube slide). However, he clarified that it’s not heights he is scared of, but the heart-pumping adrenaline that comes from zooming down at a high speed (and not knowing what’s ahead of you). Plus, because he was doing it for work, the mood was just completely different from if he were there for fun.

Well, sounds like it’s time to book that resort vacation with your girlfriend, Zhen Huan.

Joey Swee
Joey Swee
17 Sep 2018

Joey Swee

Packing essentials: Sunblock, insect repellent (lots of it), snacks and skincare products. “I bring sunblock pills too so I can have 24 hours of protection even if I forget to replenish the lotion!” No wonder her skin is so nice.

The self-proclaimed tiger mum is no stranger to making sacrifices for her three sons, but her showbiz career isn’t the only thing she’s had to give up in order to give her boys the best.

Sharing that she’s someone who prefers cold places (such as mountainous areas or a city in the winter) because she’s not fond of sweating, Joey said she has “no choice” but to bring her children to the scorching seaside because she doesn’t want them to be too sheltered. “If they’re always in cool weather or in an air-conditioned room, they can never get out of their comfort zone,” she explained. “I don’t enjoy it, but I still have to do it, because I want them to be exposed to water sports.”

Thankfully, her willingness to “suffer” under the sun for the sake of her sons’ sportsmanship paid off, as she was able to witness how naturally talented her eldest son Kynaston turned out to be in surfing. “I didn’t know they (Kynaston and his younger brother Jefferson) could do it – I never expected them to stand up!” she exclaimed. “It was really nice, and that became a very memorable trip.”

Chen Yixi
Chen Yixi
17 Sep 2018

Chen Yixi

Packing essentials: Sandals, sunglasses, his sketchpad and, “Now I know: more sunblock! It’s a must ah.” What happened was, he didn’t slather on enough lotion and became as red as a lobster, complete with several odd tan lines. “I get tan easily because I’m Tan Yixi. Get it?” Please ignore him.

We wonder what Xiang Yun would think when she finds out that her son, Yixi, and her husband, Edmund Chen, rode scooters through three lanes of notorious, potentially life-threatening Bali traffic. “It was crazy and we freaked out, but we survived!” Yixi grinned, adding that they preferred hanging out in rural areas after that (we don’t blame them).

Other than that, his most memorable island vacation happened when he was about 16 or 17 years old, when he, his father, sister Chen Yixin and cousins went on a banana boat ride. “The waves were crazy, and all of a sudden, one huge one hit us – BOOM – and everyone just flew everywhere,” he recalled. “It was so dramatic and traumatic, and has stuck with me to this day.”

But where was his mum? “She doesn’t really like to go into the water, she’d be like, ‘Ah, I’m so tired, I want to go enjoy the spa’. (laughs) She’s the least outdoorsy person I know,” he chuckled. “If she had gone on that banana boat ride with us, she would have hated us!”

Hong Hui Fang
Hong Hui Fang
17 Sep 2018

Hong Hui Fang

Packing essentials: Anything and everything that will keep those UVA and UVB rays at bay, no matter how odd she might look in them.

If you ever see a woman with barely an inch of exposed skin during your next seaside getaway, it’s probably Hui Fang. “I’m not afraid of water but I’m afraid of the sun – everyone knows I’m a snowman!” chuckled the veteran actress, adding that she usually gets quizzical stares from westerners thanks to her overly covered up state (think a hat, sunglasses, mask, gloves and a scarf around her waist). “That’s my beach look. (laughs)”

Her dedication to keeping clear of sunlight (she said she’s afraid of the heat and of getting those dreaded freckles) was clear in a hilarious anecdote she shared from her days of filming the diving scenes for Super Senior. “While waiting for the crew to set up, the cast would float on the surface, but I refused to come out from underwater because it was too hot!” she recalled. “I remained underwater, clutching to seaweed, for as long as it took for them to set up the cameras. I had an oxygen tank anyway.”

Now we highly suspect that Hui Fang may be a vampire as well.

Chen Yixi, Kym Ng and Zhang Zhen Huan pose for a picture in the middle of filming
Chen Yixi, Kym Ng and Zhang Zhen Huan pose for a picture in the middle of filming
17 Sep 2018

Chen Yixi, Kym Ng and Zhang Zhen Huan pose for a picture in the middle of filming

Sheila Sim walks across a glass path on water
Sheila Sim walks across a glass path on water
17 Sep 2018

Sheila Sim walks across a glass path on water

Zhang Zhen Huan tries out paddle-boarding for the first time
Zhang Zhen Huan tries out paddle-boarding for the first time
17 Sep 2018

Zhang Zhen Huan tries out paddle-boarding for the first time

Chen Yixi spots our camera (in the middle of filming) and strikes a pose
Chen Yixi spots our camera (in the middle of filming) and strikes a pose
17 Sep 2018

Chen Yixi spots our camera (in the middle of filming) and strikes a pose

Chen Yixi and Yao Wen Long film a scene together
Chen Yixi and Yao Wen Long film a scene together
17 Sep 2018

Chen Yixi and Yao Wen Long film a scene together

Kym Ng managed to spot our camera from far away
Kym Ng managed to spot our camera from far away
17 Sep 2018

Kym Ng managed to spot our camera from far away

Reach for the Skies airs weeknights, 7.30pm on Channel 8. Watch past episodes on Toggle.

Related:
All work and all play for the ‘Reach for the Skies’ cast in Bintan
Sheila Sim has finally confirmed her honeymoon plans
Tiger mum Joey Swee makes sons work hard (and play harder)
That one time Zhang Zhen Huan told his girlfriend to stay away

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