‘Super Senior’ actors take the plunge and dive in new TV drama

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for their new drama roles in Channel 8’s Super Senior

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

Photos: Isadora Ong & Joanna Goh
Video: Teng Siew Eng


They say learning is a lifelong journey and this statement rings especially true for the cast of veteran actors Xiang Yun, Hong Huifang, Chen Shu Cheng and Wang Yuqing who were at the pool learning scuba diving (yes, you read that right) for their upcoming Channel 8 drama, Super Senior, last Thursday.

In case you’re wondering - the average age of actors in this diving class stands at 56 years old, but age is just a number to these gung-ho veterans who clearly had no qualms saying “yes” to learning a new and physically challenging and demanding sport for the drama centered on Singapore’s greying population.

“We were made to share information on our health conditions before doing this drama and the boss [was worried] and wanted to change the activity we were supposed to do. But now that we’ve had a taste of diving, we can’t wait to head out to the seas for filming in April,” chuckled Shu Cheng, who at 66 years old is the oldest “student” and diver.

Decked in their full-body wet suits and flippers, they wobbled around the pool (“Like penguins!” quipped Xiang Yun) and struggled with their heavy oxygen tanks and bulky gear when they were in the pool at Outram Secondary School. It was quite a sight to see these greying actors do warm ups, swim laps and rehearse their diving moves with their instructors to make sure they got it down pat.

(Continued on next page)

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

In fact, Shu Cheng, who is the oldest of the lot and the only member of the pioneer generation, was first to be done with his training lessons in the pool. The sprightly actor shared that his daughter and son in-law are recreational divers too and they have imparted some tips and information to him at home prior to the class.

Xiang Yun, the only non-swimmer of the lot, had it a lot harder than her peers. Not only did she have to overcome her phobia of water (after getting stung by a jelly fish and being caught in an undercurrent at sea in her 20s), the 54-year-old had to take an additional class in swimming before she started on diving classes.

Despite being able to swim on her own now, after learning the freestyle stroke, being underwater still unnerves her. “It’s really scary being underwater. You feel helpless!” said Xiang Yun, during her short break. “I still have a lot of things to learn as I’m unable to accomplish certain moves yet. Can you imagine how hard this is going to be in the open seas?”

According to the director, they will be filming some swimming shots in Singapore before the actors travel to Bintan in April to shoot the diving scenes.

Shu Cheng also let on that body doubles will be used for the more challenging scenes in the show and these actors will also be accompanied by professional divers to ensure the safety of everyone.

Read on as we check in with these “seniors” to see how they’re coping with diving classes so far.

Super Senior debuts on Channel 8, June 11 at 9pm.

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

Chen Shu Cheng, the go-getter pioneer generation member

The efficient and enthusiastic actor took to diving like a fish in water. Game and ready for anything (he wants to learn how to fly a plane on his next drama project), Shu Cheng likened the importance of their diving lessons to that of driving classes. “This is just like asking an actor who can’t drive to do a driving scene – your face will be so tensed up it wouldn’t look natural,” he said.

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

Wang Yuqing returns to the pool after 30 years

He had to specially learn how to swim for hit TV series Flying Fish in the ‘80s but Yuqing claims he’s no expert in the sport and “has not been swimming for the past 30 years.”

“I’m afraid of water because I’m afraid of drinking [pool] water (…) and I stopped swimming after that drama as I also have a phobia for the sea. Who knows I’d be swimming again 30 years later,” he mused. Apart from swimming, Yuqing will also have to learn how to dance hip-hop with his co-star, Xiang Yun.

“How am I supposed to do it [at this age]?!” he laughed, “And we will be competing with each other [in the show] too!”

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

Xiang Yun tries to overcome her fear for the sea by thinking of its beauty instead

While apprehensive about her non-existent swimming abilities, Xiang Yun’s raring to hit the seas around Bintan Island now. She shared that she’s been watching a few documentaries to better understand what awaits her in her first dive and plans to hit the pool on a regular basis to train her swimming skills.

“My instructor has also been trying to entice me by telling me of the fishes and living creatures I’d see under the sea,” she chuckled. “He said I’d be able to swim amongst fishes which would feel like I’m flying in the skies with birds too. And said I’d see a lot of beautiful underwater scenery.”

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

Hong Huifang hits the gym daily to build a stronger stamina

The physical endurance of the seniors in this drama will be put to the test more than once – not only do they have to learn how to dive, we were told dancing (street dance) and rock-climbing were also some activities on their to-learn list. When Huifang’s (hunk-le) husband Zheng Ge Ping learned that she’d be taking on diving classes for this drama, he only had two words for her: “Shiok lah!”

So how is Huifang preparing for her rock-climbing and diving scenes?

“I hit the gym for one hour every day. I do a bit of running on it and try to train my thighs on other machine too as I’d need a lot of strength in my legs and hands to do rock-climbing,” she shared.

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

Super Senior actors take a group picture with their two diving instructors before hitting the pool.

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

The Super Senior actors during their warm-up session in the pool.

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

Due to her petite frame, Xiang Yun had a hard time putting on her diving gear.

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior
02 Feb 2015

These at least half-a-century-old actors take up diving lessons to prepare for drama Super Senior

A group photo of the families in Super Senior at the lensing ceremony this morning
A group photo of the families in Super Senior at the lensing ceremony this morning
02 Feb 2015

A group photo of the families in Super Senior at the lensing ceremony this morning

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