The cast of 118 Reunion look back on 2017

Who do they want to ‘reunite’ with? And has 2017 been good or bad to them?

The cast of 118 Reunion look back on 2017
The cast of 118 Reunion look back on 2017
05 Jan 2018

The cast of 118 Reunion look back on 2017

Photos: Toh Zi Yi
Video: Aaron Ho

Has it really been three years since 118 first aired? Time passed by in the blink of an eye, and now, it seems that filming will indeed wrap for good for the cast of 118, after this last instalment. At the press conference for 118 Reunion, the cast, in particular, the notoriously close-knit Hong family, made up of Carrie Wong, Sheila Sim, Pan Ling Ling, Chew Chor Meng, Ya Hui, Sora Ma, Dennis Chew, Hong Ling, as well as Xu Bin and Chen Hanwei , who were both not present, erupted into hoots of laughter and cheers as various scenes from the show were flashed on screen. Also present at the press conference were supporting cast members, Kayly Loh, He Ying Ying, Kate Pang, Zong Zijie, Chen Yixi and Richie Koh.

During an interview with Toggle, the matriarch of the family, Pan Ling Ling, mused, “It’s a mix of happiness and sadness, [to be able to] film 118 ReunionWe probably wouldn’t be able to shoot together in the future, and I really appreciate and cherish this family.”

Three years is a long time indeed, and even though Ya Hui, who plays a wanton mee seller in the show, developed a fear of the noodles after playing Hong Jinzhi, at the end of the day, it was still a bittersweet farewell for her. 

 Click on to find out what other bittersweet memories the cast of 118 Reunion had in 2017.

Dennis Chew
Dennis Chew
05 Jan 2018

Dennis Chew

What is your most unforgettable memory of 2017?
I had the chance to go to a zoo in Bangkok, Thailand, called Safari World. I posted a picture of me eating pig trotters in Bangkok, and someone commented that he had something urgent to discuss with me. It turns out that he was a Thai who had grown up in Singapore, and that he really likes watching our local shows, in particular, 118.  When he returned to Thailand, he continued to watch the show via Toggle. When he knew I was in Bangkok, he said that he really wanted to bring me around a zoo in Bangkok.

My younger brother and god son joined me on the trip and when we went to the zoo, we were surprised by just how large it was! There was even a special buggy to ferry us around. So my godson was curious and he asked the guy, 'Why does everyone have to greet you when they see you?' And he replied very modestly, 'Oh, my family actually owns this zoo'. We were so shocked!

We had the chance to interact with so many animals that we wouldn't normally have the chance to interact with, like sea lions, elephants, which I really like, lions and more. We had the chance to see an African elephant they had just purchased as well. So meeting this new friend was the most unforgettable memory for me.

What is your saddest memory of 2017?
My second uncle and nanny passed away within one month of each other. I had a very good relationship with my nanny, I used to see her every day, and it feels very weird to not have her around anymore. She passed away peacefully, which really assured us. Though she’s not around anymore, when I return home, I can still feel that her spirit is in the house. I really miss her, I hope she’s doing well up there. 

Is there anything that you wish to achieve in 2018?
Grow more hair, because I feel that my hair has been growing slower recently. Maybe it’s because I acted as Shunfeng [in 118], who is bald, for so long. On the first day of the year, I vowed in front of everyone that I will tone up and become muscular this year. Everyone thought that I was joking, but I am really serious about it.

Do you have an exercise plan?
Huh, why are you asking me this question? Not yet, give me a little more time. I’m filming Eat Already 4 now, maybe after I finish filming, I will have the time to really sit down and come up with a workout plan. 

What is your most memorable Chinese New Year reunion?
One year, I decided to spend Chinese New Year overseas with my friends. I wanted to try something new, so we went to Hokkaido to ski. When you see everything covered in a blanket of white snow, you’ll find that it’s very pretty at first. We were in Hokkaido’s Niseko as well, which is famed for their fine powder-like snow, but after a few days, when the snow falls on you, you’ll start missing home, because it’s just way too white.

Pan Ling Ling
Pan Ling Ling
05 Jan 2018

Pan Ling Ling

What is your worst memory of 2017?
My recent family holiday to Korea, when we went skiing. On the third day, [Ling Ling's husband, Huang] Shinan injured his leg, and had a small fracture. He had to be on crutches for the remaining 10 days. We had to wait for him and match his pace whenever we travelled, and he was very apologetic about it. It was my first time ever seeing him so apologetic. He kept telling us to continue without him, and that he’d just stay in the hotel alone, but I was uncomfortable with that, so we kept him company in the hotel for a few days, and looked for places that were easily accessible by car and didn’t require much walking. On the last day of 2017, we had to go to the hospital's Accident & Emergency department in Singapore, where we queued for eight hours, to get an X-ray again and see a specialist, so it was the unhappiest year-end for me. It was our 21st wedding anniversary as well, and it's supposed to be a happy occasion, but he couldn’t bring me anywhere, and we could only spend it on the plane. But it was okay, the in-flight meal was pretty good. 

Were there any communication problems between you and the doctors in Korea?
We had trouble communicating with doctors in Korea. Thankfully we were on the trip with my sister and her husband, because he helped us a lot. When the accident occurred, he was at the top of the hill skiing, and he didn’t know what had happened. Later when he found out that we were at the clinic, he rushed over and drove Shinanto a small hospital. Before he got there, the staff used their phones to communicate with us, using an online translator, so we had to type what we wanted to say back and forth. It was very difficult.

How much was the medical fees?
It was $200 for the initial visit. In Seoul, the taxis refuse to drive you if the distance is too short, but the thing is that, in winter, it’s very hard for Shinan to walk around, especially with his injury. He couldn’t wear shoes, so his foot was exposed, and it was so cold sometimes that his toes would actually turn black. So he decided to wait till we got back to Singapore before seeing the doctor.

What are your Chinese New Year plans?
This year is the year of the dog, my year, so I hope it will be a prosperous year for me. I hope the 118 family to be able to bring viewers a happy year, and for our viewership to steadily increase as well. 

What is your most memorable Chinese New Year reunion?
One year, my dad was sick, but he insisted on eating reunion dinner with us, so Shinan carried him to the table to eat with us. Midway through the meal, he said that he felt very uncomfortable, and that he wanted to lie down, so Shinan carried him back to his bed, where I fed him dinner. My sons also brought their food in to sit by his bed side, where we had our reunion dinner together that year. It was a sad and very different reunion dinner that year. 

Is there an onscreen pairing that you hope to be able to reunite with once again?
Xie Shaoguang. I just saw him the other day, and asked him to come back again, but he just shook his head.

Chew Chor Meng
Chew Chor Meng
05 Jan 2018

Chew Chor Meng

What is your most unforgettable memory of 2017?
The most unforgettable experience would be the Australia trip that I went on recently. I went there for 12 days, with my primary school classmates. We’ve known each other since 1976, from when we were young lads to when we started dating, to eventually getting married and having kids. It’s been 41 years, and we’re still friends. To be able to meet with them and travel together is a very beautiful memory for me. 

What is your worst memory of 2017?
None. To me, no matter if something’s good or bad, the most important is to adjust your mind-set, face the situation, accept it and fight back against it. That way, everything will be beautiful.

Is there anything that you wish to achieve in 2018?
There are two things, the first would be for my body to become healthier. I’ll only have the strength to act if I’m healthy. In 2018, I also hope to be able to get a good role that I can shine in.

What is the biggest red packet that you’ve received?
Last year, I went visiting at a certain house during Chinese New Year, and [the owners] gave me a red packet. I kept refusing, after all I’m married and with kids already. However, the other party insisted, saying that one must take a red packet from them whenever they visit. One day when I was arranging my things, I realised that there was a $1,000 note inside. To date, that’s the biggest red packet I’ve received.

Sheila Sim
Sheila Sim
05 Jan 2018

Sheila Sim

As you’ll be tying the knot before Chinese New Year, will you be giving out red packets this year?
No, I don’t need to! For the first year, I don’t need to give red packets, so, my friends, you don’t need to wait for my red packets this year, I wouldn’t be giving any. I wouldn’t be taking any red packets as well, hopefully I’ll have a kid next year so I can continue collecting red packets, this must be planned well.

What are your Chinese New Year plans?
I had reunion dinner with my husband’s family last year, but this year will be on a bigger scale, and we might go visiting overseas.

Is there a particular dish that you must eat at a reunion dinner?
I must always have hotpot, but I want to eat hotpot everyday. And I must have abalone. I can only have abalone with hotpot during Chinese New Year. If you have that on normal days, that’s a little over [the top]. Also, my grandma’s fa cai (black moss), because she only cooks that during Chinese New Year. 

Is there an onscreen pairing that you hope to be able to reunite with once again?
Chen Han Wei, I want to film all my shows with him but I don’t think he wants to do so! (laughs)

Ya Hui
Ya Hui
05 Jan 2018

Ya Hui

What are your Chinese New Year plans?
I can't avoid the countdown shows, of course (laughs). I want to have a good sleep during the holiday, I've been kind of stressed because of Babies on Board recently. It feels like I've neglected my family and friends because of filming, so I want to make use of the 3 days to catch up with them. 

Is there a particular dish that you must eat at a reunion dinner?
Hotpot! It's like a tradition. When I was younger, I was most happy with the crabmeat, fish balls and luncheon meat, but now my standards have changed, I look forward to the wagyu beef slices. 

What is your most memorable Chinese New Year reunion?
It’s probably when I was younger, because now, I need to go leave early to prepare for the countdown show. In the past, we ate reunion dinner at night, but now it has become a reunion lunch. It’s a little rushed, and the feeling of being able to have fun and chat after dinner seems to be lost. Now I keep thinking, 'I need to leave for work soon'. It's a pretty urgent feeling, and I end up not being able to enjoy the meal. So can you please exclude me from future countdown shows? (laughs)

Questions that your relatives ask you the most often during Chinese New Year?
They will ask me some showbiz related questions, like if so-and-so are really dating. I don’t want to answer, of course, because I am not the type to gossip, so I’ll just go, 'Oh..  I don’t know'.

Hong Ling
Hong Ling
05 Jan 2018

Hong Ling

What is your most unforgettable memory of 2017?
Recently, I went to Japan! I really, really like japan, and it was my first time there. I think the people are very nice, the scenery is lovely and the weather was perfect.

What is your saddest memory of 2017?
On Christmas Day, my dog passed away, he has been with us 12 years and he passed away in my room. It’s a little regretful, because I originally planned to bring him out to the park on that day. I even bought food and snacks for him. He wanted to eat it the day before, but I didn’t let him. I told him, ‘This is for the picnic tomorrow’, but he passed away the next day.

Is there anything that you wish to achieve in 2018?
To earn as much money as possible and be filial to my parents. Because of my dog’s passing, I realised that one cannot wait, if you want to do something, you must do it immediately. For 2018, I want to live in the present.

Is there a particular dish that you must eat at a reunion dinner?
Hotpot! Our hotpot will have one clear soup base and one tom yum soup, because my mum is Thai, and her best dish is her hot and sour soup.

Is there an onscreen pairing that you hope to be able to reunite with once again?
I want to work with Richie Koh again. It feels very comfortable working with him. I’ve worked with a few [other male artistes] before, but I’m the most comfortable with Richie. We entered the industry at the same time, through Hey Gorgeous, are of similar ages and we think the same way as well

Kate Pang
Kate Pang
05 Jan 2018

Kate Pang

Is there anything that you wish to achieve in 2018?
I hope that [my online video platform] Kandie Family can shoot something that I'm proud of. For now it's still in it's baby stage, so we want to try and shoot something more artistic. But, our skills are not there yet, so we will work hard to improve.

Is there a particular dish that you must eat at a reunion dinner?
Nian gao, because it is fattening, and you can only eat it once a year.

What is your most memorable Chinese New Year reunion?
One year, my sister was about to give birth, so I had to accompany her, in Taipei. Every year I would eat reunion dinner with my granny in Kaohsiung, but because of this, I called her and told her that I would have to stay in Taipei. She said that it was fine, but when she hung up, I could feel that she was a little sad. And I felt a little anxious as well, because I ate reunion dinner with her every year. That year was actually the first that I was spending without her. So the next day, I rushed to take the train back to Kaohsiung to have the meal with her. Later I found out that she was very happy about it, and that she told everyone that I was very filial.

The members of the Hong family
The members of the Hong family
05 Jan 2018

The members of the Hong family

From left to right: Carrie Wong, Hong Ling, Sheila Sim, Pan Ling Ling, Chew Chor Meng, Ya Hui, Dennis Chew, Sora Ma

118 Reunion will debut on January 8 2017, 9pm on Channel 8. The first three episodes are now available on Toggle-It-First

Catch up on past episodes of 118 and 118 II, only on Toggle.

Watch:
Hong Ling: I’m waiting to receive red packets from Sheila Sim during Chinese New Year! 

Related:
Chen Yi Xi quits job for acting
Wedding bells to ring for Sheila Sim in January 2018

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