What do the stars of ‘Fifty and Fabulous’ want to say to their younger selves?

The half-a-century young veterans reflect on their showbiz journey thus far, and tell us their tips for preventing dementia

What do the stars of ‘Fifty and Fabulous’ want to say to their younger selves?
What do the stars of ‘Fifty and Fabulous’ want to say to their younger selves?
29 May 2018

What do the stars of ‘Fifty and Fabulous’ want to say to their younger selves?

Photo: Lee Zi Jin, Camelia Ting
Video: Philip Ang 


It sure was a grand sight at the press conference of Fifty and Fabulous last week, as the cast members of the upcoming drama series – local artistes Chew Chor Meng, Zheng Ge Ping, Aileen Tan, Lin Mei Jiao, Marcus Chin, Jin Yin Ji and comeback artistes Jason Oh and Chen Xiu Huan - got together to share snippets of the fun they had on set while working together not just as co-stars, but close friends of the industry.

If their sizzling chemistry and playful banter during the press conference were any indication, we think the Mandarin series, set to debut on June 6 on Channel 8, will be one for the books.

After all, who can capture the essence of living life to the fullest at the age of 50 better than these veteran actors, who have most definitely walked the talk and are showing by example?

With countless acclaimed works under their belts, we caught up with the stars and had them share their thoughts on their journey in showbiz thus far.

WATCH: What is one thing the cast of 'Fifty and Fabulous' still do for their kids?




Aileen Tan
Aileen Tan
29 May 2018

Aileen Tan

What do you usually do when you’re not working?

I like to practise hot yoga. Occasionally, I play mahjong, or meet my friends for a chat over a cup of tea. I will also watch shows and try to keep myself in the know with the latest news. I’m most afraid of getting dementia, even more than getting AIDS, so I think I can prevent that by keeping myself updated. If we really forget everything because of dementia, won't we have to leave the entertainment industry? (laughs)

Did you experience any symptoms of dementia? How do you prevent them?

I’ve noticed that I’m starting to get more forgetful, but I’m not sure if it’s because of dementia or because of the side effects from bumping my head. I was filming 2016 drama The Dream Job with Pan Ling Ling, and there was this scene where we had to fight. I accidentally bumped my head against the wall, and I can still feel the pain occasionally. I didn't get it checked because I didn’t want to face up to the truth. (laughs) It’s not extremely serious, I will just try to remind myself to read more books and memorise more things. Playing mahjong with friends is a good mental activity and exercising also helps. It’s important to eat healthily as well. This is something I’m trying to do because I tend to chow down a plate of char kway teow right after my hot yoga practice. (laughs)

The most extreme case of forgetfulness I experienced was when my sunglasses were on my head but I was still trying to find them. (laughs) Now that I think about it, it was a little scary. Thankfully, it only happened once, because afterwards I reminded myself not to do the same thing again. It was a sign. (laughs)

What would you like to say to your younger self?

I think I was too naive when I was younger. I was pretty cute too. (laughs)

What will you tell yourself now?

I like who I am now, because I have no worries. I just need to do my job well and let my acting speak for me. I will do my best, because I don’t want to fall short of the expectations the audience and my family members have of me

Lin Mei Jiao
Lin Mei Jiao
29 May 2018

Lin Mei Jiao

What do you usually do when you’re not working?

I will do the things that I really want to for myself, but it’s a secret so I can’t reveal it. (chuckles) Besides that, I will do a lot of housework. I used to do less housework when I was younger but now that I’m in my fifties, I’m starting to do more. I find joy in doing them, because I can focus my energy on doing it well. It all boils down to your mentality. If you do it as a form of relaxation, you’ll enjoy it. However, if you are doing it against your own will, you’ll be very unhappy. Hence, I choose to do them happily. (laughs)

[My daughter] Chantalle loved doing housework when she was young. I took a lot of pictures of her then. She would be washing clothes in the toilet and sweeping the floor. When I bring her out to get her hair cut, shewould help the hairdresser sweep the hair off the floor. Nowadays, she has stopped doing them. Perhaps she has reached her limit. If I knew this would happen, I wouldn’t have let her do them in the past. (laughs)

Did you experience any symptoms of dementia? How do you prevent them?

I don’t really worry about having dementia. I let nature take its course because there are many other things in life to worry about. Since it hasn’t happened, I won’t think about it, so as not to create more problems for myself. I believe we should face our lives with a more carefree attitude. Life is really short, and I’m already in my fifties, so I would like to live the rest of my life without much worries.

What would you like to say to your younger self?

To be honest, I haven’t changed much over the years, and my life has always been quite ordinary. There haven’t been many ups and downs, and I have always accepted everything the way it was. Maybe I was clueless and unaware about many things, but my personality has been largely the same.

What will you tell yourself now?

Now that I’m older, and have learnt and experienced many things, I feel that I’m now in a better position to analyse different situations. The things that have changed were mainly the way I perceive the situations and the fact that I can now approach them with a more mature mindset.

Zheng Ge Ping
Zheng Ge Ping
29 May 2018

Zheng Ge Ping

Is there anything you regret in your life with regards to your two kids?

When they were young, I was busy filming period dramas. At that time they were learning to talk, but I didn’t spend much time with them because I was filming in China. When I came back, I felt as though they grew up while I was away. One of my wishes now as a father is to accompany them through every stage of their growth.

Have you thought about your post-retirement plans?

I think the day I retire will be the day I die. (laughs) Everyone asked me what my upcoming plans are, but I feel like everyone’s the same. We are always thinking about retirement, because it makes us work harder to accomplish what we have yet to complete. 

If we tell ourselves we are going to retire next year, we will start working very hard this year. But when next year comes around, we’ll postpone it again to the following year. I’m afraid I’ll get dementia and live the rest of my life in that state if I retire. Maybe I’m just someone who enjoys the feeling of constantly working. (laughs)

What would you like to say to your younger self?

I would like to tell myself that I’ve worked hard. Thank you for persevering in the industry so that I can get to where I am today.

What will you tell yourself now?

Thank you for living. Keep going. You still have many years left in your life. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is the prime minister again at the age of 92. That really broke records!

Jin Yin Ji
Jin Yin Ji
29 May 2018

Jin Yin Ji

Did you experience any symptoms of dementia? How do you prevent them?

I try to exercise everyday, and keep away from unhealthy food. It’s okay to eat occasionally because you’ll be craving them and that can’t be helped. It doesn’t feel like you truly live if you restrict what you eat too much, so the best is to control how frequently you have them. I love pizza and hamburgers so I’ll eat them at home, but I’ll exercise afterwards. I think I’m still quite fit and am full of energy when I talk, so that’s something I’m really happy about. That’s why I always say; life is still very exciting at 70. Don't resign yourself to your age!

For exercise, I do not really recommend running because there is still the risk of having osteoporosis. A slow jog is possible, or brisk walking and warmups. Slopes are great for exercise, but you shouldn’t walk too fast too if you are at risk of heart attacks or have asthma. Slopes are great for training our calf muscles.

What were everyone’s reactions after you won your first Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes Award?

So many people congratulated me. This is definitely one of the happiest moments in my life, and I sometimes cry at night while looking at my trophy. I allowed my grandson to touch it once before I kept it. He said he wanted it, but I told him I’m safekeeping it first, and that he can’t hold it by himself. I was afraid he would drop it. I didn’t even hold the trophy for long myself, because I was so afraid of breaking it. This award was given to me at age 70 and so many people on the streets told me they were happy for me. Up until two weeks ago, I didn't dare to pick up the phone to receive calls, because I kept trembling. Now, even as I watch reruns of the award ceremony, I still cry while watching my own speech. 

What would you tell your younger self? Do you have any advice for the younger actors?

I was very stubborn, and I would like to advise the younger actors to not follow the way I was. Just enjoy the journey and have fun. Being in the entertainment industry is great because you get to understand the lives of many different people and portray it through your acting. After acting, remember to break out of your character and not get too immersed in it! For the actors of Fifty and Fabulous, we are all veterans, so we can joke around on set even when we have to film a sad scene. The moment the director calls action, everyone is back to serious mode. Those who need to cry will cry, while I become someone with dementia at the snap of a finger as well. (laughs)

Chew Chor Meng
Chew Chor Meng
29 May 2018

Chew Chor Meng

What do you usually do when you’re not working? How do you keep healthy?

I’d go about my daily routine and have breakfast after waking up. If there’s time I’ll go swimming. I’ll walk in the pool and swim for about 45 minutes. I think people have to stay active. Physical work and exercising are two different things. You may injure yourself when you take part in physically strenuous work, but exercise is catered to your body, and you can find a good balance. As for food, I’m not particularly strict because I love to eat and I eat everything. When it comes to sleep, I need six to seven hours of sleep everyday.

Did you experience any symptoms of dementia? How do you prevent them? 

I think exercise is best. Swimming ensures that I get the exercise I need. I eat turmeric and coconut oil, because I heard it’s good for preventing dementia. I don’t have any signs of dementia for now. On the flip side, I feel younger. Xiu Huan told me I used to be very noisy on set in the past, but now I have a very reassuring and comforting presence. I think my mentality is getting younger as I grow older.

What would you like to say to your younger self?

To Chew Chor Meng from 28 years ago, you are too naggy for your own good. You had too many complaints, and you acted like an old man. Now that you are really an old man, you are trying to act young instead. Although that’s impossible to accomplish, your mindset is right. Continue to stay happy, because that’s really important.

Chen Xiu Huan
Chen Xiu Huan
29 May 2018

Chen Xiu Huan

Did you ever regret your ‘Tiger Mum’ ways with your daughters?

I was worried that I was too strict with them. Now looking back on what I did, I don’t even know how I managed to do it to that extent! I asked my daughters if they felt pressured by my strict parenting, and if they hated me for what I did. But my oldest daughter told me she was thankful, and I nearly teared up. She said if it weren’t for me, she might not have been able to study what she likes, or cope with her work. I trained their attention span since young, when I got them to do the same thing for three hours straight. That is why they can now apply the same thing to their studies, which has gotten significantly tougher. My eldest daughter is studying medicine, so that is really tough. I feel heartbroken when I see how hard it is for her, but I know she can do it because she was trained by a “Tiger Mum”. (laughs)

What would you like to say to your younger self?

I think when I first entered showbiz, I was living in my own world. I was so dumb, because I had so many good friends around me but I didn’t connect with them genuinely. I lost so much time. Now, I’m still receiving lots of love. My family loves me, my husband treats me well, and my friends are all great. I believe it’s time for me to treat everyone around me with sincerity. My kids are older now so I would need to have my own circle of friends. I would like to experience life’s ups and downs together with them, instead of just getting together for meals and being happy all the time. They can tell me the problems they face, and similarly, I will share with them my own. When I was younger, I wouldn’t share my problems because I didn’t want anyone to know about them. Now, I’ve come to realise that sharing isn’t embarrassing, and it is instead a good thing. By sharing, I’ve gained new insights. Now I’m very open to sharing more about my life when my friends ask, because I know they are showing concern for me.

The cast of 'Fifty and Fabulous' post for a photo at the press conference
The cast of 'Fifty and Fabulous' post for a photo at the press conference
29 May 2018

The cast of 'Fifty and Fabulous' post for a photo at the press conference

Fifty And Fabulous debuts on June 6, 2018, 9pm on Channel 8.

Related:
Why is Chen Xiu Huan making her TV comeback after 21 years?
How Chen Xiuhuan survived the lowest point in her marriage
Jason Oh: “She’s my daughter, not my lover!”

Report a problem