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Crazy Rich Asian’s Pierre Png Is The Most Hardworking (& Handsomest) Star On Singapore TV

Fact: Pierre Png is the hardest working man on TV. He is also celebrating his 20th year in showbiz this year. And what better way to mark this milestone than with a role in one of 2018’s most anticipated Hollywood movies? (This story first appeared in Issue 1448, Jul 19 2018)

After two decades in showbiz, what exactly is Pierre Png’s thing? Maybe it’s being ridiculously good-looking. After all, Zoe Tay once declared on IG that he’s “the best-looking actor in Mediacorp”, so you know it’s true. Or maybe being popular is his thing. We know everyone loves him. Have you not seen him hanging out at the Rugby Sevens finals with Rui En, who’s famously selective when it comes to friendships? “That was pretty much our first date (laughs). She is a very respectable person and she had a spate of bad luck. I’m glad she’s happy and in a good place right now,” he says of the famously-private actress.

Pierre Png’s thing at this moment definitely isn’t finding the right parking spot with ease.

It is T-minus 24 hours to the Trump-Kim Summit and as the world is falling over themselves trying to predict what will happen during that bigly historic moment, Pierre has to contend with one of life’s greatest frustrations. He’s arrived early for the shoot to find no empty lots outside the location: boutique hotel Lloyd’s Inn, which is just a stone’s throw from the late former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy-filled and saga-fueling Oxley Road family home. (We didn’t mean for today to get so political, really.) Pierre then goes on to park his hulking Land Rover at the foot of the hill… only to see that a lot had freed up after trudging his way back up. So he hurries down to get his car, drives back hastily and… “Please don’t say that someone took the spot already,” I ask the actor in anticipation.

“No! I finally managed to park right outside,” he laughs, as he wipes the sweat off his brows.

You can say that the lot was always his — he just had to put in more work to get it. It only dawned on me later that the same can be said for Pierre’s career thus far. The actor, who turns 45 this year but is still the benchmark for what a boyishly handsome guy should look like, is one of those people destined to be famous. He may be the handsomest man on local TV, but he’s also the most hardworking.

Anyone who’s worked with the actor would know that’s his thing. His rise to Ch 8 A-lister status was always an uphill battle. This is the Baba boy who could barely speak Mandarin, who had to work doubly hard when it came to learning his lines compared to his linguistically-blessed colleagues, who never gave up, who finally ended up as one of Chinese drama’s most dependable leading men, and who now peppers his conversation with Mandarin phrases.

He can have all the parking lots he wants, if you ask us.

2018 marks the actor’s 20th year in showbiz. Not that Pierre was even aware of the milestone. “Now that you say it, there are suddenly a lot of emotions and thoughts going through my mind,” he chuckles, beaming that famously cheeky grin. The rest of the crew has not arrived yet so it’s just the two of us chilling out in the Big Skyroom, a duplex suite with pristine white walls and a sun roof that engulfs the room with natural light.The St. Gabriel’s Primary and Holy Innocents High alum came to fame in that era where must-see TV actually meant sitting in front of the television at a specific time so you could watch your favourite star in the latest drama. Those days may be over — thankyouverymuch catch-up video and the Internet — but he still has that level of fame that his younger colleagues can only dream of. He is a household name that people in your household, from age
2018 may also be the biggest year in Pierre’s career. Apart from starring in three Toggle series and one Ch 8 drama, You Can Be An Angel 3, he will also be seen on the big screen in the Hollywood movie, Crazy Rich Asians. The film, adapted from Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel of the same name and which also stars Henry Golding, Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh, centers on the crazy rich lives of Singapore’s wealthiest elite. In the Jon M. Chu-directed movie, Pierre plays Michael Teo, a dashing former army guy-turned tech entrepreneur who is married to a woman from one of Singapore’s richest families. Pierre says there are a lot of similarities between him and Michael, one of which is that they “both married up”.Now, if I were to ever have a daughter, I would want her to find a man like Pierre Png. Seriously, being a great husband has to be his thing. Just listening to the way
What do you remember most fondly about the ’90s?It would mean I was still in the army? Yeah, that would be it.Why is the army so close to your heart?I really enjoyed it. If things had gone well, I would have signed on. I would have joined the commandos.Your life would have been so different.Andrea and I talk about this all the time. We think I may have just done one contract (laughs). I think I would have been more of a welfare officer. I’m all for having fun.Why would you guys talk about this?’Cos we say how our lives, our paths just crossed. We might have [still met] but Andrea is so sought-after. I mean….. doctors, lawyers… You know they would (pauses) and she settled for me. I would imagine the only time I would get to meet Andrea was at the NDP ’cos she hosted it so many times. And even then, I would be in uniform. Like hello, you’re just a lieutenant (laughs)’
2014 was a good year for you ’cos you were named Best Actor at the Star Awards (for The Journey: A Voyage) and at the Asian Television Awards (for Ch 5 drama Zero Calling). Did you see it as vindication for people doubting your acting abilities?I think when that year came and went, it made me realise that things were not that bad lah. While I was celebrating, I looked at myself in the mirror and I realised that I had won an award when some of my colleagues never even got a chance to come close. So I it reinforced what I believed about the industry and the hard work that I put in. It made a difference in my career but the very next day, you’re are back to work and it’s the same thing all over again. Sure, people tease you about it but you also realise that the standard has been raised. I tell my nephews and nieces that what I learnt from this is that, if you want to be good, you

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