Ian Fang Says Reverting To Original Chinese Name Is Like “Reincarnation”, Hopes To “Make Up For Things In The Past [He] Didn’t Handle Well”
The Mediacorp actor tells 8days.sg he wants a "new start" in his career. However, he is not changing his English name 'cos it's a "great name".
On Tuesday (May 24), Ian Fang, 33, announced that from now, he would go by his original Chinese name Fang Weijie instead of his stage name Fang Weijie.
Okay, before anyone goes "Huh, what?", here’s what it means.
Ian’s birth name Weijie (or 威捷) and the name he uses Weijie (or 伟杰) may read the same when written in English, but they sound entirely different when said in Mandarin.
When 8days.sg spoke to Ian on the phone yesterday (May 25), he says that we weren’t the only ones surprised by his announcement.
In fact, when he shared the news on his IG story, plenty of his friends and followers were shocked that he wasn’t going by his original name in the first place.
So why wait ‘til now to use his birth name?
Turns out Ian and his mum are believers of fengshui and she came up with his original name after consulting several fengshui masters.
Though they didn't seek any advice this time, Ian says his mum felt that it's the right time for him to start going by his original name again.
"I guess it's like a "reincarnation" 'cos us Chinese, we believe in the 12 year cycle, and it just happens to line up with the number of years I've been in showbiz. I also see it as a new stage for me to start again," Ian says.
We know you're wondering: how did his stage name come about then?
According to Ian, when he first moved to Singapore from Shanghai in 2002, many of his peers and teachers in school were unable to pronounce his name correctly.
Over time, he just got used to people addressing him wrongly and so when he entered showbiz, he just went with the pronunciation of 'Weijie' that everyone used on him.
When asked if he hopes going by his original name would change his fortunes, an optimistic Ian says: “I feel it would probably take me on new journeys in life going forward and bring me more opportunities. I also hope that I can use my real name to make my path smoother.”
He also tells us that making this change symbolises “a new start” for his career.
So... why the need to start again?
When we ask Ian how he feels about his popularity these days, he starts by telling us that it's not up to him to say how popular he is, but he's grateful for those who have supported him over the years.
Then, he alluded to what we assume is his leaked DMs scandal from three years ago. Or it could be his rap career. We can't be sure.
"Of course I have also created 'some things' that let the audience see the good and bad side of me. So through that process I also want to let others see that I've grown and matured and I hope for them to give me the chance to make up for the things in the past I didn't handle well [sic] and hope for them to see the real me," he says.
Since we were on the topic of changing names for the better, has Ian thought of changing his English name as well?
"I've never thought of changing that... Ian is a great name!" he laughs.
As to whether he thinks his 'new' original name will stick with audiences, Ian is not worried, and says people will "need time to get used to it".
He goes on to mention how his pal and The Unbreakable Bond co-star James Seah was called 'Xie Honghui' during his Star Search days and that it also took some time for people to get used to calling James by his current name 'Xie Junfeng'.
When Ian spoke to us last year, he revealed that he was seeing someone who is not in showbiz. He also joked that he might “just get married” this year without us knowing.
As such there were questions that had to be asked, like does he have any good news to share with us?
The actor laughs when we bring up the topic, saying: “[Our relationship is] still ongoing lah. But when it comes to marriage, I probably still need some time. [Marriage] is not a confirmed thing. What I meant was that [maybe] I’ll get married this year, [maybe] I’ll get married next year. I don’t know when, but of course I’m working towards that direction because I’m 33 and I hope to settle down.”
He goes on to say that he’s very happy with how things are now and that he and his girlfriend, who he says works for [her] 'family business', are still getting to know each other better.
Since Ian is currently on break from work — his last project was The Unbreakable Bond — what has he been up to these days?
He says he doesn't like going out, before sharing with a rather unusual habit of his: He spends quite a bit of time sitting in his bathroom… thinking.
According to Ian, he has a space in his bathroom that's specially dedicated for him to sit and gaze out of the window at night while he ponders over stuff.
“I just look at my phone and put some music on and I let myself think and kinda meditate. Except it isn’t really meditating but just practicing mindfulness and zoning out,” he says.
Photos: Ian Fang/ Instagram
You can catch Ian on The Unbreakable Bond, which is available on demand for free on meWATCH. It airs on weekdays, 9pm on Ch 8.
Or catch the latest episode below.