Former Ch 8 actress Lina Ng, 43, talks about starring in her first Ch 5 show, the parenting dramedy Lion Mums, and teaching her three sons about the birds and the bees.
8 DAYS: You’re making your Ch 5 debut on the second season of Lion Mums. Why did you take it on?
LINA NG: It’s my first Ch 5 drama, and it’s a lead role! When I went for the audition, I really liked the script. As a mother, I could really identify with the story and that made me very excited. Also, the filming dates fit my schedule very well. We only filmed during school holidays and on weekends so I could still take care of my kids. Lastly, I wanted to challenge myself. After doing Chinese dramas for over 20 years, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and see if I could manage. It’s been quite stressful but I just told myself that even if I fail, it’s okay because I’ve done my best. I didn’t want to regret not trying it.
Your character, Chae Lian, is the ultimate elitist know-it-all mum. Are you like that too?
I’m similar to Chae Lian in the sense that I’m very involved in my children’s lives. I have three boys and they need a certain level of discipline; I’m there to take care of them so that they won’t be slack. However, I’m neither an elitist nor a know-it-all. I’m a very silly and goofy mum in real life. I like to joke around with my kids, and I encourage them to tell me all their problems. You know, children go through sex education in school when they are in Primary 5 or 6. I’m the type of mum who would tell them to ask me questions if they are curious about [the topic]. I’m open-minded like that and I feel that [sex] is nothing to be embarrassed about. If we make sex a taboo subject, it makes the whole thing very unnatural when it’s just part and parcel of life (laughs).
You have three sons, Jeriel, 13, Joel, 11, and Samuel, six. Do you cane them when they misbehave?
Spare the rod, spoil the child. I do cane my kids but I don’t abuse them. I give them warnings and second chances when they make mistakes. However, I’d punish them if they tell lies; lying goes against our family values. When my second son was in Primary Two, he lied repeatedly and it was something I couldn’t tolerate. I gave him a few strokes of the cane. He’s the most mischievous but also the most affectionate. He loves to hug and kiss me all the time (smiles).
What’s the most kiasu thing you’ve done as a mother?
It’s not school-related. I remember carrying my youngest and queuing for the Transformers ride at Universal Studios Singapore for two hours (guffaws). It was the most popular ride then and I told my husband to take my other sons to enjoy the other rides while I queued with my youngest son. Well, I wasn’t happy doing it but I did it anyway (laughs).
Do your kids know that you are famous?
Yes, my two older sons know. Sometimes when we are out, strangers would come to ask for a photo or chat with me. That’s when my sons would look at me and say: “Wow, ma, you are famous!” And I would tell them: “Yes, I told you so, you don’t believe?” (Guffaws)
Do you ever think about trying for a daughter?
(Laughs) When we had our first two sons, who are only two years apart, my husband and I wished for a daughter. We held on to that thought for about five years before we found the courage to try again. And our third child turned out to be another boy. These days, although I think about it from time to time, I won’t try for a fourth child as I’m already past 40, and it’s too tiring for me physically. I always tell myself, even though I don’t have a daughter, I will get a good daughter-in-law in the future.
What’s next for you after Lion Mums?
I have a cameo in an upcoming Ch 8 show. I play Bonnie Loo’s sickly mother with a secret to hide. These days, if I take up a Ch 8 role, it has to be something challenging that I haven’t tried before. This month, I’ll be working as a part-time DJ with Love 97.2FM for three months — I’m looking forward to that. I don’t think I’d go back to being a full-time actress even though I enjoy acting, as I’m getting older and certain roles require a lot of energy and commitment. If I over-exert myself, I won’t be happy. I still want to take on supporting roles on Ch 8, though. I may even accept bigger roles in the future when my boys are older and my schedule is more flexible!
Lion Mums returns on Aug 9, Ch 5, 9.30pm. It's also on Toggle.