When the camera is on Shane Pow and Kimberly Wang at our cover shoot at the hipster-chic Hotel G, the poses come easy and naturally. Off-camera, they’re sometimes Fann-Chris mushy (their pet names for each other are “too [embarrassing] to reveal”, Shane hedges).
At times, they’re a couple of love-drunk school kids, holding hands during hair and make-up (she later darts over to reach for his ankles because she’s freezing and “your ankles give me more warmth,” she squeals.) At other times, they’re like a married couple.
As the couple’s posing with a punching bag between them, the 987 jock is pulling faux punches at him. He sniggers: “I think you can caption this, ‘Their relationship in a nutshell’.” She glares at him, smacks him playfully, and asks in a cutesy voice reserved only for Shane: “Is it you unhappy?” He slinks away, chortling: “Let me find a corner to hide.”
No matter which way you see it, there are more sparks flying here than at the NDP fireworks finale.
During our chat, the loved-up sweethearts are on fire, playing off each other’s energy. The rapport is so palpable, we’re wondering why they haven’t got their own talkshow yet (though they’re playing husband and wife in Toggle series, Die Die Also Must Serve). These two constantly finish each other’s sentences, and it’s hard for anyone else to get a word in edgewise.
And to think that she couldn’t even remember his name in the early days of their friendship. Or in Shane’s case, courtship, since he confesses to being lovestruck from the first day they met, when they were teamed up for a President’s Star Charity item three years ago. “We didn’t talk during rehearsals ’cos there were so many people,” Kim recalls.
Let’s go right back to the start. What were your first impressions of each other?
SHANE POW: I thought she was very cute, bubbly and very active.
KIMBERLY WANG: Very active? What kind of description is that? We were just sitting down in class [for the President’s Star Charity item]. My first impression of him was, er, not much. (Laughs)
S: It’s true. She couldn’t even remember my name.
K: I did remember! It just slipped my mind at that moment. This was after many sessions and we were already rehearsing in the theatre. They were trying to work out where we were gonna sit. I don’t know why but I heard it as, “Shawn, sit here.” I thought, “There’s no Shawn in our group.” But when I said it out, I said, “Who’s Shane?” He was right beside me, and he was like, “What? You don’t know my name?”
S: I’d already noticed her by then. So it was like, “Oh my god, I just wasted so many hours of my life. No chance already!”
K: Yeah, apparently he went for the classes only because I was going. But because of that incident, we started talking.
When did you know that you were into each other?
K: He told his friends. They dropped hints but nobody actually told me.
S: When I first met her, I was already interested. (Ugly cries) And yet she couldn’t remember my name! I was doing a two-month radio stint on YES 933 then, so after my shift, I’d find excuses to go find her [at the 987 studio] since she was on the night shift then.
K: He finished at 11pm, and I ended at 12am. He’d come by and we’d chat a bit. He’d say he was waiting for his friends to confirm supper plans. But actually, he had no plans. Then when my shift ended, he’d say his friends aren’t coming out to eat and ask me if I wanted to go for supper. Quite smooth, right? It took me quite a while to realise that I was into him. Even after he told me he was into me, I was very uncertain. He has a pai kia (Hokkien for ‘bad boy’) face. When I met him two years ago, he was very different and a lot more playful. If he had work at 7am, he’d still party until 2am. Next day, he’d say he’s very tired. Now he’s more mature and makes more sensible choices.
S: I was young. My body could take it. We’re still young. Let’s go party tonight!
K: You’re on your own. I have to wake up at 4.30am for work tomorrow.
How did he ask you to be his girlfriend?
S: You said no. (Laughs)
K: It was a total fail moment. At that point, we’d been going out for a couple of months and it was quite stable. He’d planned to take me to a nice rooftop place to ask me to be his girlfriend there. But it had been raining many days in a row, but he couldn’t change plans ’cos he’d already written a letter and had the date written down.
S: And the letter was in a book.
K: To change anything, he’d have to rip the page out and it’d look very ugly. But we hung out anyway and he asked. I told him, “No, I think you still have a lot of growing up to do.” I still felt he was an immature boy. He’s a nice and kind human being in general, but I wasn’t certain about a full-on relationship. But I thought about it, and not too long after, I said, “Okay, let’s try. But you better grow up, boy!”
Have you met the parents?
K: Yes. If by now we haven’t met the parents, then jialat. I think he was terrified of my father the first time they met. (Laughs)
S: Not really. It’s weird, but our parents are similar in a way. It’s nothing stressful like, “Oh my god, I’m going to see your mum.” Her parents are very nice people and easy to talk to.
K: The first time [I met his mum], he actually brought her to the studio to see me. They were filming a cooking show right across [the studio].
So when are you getting married?
S: (Pauses) At this point, we’re still at a very comfortable stage. For most people, the end goal is to get married.
K: Are you saying your end goal is not to get married?
S: No lah. Then I waste time here for what?
K: Okay, good answer.
S: No one goes into a relationship to get out of a relationship.
K: Is it? Wow, mature words.
S: We haven’t gone into details like when we’ll get married, the timeline, that kind of stuff. But we’re working hard in our careers and working towards a common goal. Even moving in together is a bit difficult now. We’re still trying to earning money to buy a place, rather than rent a place. You’re just burning money away if you rent. Maybe if I can afford my own place by next year, and if she wants to, we can move in together.
K: I don’t have to fork out a single cent? Sounds like a good deal.
S: Or maybe you make enough money to buy the house, then I can move in and cook and clean for you?
K: No, you can pay me rent.
Is it a good or bad thing that both of you are in showbiz?
S: Good lah. Sometimes, people don’t want to date within the industry ’cos, er…
K: They believe in not s****ing where you eat.
S: For us, it’s been okay. Plus, I can eat the s*** also. (Guffaws)
K: (Glares at him) What? That’s not how the saying works, guys! If you plan to s*** there already then don’t eat there.
You see each other at work, after work...You’re practically inseparable.
K: In June, he went to China to film almost the whole month.
S: Of course we missed each other. We kept in touch on WhatsApp most of the time, and video calls if we can. We still sent photos and videos to each other. Because we’re both in the same industry, she understands that I could be online on WhatsApp and not reply ’cos I’m doing other stuff. I could be filming but if I have urgent stuff to attend to, then I won’t reply. It’s the same with her.
K: (In jest) I thought you said I was your No. 1 priority?
How far would you take it with couple-y things people do? Matching tattoos?
K: Never. I don’t have any tattoos — I’m not against them, I just don’t have any ’cos I can’t decide what I want.
S: I have a few, but I’ll never get a couple tattoo. ’Cos I don’t want us to break up! People say that couple tattoos are cursed.
K: (Feigns horror) So you believe that our relationship will be cursed by a tattoo or a myth?
S: I’m quite superstitious. I believe in the ‘feng’ and the ‘shui’. (Laughs) We have friends with couple tattoos. It’s not just one friend — it’s friends. After they break up, they have to go cover them up. We can wear couple T-shirts or shoes, but tattoos? If other people say it’s bad, then we’ll take the chance and believe it.
K: He means he will take the chance and believe it. I just don’t want anything on my body to be matching to his
Okay, let’s play a game. Guess who the other party last WhatsApped.
K: He either WhatsApped his business partner Sean, his mother, his group chat called ‘Men’s night’ or ‘Men’s talk’ or something like that. If not, it’s another group chat but I cannot say the name here ’cos you’d have to bleep it out.
S: Correct. It’s Sean and the bleeped-out group chat. For her, it’s probably the 987FM Get Up group chat, the 987FM main chat and her manager. [Looks over at Kim’s phone] I’m correct!
You let each other see your WhatsApp chats?
S: We do. Sometimes when I’m driving, I’ll ask her to help me reply to messages.
Who’s the other person’s last girl/boyfriend?
K: Hah, I know who it is. Of course we share our dating histories with each other. But I can’t say who it is.
S: Yeah we know who each other’s ex-es are. We hang out with her ex-boyfriend.
K: But I don’t hang out with his ex-girlfriend. For good reason.
S: (Interrupts loudly) Okay! Moving on!
Photos: Aik Chen. Styling: Martin Wong. Hair: Kenneth Sin @ Air Salon. Make-up: Beno Lim using NARS. Shot on location at Hotel G Singapore (www.hotelgsingapore.com).