The setting: a swish hotel suite. Plush carpeting, ornately-carved wood walls, baroque daybeds, crystal chandeliers. Frank Sinatra’s belting out ‘New York, New York’ in the background. There’s a tinkle of liquor glasses and a whiff of perfume in the air. are we still in Singapore, or have we stumbled upon the set of hit american TV series Mad Men, set amidst the glitz and audacity of 1960s new York? Then, two shiny heads pop into view. One mumbles something in Singapore-accented Chinese; the other has a faint Shanghainese twang. It’s Elvin Ng and Dai Xiangyu, wearing enough Brylcreem in their hair to put Mad Men’s Don Draper to shame. In another room, Jeanette Aw sits in a lovely floral frock, her jingle bell laugh occasionally penetrating the haze of hairspray around her pretty head. Zhang Zhenhuan perches bashfully on a daybed, clutching a flimsy bathrobe tightly around his chest as he awaits his Emporio Armani suit.
Looks like we’re still in Singapore. In fact, we’re in the cavernous Singapore Suite of the Shangri-La Hotel, where four of the stars of hit Ch 8 drama Together — whose run ends next week — are getting prepped to go back in time together for a last hurrah — except we’re yanking them off the back alleys of ’60s and ’70s Singapore and plonking them in a time where Hollywood glamour and devil-may-care bravado are the order of the day. Since they’re starring in our Old-School Issue, we have to ask: are Jeanette, Xiangyu, Elvin and Zhenhuan the übermodern urbanites they appear to be, or old souls stuck in the bodies of goodlooking twentysomethings? The results may surprise you. almost as much as it surprised us when the usually-shy Zhenhuan coos to Elvin, “We’re feeling each other,” and Elvin, sprawled across a vintage desk, coos back, “He’s trying to seduce me.” Relax, girls, they’re merely getting into character for the shoot.
Jeanette Aw: Old-School Soul or Modernista?
Letters or email? "I still use snail mail and write cards, especially to my friends overseas. There’s a more personal touch."
Teresa Teng or Jolin Tsai? "Jolin Tsai, definitely! I can relate to her more. Also, I dance, and I like Jolin’s dance moves."
CDs or MP3? "I usually listen to CDs in the car or at home. It’s weird to be plugged into an MP3 player all the time."
The guy pays or go dutch? "I don’t mind going Dutch lah, but the guy should plan the date. I’m lazy that way. I’d never ask a guy out on a date — he should always take the initiative. I’m so old-fashioned!"
A good book or the latest blockbuster? "Good book. When I’m waiting on set, I’ll read. But I play [multi-player online role-playing game] World of Warcraft when I have time. I’ve got a character at level 80, which is the highest."
Xiao long bao or han bao bao (hamburger in Chinese)? "Xiao long bao! I can’t even remember the last time I ate fast food."
Sentimental or ruthless about throwing things out? "Sentimental. I keep stuff such as letters and books. The oldest thing I’ve kept is a singlet I used to wear as a baby. It’s a plain white singlet that’s yellow by now!"
Wind-up timepiece or digital watch? "Wind-up. To me, a watch is like an accessory. Even when I’m wearing one, I’ll look at my phone for the time."
Vintage stuff: cool or icky? "I’ll buy it as long as it looks nice. I don’t think about who used it before. You can find a lot of special accessories and good stuff at flea markets."