We’re at the press conference of Have A Little Faith, Ch 8’s new 20-ep drama about the disputes between a stingy landlord (Chen Shucheng) and his three tenants played by Zhang Zhenhuan, Marcus Chin and Rui En, the latter conspicuously missing from today’s press meet. According to Ch 8, the actress, who most recently made the news for getting into a kerfuffle with her elderly neighbours, is “currently overseas for an extended break”. We speak to the other cast members to hear about their landlord-tenant stories.
“I’ve lived in 10 different rented apartments since moving to Singapore more than a decade ago. I once stayed with a roommate who was so inconsiderate. He’d smoke in the air-conditioned room that we were sharing while I was sleeping. I couldn’t stand it as it was really smelly! When I was studying in university, I had a landlord who was a 'Pei Du Mama' (study mama) and she was super particular. She’d set a 10.30pm curfew for me and didn’t allow my friends to come over. Once, I went home late and I had to climb into my room from the outside [through the window] as we lived on the first floor and I didn’t want her to find out! Needless to say, I moved out two months later (guffaws).”
“I’ve not rented before and I’m not open to the idea of sharing a living space with strangers or even relatives. Even when my sister borrows stuff from me and doesn’t return them, I’d feel annoyed and scold her. Can you imagine if a stranger did that? As artistes, privacy is a luxury we don’t get very much of. So my home is a place where I really want to let go and just be myself.”
“I used to live in a big terrace house with Kate Pang, Zhang Zhenhuan, Jeff Wang and some other Mediacorp artistes. Our landlord was really nice and didn’t bother us much. Sometimes, all the housemates would get together for barbecue or steamboat dinners, and drink wine or beer at home. It was very fun and I had many good memories there. I’ve since moved out and am renting an apartment on my own now. I’m obsessed with cleanliness so I’d stay in to clean my home when I’m free. Sometimes, [my girlfriend] Felicia comes over to help me (smiles).”
“I’m quite lucky. I’ve been renting a room for the last three years after separating from my first wife. My current landlord is a 70-year-old auntie who treats me like her younger brother. She and her husband hired a helper after I moved in so that I don’t have to do any household chores. Sometimes, when I work late, she even cooks bird’s nest for me. It’s not easy to find such a good landlord so I also take her out for dinners on weekends. We’re just like a family.”
“I don't rent out rooms because as an actor, I value privacy a lot. Also, when you look at it long-term, there's bound to be issues such as tenants overusing household appliances or chalking up water bills. I'm also wary of tenants stealing things. When you live alone, you have the freedom to just leave your belongings anywhere, without fear of them being stolen.”
Have A Little Faith debuts on Ch 8, Jul 3, 9pm.
PHOTOS: CHEE YAN