The 8 Dukes is now one man down. Aloysius Pang announced this morning that he has quit full-time acting and will instead be a freelance actor. He had revealed last month that he was in talks with Mediacorp about renewing his contract, which was expiring. His failure to make a decision at that juncture was the reason he did not make the Top 24 Most Popular Male Artistes list as he was deemed ineligible. We chat with the 26-year-old on his decision not to renew his contract with Mediacorp, his new business venture with his brother and upcoming plans.
8 DAYS: So what's this we hear about you taking a two-year break from acting.
ALOYSIUS PANG: I think there’s a misunderstanding. I didn’t renew my contract with Mediacorp so I’m a freelancer now. Acting is still my full-time job. But, on the side, I started a wood plastic composite business with my brother.
We’ll get to that in a bit. You mentioned acting is still your passion. So why did you decide not to renew your contract with Mediacorp?
There are a lot of personal reasons. Firstly, I’m worried for my own future. I’m someone who thinks a lot. So I worry that there are a lot of unknowns that might happen in the future. I might lose my job or be replaced someday. I don’t want my income to be so dependent on one job. I want to be able to be in control, which is why I was seeking for alternative incomes. If, for some reason, I cannot continue acting, at least, I've got something else to fall back on and which can support me financially. The business with my brother is like a part-time job. It’s something that I can do when I’m not acting or when I’m waiting for jobs ’cos I’m not that kind of guy that can sit down and not do anything. I need to be constantly working.
What are the other reasons?
Aside from that, when you’re under management, there are a lot of restrictions in terms of the time management that you can have. So I’m pretty much like tied to the schedules that they set up for me. I don’t have free time to focus on my own stuff. So, basically, it’s about me wanting to have more management over my own time and an alternative in terms of financial income. But right now, my greatest worry is that Mediacorp might not use me ’cos I’m not a Mediacorp artiste. That was my biggest concern when I was planning to make my decision [on whether to renew my contract with Mediacorp] What if they choose not to cast me in any productions? Maybe that would be the end of my acting career. So to me, I’m taking a very, very big gamble. But, I’m not the kind who succumbs to fear. I wanted to take that step out and see how things would actually work out.
Tell us more about this wood plastic composite business.
There are a lot of benefits that solid wood might not be able to give. So because mainly it’s eco-friendly, I want to encourage recycling, that’s why we are called Kairos Green. 'Kairos' is Greek for 'opportunity' while 'Green' is because we're mainly focused on eco-friendly recycling of the products. The business has been running for a month or so. I was on a break for the past two to three months, and I took the entire time reading up on the business, flying overseas, looking at materials, understanding the installation process, down to every single detail. So now I feel comfortable that I can announce that I started a company ’cos I’m more confident with the knowledge that I have.
If an acting project comes along, do you think running the business might be a source of distraction?
That’s one of the main reasons why I started this ’cos I’m working with my own brother. He understands that my passion is still in acting and he supports that. I’ve made it very clear to him that when acting projects come, I’ll drop everything to focus on my acting. We have an understanding of how our future working relationship will be like.
You’re 26, and you're in the prime of your life. Aren’t you afraid that this decision might ultimately be career suicide?
(Laughs) That was one of my major concerns. But I feel that a lot of us are being pressured by society and our environment to make certain decisions. So if somehow I don’t do it now and I keep waiting and waiting, this business opportunity might just pass me by. It’s the same as the media industry. It’s like either do or die. But I’m holding on to the hope that Mediacorp might still want to use me in the future. If one day, nobody wants to cast or use me, I’d find ways to create a production for myself to star in. I won’t let my passion die just ’cos somebody decides not to use me.