Photos: Tammi Tan, Instagram/Aloysius Pang
We never would have pegged Aloysius Pang as much of a foodie, but as we found out, he does take his meals quite seriously. Especially when it comes to seasoning.
“There is no chilli in Mongolia and Russia. No chilli!” he complained to us, banging his hand on the table softly for dramatic effect. “I didn’t bring my own because I didn’t expect them not to have it. One night they gave me an entire chilli pepper and expected me to bite into it like that.”
The 28-year-old actor had just returned from a two-month trip to those two countries (as well as China), where he was filming road trip saga From Beijing to Moscow, and we had the chance to catch up with him at a photoshoot with co-stars River Huang and Jojo Goh for the upcoming series last month.
Spice-less woes aside, Aloysius had a general longing for Singaporean fare (as any Lion City native who has ever been out of town for an extended period of time can likely relate to), and he certainly wasn’t the only one. “When we were there, everyone would start to talk about hokkien mee lah, chicken rice lah, laksa lah, and it ruins your appetite because you’re stuck eating chicken breast and steak,” he recalled, chuckling.
His cravings were apparently so bad that when we asked him to rate how homesick he was on a scale of 1 to 10, he picked 3 or 4 – without food being taken into consideration. “If you include food, then maybe 8,” he chuckled. “3 or 4 because my mum didn’t want me to call her! (Laughs)”
We can explain that shocking last point (it’s not as heart-breaking as it sounds). According to Aloysius, he tried making a call to his mother via WhatsApp on his first night in Beijing, but the connection was so laggy that she eventually got fed up and said to him in Mandarin, “Aiyah, don’t call me lah!” Poor Aloy.
Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean they cut off contact entirely during his trip. Instead, they stayed connected via text messages and voice recordings. “She does worry about me and wants to know where I am and how I’m doing, but all she needs is a text,” said Aloysius. “We’re a very traditional Chinese family so we don’t have to say much.”
(Continued on next page: Aloysius was approached by female college students “five or six times”)
Aloysius was approached by female college students “five or six times”
Well, Aloysius’s mum needn’t have worried so much about her son, because as he reported to us, he essentially spent most of his free time cooped up in his hotel room letting his creative juices flow. “I had my laptop with me so I was constantly writing a lot of things,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I even wrote rap and song lyrics!”
Aloysius went on to share that he’s been “looking at doing more things aside from just acting”, all of which are related to behind-the-scenes and production work. At the time of our conversation, he revealed that he had already penned 50 to 60 short film scripts, 35 to 40 of which were done during his two months abroad.
When we asked why he didn’t join the rest of the cast and crew on their sightseeing expeditions (work hard, play hard, right?), he shrugged and said, “Whenever they asked me to go with them, I would say, ‘Google lah, you’ll see enough’. I’m a terrible traveller, that’s all I can say! (Laughs)”
Instead, this undeniable introvert preferred to walk around city areas by himself. It was during his solitary explorations in Irkutsk, Russia that he made a pleasantly surprising discovery: that Russian girls dig Asian guys (or at least, Asian guys that look like Aloysius Pang).
He proved to be particularly popular among university students, who were open enough to approach him and try to chat him up, albeit “in a bunch of Russian I couldn’t understand”. “They would just talk until they realised there’s a language barrier, then laugh and go away,” he said, feigning a crestfallen expression. “To be honest I don’t even know if they were trying to pick me up because I didn’t know what they were saying, but it felt like a pick-up to me. (Laughs)”
Aloysius estimated that he got hit on “five or six times”, and quickly clarified that he “didn’t get it on” (if you know what we mean) with anyone. Still, he quipped, “I think I have a market there, so if I fail in Singapore, I’ll go to Russia!”
Aloysius Pang, a Russian babe magnet who takes his chilli very seriously. Who would’ve known?