Edwin Goh opens up about his lowest point in NS

The actor says he wouldn’t have been able to get through army life if not for the gym and his girlfriend of five years

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Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Goh Wen Kai

Edwin Goh was visibly very nervous during our video interview at the imaging session for his upcoming drama A Million Dollar Dream, his first acting gig after completing his National Service (NS) last month (on the aesthetically pleasing – and auspicious? – date of 8/8).

“I haven’t been in front of a camera in so long!” he exclaimed with a sigh of relief when his “ordeal” with us was finally over. The 23-year-old’s last onscreen appearance was a brief cameo as the younger version of Li Nanxing’s character on C.L.I.F. 4, and before that, he played Huang Biren’s son on The Dream Makers II right before enlisting.

Now that he has finally “ORD lor!” (as the locals would say), Edwin shared that he feels like a load has been taken off his chest as he finally has the time and freedom to focus on his showbiz career. “In the past, I would either get interrupted by my studies or NS,” said the LASALLE graduate.

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Edwin and Michelle Wong will be paired up in A Million Dollar Dream.

His two-year army stint, during which he served in a maintenance unit for the commandos, turned out to be one long disruption that cost him several potential roles, and he admitted to being quite – and understandably – upset about missing out on them.

“I was the most depressed when there were new shows and new opportunities that I couldn’t take up because of my time, and it was during these moments when I would be in camp going like, ‘Oh my gosh, I could be doing different things’,” he recalled.

Most of the offers were for Channel 5 shows, but it was the Vasantham programme he was aiming for. “If I got [the Vasantham] one, I would have appeared on all the Mediacorp channels in Singapore, so it was quite sad lah because I wanted the experience.”

Edwin’s lowest point was when he reached the halfway mark of his service. “A lot of people told me that time will pass faster after your first year [in NS], but I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to do this one more time!’” He sounded exasperated at the memory. “It was a bit draining for me, mentally.”


Continued on next page: How the gym and his girlfriend helped Edwin through NS

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Edwin at the gym and with his girlfriend Valerie Choo. (Photos: Edwin Goh/Instagram)

Fortunately, he received good advice from his peers, one of whom told him to channel his time and energy into “building himself up.” In Edwin’s case, he did so physically, as evidenced by the myriad of gym selfies on his Instagram feed (and of course, his new ultra-buff physique). “[Working out] helped to take my mind off everything else,” he said.

Edwin also has his girlfriend of five years, actress Valerie Choo, to thank for helping him to survive that bleak period. “I honestly don’t think I could have made it through NS without her support,” he gushed, looking shy yet happy at the same time. “She really empathised with me and supported me.”

Awww, sweet young love. Of course, like a nosy relative, we had to ask if the young couple intends to take their relationship to the next level any time soon. Edwin chuckled nervously and said, “A lot of plans are up in the air right now, [at the moment] this show is my biggest priority because I haven’t been acting for two years.”

He also clarified that he doesn’t have a “deadline” as to when he wants to tie the knot. “We have talked about [marriage] a few times here and there, but you know, things can change rapidly.”

Guess he’s applying the same philosophy that played a part in keeping his relationship alive during NS (a time when many romances are at risk of falling apart). “You just have to keep it natural; don’t try to force anything and don’t do anything particularly different,” he mused.

We’re still waiting for good news. Wink, wink.

A Million Dollar Dream debuts April 11, 9pm on Channel 8.

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