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Edwin Goh Says NS Was Like "Being Caged" But It Was "A Good Experience" That Made Him "More Disciplined"

And which Ch 8 actor does he keep getting mistaken for?

Zoe Tay plunges into the couch next to Edwin Goh and Chen Shucheng. “He acted in the same show with me seven years ago,” she tells the veteran actor, gesticulating towards Edwin. “I always mix him up with the other actor,” Shucheng replies. “Who?” Zoe asks. Turns out that Edwin’s doppelganger, or so Shucheng thinks, is none other than fellow Ch 8 actor Shane Pow (more on that later). The very affable Ah Jie turns to Edwin and asks, “You ORD already ah?” A relieved Edwin replies, “I waited very long.”

Indeed, if you’ve been wondering where the up-and-comer vanished to, well, he’s been serving his military service. For Edwin die-hards, it’s been an arduous two-year-long wait for his TV comeback. But no one is gladder than the 23-year-old that the wait is finally over. If you follow Edwin on IG, you’d have seen his posts eagerly counting down the days till he ORDs (or return to acting full-time).

Well, good things come to those who wait. A Million Dollar Dream is the ah-boy-turned-man’s first Ch 8 drama after finishing his National Service. And all that military training has served the 23-year-old well. Edwin confesses that the imposed discipline in the army has mellowed him. Don’t forget that this is the same youth whose bad boy behaviour, like being caught for underage smoking and famously cheating on his ex, Jayley Woo, with Dawn Yeoh, threatened to eclipse his acting achievements. He also sports a more mature look. In place of the once scrawny lad is a lean beefcake, whose bulging biceps was on full drool-worthy display when he slipped into a wife beater at the drama’s imaging session. Yup, someone is hell-bent, in his own words, to “shed [his] kiddie image”.

And his transition into manhood is reflected in Million, where Edwin plays the rebellious son of Chen Hanwei’s retrenched ad creative and Zoe’s full-time housewife. “In the show, I play a guy who’s just out of NS. After going through many obstacles, he matures into a disciplined person.” For all you know, the actor could have been describing himself.

Plaid power: Edwin at the imaging session for A Million Dollar Dream. 

8 DAYS: You finished your National Service in early August. How does it feel to be out of the army?
EDWIN GOH:
Honestly, when I collected my IC, I felt like I came out from prison. (Laughs) I’m very happy that I can now fully concentrate on my acting career. In the past, whenever I took on an acting project, it was always being interrupted by either my studies or NS. Now, I hope to do as many shows as possible.

Isn't prison way too harsh a word? 
I didn't like that regimented lifestyle or the feeling of being caged (laughs). But it was still a good experience. I learnt a lot about myself and did some soul-searching in there. I think NS has made me mellower and more disciplined. Disciplined in the sense that I own the responsibility of having to do things that I don’t like. My goal in NS was to better myself and my stylist told me to try and build my body up. That’s why I spent most of my time in the gym when I was in the army to kill time. And it gave me a goal to work towards. 

All that hard work has paid off. You’re looking a lot buffer now. What’s your motivation for bulking up?
A lot of times, it’s just looking at myself in the mirror and going, “Oh my god, I’m so skinny.” And that usually spurs me on to work out even harder (laughs). It’s also partly ’cos I want to shed my kiddie image. So hopefully, I can take on a wider array of roles, like more masculine and grown-up roles, in future.

How often do you work out?
When I was in NS, almost every day, for one to two hours. There was a time when I got too big for my height and my body looked a bit out of proportion, and a lot of people told me to slim down (laughs). So now, I just focus on maintaining [my physique].

What are your plans now that you have ORD?
As of now, I just want to concentrate on this new show. After all, it’s my first show after NS. And I want to give it my all.

You last worked with Ah Jie in the 2010 movie Love Cuts. How do you feel about reuniting with her onscreen after seven years?
It definitely brought back many memories. When I first worked with her, I was 15. Back then, I was a little kid and a little too much to handle. I was really energetic and a bit rebellious (laughs). I remember her giving me tips on acting and treating me to meals. She’s always very generous and buys food for everyone on set. She has always been very loving and really takes care of her fellow cast members. I always feel very happy when I’m around her. So it’s really nice working with her again. And she’s still as elegant as ever.

Meet the Zhang family: (Clockwise from top left) Edwin, Bukoh Mary, He Ying Ying, Chen Hanwei, Chen Shucheng and Zoe Tay. Edwin and Ying Ying plays Zoe and Hanwei’s kids. Mary and Shucheng play Zoe’s sister and dad respectively. 

Just now, we heard Shucheng telling Zoe that you look like Shane Pow.
Oh, yes! There have been quite a number of people who said that.

Do you think you both look alike?
I can see why people would say that. Like, if we both don’t smile and maybe if you see us from a distance, [we look alike.] It’s probably the eyes?

So have you ever been mistaken for Shane?
Yes. When I was in NS and I went out for lunch at the coffeeshop [nearby], people would be like, “Hey, you’re in the 9 o’clock show, right?” I’d go, “Yeah, yeah! Please show some support!” (Laughs) And that day, when I came [to Mediacorp] and Shucheng da ge saw me, he was really friendly with me. I found it strange ’cos I’ve never worked with him. And then, when we were in the lift, he went, “Xun Ping [Shane’s Chinese name], you changed your hairstyle.” Then I knew that he had mistaken me for Shane. Maybe Shane and I should do a show where we play brothers. That’d be really interesting (laughs).

Separated at birth: Edwin (left) and Shane are same, same but different. 

A Million Dollar Dream is about a man who strikes a million dollars in the lottery. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Save it. And look for some good ways to invest it so I can turn it into two million dollars. A million dollars is a lot of money. But prices of things have gone up so much, so there’s not much you can do with a million dollars. So investing it  would be better.

What wouldn’t you do for a million dollars?
I think a lot of people would do a lot for a million dollars. If not, they’re lying! (Laughs)

A Million Dollar Dream airs on Ch 8 in April 2018. 

PHOTOS: EALBERT HO

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