Here's the thing about being a star these days: no matter where you are, be it sweating it out at your gym or stuffing your face in a restaurant, there's always a chance someone will want to snap a pic with you... or of you. But what else is a star gonna do, right?
Such was the case of Elvin Ng, who was recently paparazzi-ed by some fans while he was in KL. The 36-year-old actor recently wrote on Facebook that someone had taken pictures of him without permission while he was dining alone in a BBQ fish restaurant in the Malaysian city. He had signaled to the person to stop but eventually caved and cheekily flashed the peace sign. The photos then made their way onto Facebook, which the actor later reposted. He also included an earnest plea for people to stop snapping pictures of him (or any artiste) on the sly. “Please do us a favour. The next time, when you bump into me or any celeb, please come up to us to ask for permission [to take a photo]. We won’t bite,” he wrote.
The post, uploaded on July 26, went viral and has since racked up 21k “likes” (and “loves” and “hahas”) on his Facebook page.
So yes, celebs, as much as they would love to oblige your photo requests, are human too. Cut them some slack if there are days when they just want to enjoy their BBQ fish in peace.
We caught up with the actor to get the whole, um, picture.
8 DAYS: Your recent post on social media about being photographed not-so-secretly went viral. Tell us all about what went down.
ELVIN NG: I was in KL filming. That night, I suddenly felt like eating BBQ fish so I went to Alor Street to eat it by myself. When I was there, it was quite crowded inside. There was a couple sitting at the next table. I heard the boyfriend telling his girlfriend that I was an artiste. He then took out his phone and snapped pictures of me very subtly. His camera was pointed at me for a total of five minutes. So I felt very uncomfortable. Initially, I signalled him to stop taking pictures of me. But he pretended he wasn’t doing anything. I thought since I couldn’t do anything about it, I might as well just smile at the camera and do a peace sign. After that, his girlfriend posted those pictures on her Facebook and I think she got over 12,000 comments. Some people said that it’s not nice and it’s wrong to sneakily take pictures of me. Then she replied, “The artiste himself didn’t say anything. Why you make so much noise?” With my post, I wanted to address such incidents. It’s all about respect lah. It’s very rude and maybe people don’t realise it. It happens so often, especially when we’re eating. I mean, if I’m eating, then I’m going to turn out ugly in the photos. Anyway, the photos were quite well-taken lah. If I looked ugly in them, I wouldn’t have posted them on my social media (laughs).”
How did you feel about being paparazzi-ed?
The people sitting at the other tables knew that that person was taking photos of me. At that point, I was so annoyed I wanted to whip out my own phone and point it at them just to let them know how it feels to be on the other end. But I stopped myself ’cos that’s offensive. Maybe, from now on, I should just do this: Every time people take a pic of me without permission, I smile and do a peace sign (laughs).
Do you always oblige photo requests when you’re out?
Overall, most of the comments were things like, “Oh yeah, I approached him last time and he was super friendly and very nice.” So yes, 99.9 per cent of the time, I’ll be okay with taking a photo. But it also depends on the situation. Once, I was eating crab halfway and I had food all over my mouth and my hands were all dirty. This person came up to me and asked, “Can I take a photo with you?” I told him okay but to let me finish my food first and wash my hands. There have also been some aunties who approached me when I was eating and wanted to take a picture with me, but I told them my hands were dirty. So there are situations where I can’t take a photo or I need a while to take the photo. But overall, I’ll just take the photo whenever I can ’cos I think that it’s nice of people to come up to me and say they want to take a photo with me. And if I can make them slightly happier by doing so, then I think it’s something good to do.
Some comments said things like “You are too handsome, who will dare to ask you for a photo?” Are you forgiving towards the fact that many people might be too star-struck or shy and not dare approach you for a photo?
(Laughs) Yes, some people said that they’re afraid of rejection or that not all artistes are as friendly [as I am] so they are scared to ask for a photo. What I'm trying to say to my social media followers is that if they see me next time and want a photo, just come up to me and ask. It’s better that way.
That’s nice of you to offer. What sort of feedback have you got from your post?
The comments turned out to be quite funny. ’Cos my hashtag was we [artistes] don’t bite, then some people commented, “You don’t bite, but we might bite you.” (Laughs) There were some who said, “Handsome until no friends” and that’s why I was eating alone. Others said, “Wah, get your pic taken secretly also can be so handsome” or “360 degrees no bad angle”. (Laughs)