Back then, a lot of people asked me why I wanted to marry my husband (Huang Shinan) because everybody thought that I should give myself a chance to find someone better. I met him when I was 17, and he’s my first love and first boyfriend. I decided to marry him even though he was my one and only serious relationship.
The people around me thought that I should try dating other people to explore more possibilities. After all these years – of course, we have had disagreements along the way, but when I was sick*, I saw the way he looked after me.
I know that he has a really good heart, and I think he loves me more than I love him. That in itself I think is amazing, and that also reminded me that the person that I chose all those years ago is the right person.
*Ed’s note: Ling Ling was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, and is in remission after going through surgery and chemotherapy.
I used to be a pretty good marketing executive, but I love acting. I went against my parents’ wishes to join showbiz. At the time, they thought that this industry is full of crooks, so they were vehemently against me joining the entertainment industry.
At the time, I was working full-time in sales, but I was working part-time as an actor. It was only after five years that I realised that I can’t split my efforts and time between two jobs like that. After filming 1984’s The Awakening, I told myself that it was time for me to officially make the move.
I resigned from a high-paying job to follow my dreams, but it was never a difficult decision for me because youth was on my side. Being young and full of dreams is really an asset that you have to treasure.
Becoming an actress is probably a decision that puzzled people the most. I didn’t grow up wanting to be an actress, and it just happened in a flash. I was supposed to graduate and go to university, and so on, but I decided against it.
At the time, I didn’t know if I could act or whether I would like it, so it was a big risk for me. My mum was very worried. My dad was, well, my dad, and told me that it’s my life and that I should just enjoy it whichever way.
The most important people to me are my parents, who are very supportive. I don’t know if anyone else around me said anything, because if my parents support my decision, I don’t think I need to care about what anyone else thinks.
It was probably my decision to marry my husband (Hong Kong director Gerald Lee). He has a son from his previous marriage. In their hearts, they might have thought that I could find someone else, especially since he had a son that I would have to look after.
I love my husband. I don’t think the people around me had bad intentions and that they were genuinely concerned about me. In the end, the ones who loved me most also supported me the most – my parents never asked me about my choice, and never objected to me marrying him.
Rather, it was friends and relatives that we don’t see very often that had the most comments. To me, there are no hard and fast rules to love, but the only thing I know about love is that all parties involved need to put in effort to allow that love to blossom.
I don’t think I’ve any made any surprising decisions in my life! (laughs) Well, perhaps my sudden wedding announcement took some people by surprise. There were comments that wondered why I was in such a rush, especially since I was still building my career.
I believe that you should follow through on what you’ve decided on, so I wasn’t affected by those comments at all. You know yourself and your situation best, and whatever others say might be prejudiced in some way.
Denise Camillia Tan
I consider myself very lucky because even if people judge what I’m doing, I don’t really care and I just do whatever I want to do. (laughs) As long as my family approves of it, I don’t find it a problem. When I decided to go into acting, there were comments like, ‘You can’t make money with this job’ or ‘This won’t help you in your life’ but I just treat it as their way of showing their concern, but I don’t take it to heart.
I’ve always been a creative person and I can’t imagine myself at a desk job. I like to move around, and I don’t like staying in one place for a long time. This is why I think acting is the perfect job for me – I’ll probably go crazy doing a nine-to-five job.
I’m a man with a plan. I’ve lost too much, so I know exactly where I want to go.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me what others think, because to me, I’m the only one who knows me best. Also, it’s my life, so I’m the only one who should get to decide how to live it. If they’re commenting on something that they don’t know about, it just goes to show how narrow-minded they are, and how great I am for them to think about me that much.