How are CNY visitations different after you entered showbiz? A lot of people love to ask me questions about the artistes they like. For example, my auntie loves Bryan Wong so she keeps asking me about him. It’s kind of cute lah, seeing my aunties fangirl over Christopher Lee, Bryan Wong etc.
What are some awkward questions you tend to get during CNY? About how much I earn. I’m fine with relationship questions, but I think issues regarding money are more sensitive, so I don’t give a fixed amount, I just say it depends on how many jobs I take on.
Have you had any awkward encounters with strangers or fans during CNY visitations? Last year, I visited one of my cousins, and their kids asked me for my number! Although I wasn’t very keen to give it to them, it would be rude to reject them in front of their parents, right? So instead, I gave them my mum’s number and said, “If you need to find me for anything, text this number.” My mum’s phone ended up getting spammed every day. (Laughs)
What’s an awkward moment you’ve had during CNY? This didn’t happen to me, but I will always remember it. About three years ago, I was having dinner at a well-known Chinese restaurant, and the waitress accidentally spilled an entire plate of bamboo clams all over my friend’s head! My friend told us that her hair smelled like garlic for two days after that. The thing is, the waitress apologised, but that was it. No manager came to say sorry, and the restaurant never offered any kind of compensation. However, we didn’t want to kick up a fuss because it was CNY, but it was so awkward to see that happen right next to me!
What are some awkward questions you tend to get during CNY? Usually they’re about showbiz, like, “Are these two people really dating? Are they straight? Are they not straight?” I will usually say I seriously have no idea. I also get questions about how much I earn. I tell them that it varies, but it’s good enough for me to live my life. (Laughs)
Do you still receive red packets at your age (32) and do you feel awkward about it? No! I’m very happy to still be receiving red packets. Okay, the rule of thumb in my family is, the elders still give red packets, while the younger married ones won’t even offer any. Sometimes I tease my cousins like, “Eh, married already, a father already, still don’t give hongbao ah?” (Laughs)
What are some awkward questions you tend to get during CNY? When I go back to China, people will ask me things like, “Wah, you became an actor in Singapore leh! How many houses have you bought already?” I just tell them that it’s not as glamorous as they might think. I’ve also been asked if I got married because my wife was already pregnant. I pointed out all the dates for them [to prove that’s not the case].
Have you had any awkward encounters with strangers or fans during CNY visitations? Sometimes, when I go to my friend’s house, there will be drinking and I will relax and let my guard down a bit… then realise that somebody is secretly taking a video of me. It happens quite often and I don’t really like it. At least let me know you want to film me.
Now that you’re married, would you feel awkward giving red packets to people older than you? That’s the thing! I haven’t encountered this situation yet so I really don’t know. For example, should I give a red packet to my boss [Dasmond Koh]? It would be so weird! But then I decided, you make your own rules, so my rule is that I won’t give red packets to anyone older than me because that would be too awkward. (Laughs)
What’s an awkward moment you’ve had during CNY? It’s always the same thing: people will ask me about the latest gossip at work, and I’ll always try to avoid answering them. Thankfully, my relatives are pretty chill when it comes to personal questions - not even about when I’m getting married. They’re quite private as well so if they don’t ask me, I won’t ask them.
Have you had any awkward encounters with strangers or fans during CNY visitations? I’ve gotten second glances from neighbours when I visited my grandma’s place, but that only happened the first time. Eventually I think they got used to [seeing me]!
Do you still receive red packets at your age (37) and do you feel awkward about it? Okay the thing is, last year, my parents (specifically my dad) suddenly said that they will no longer give me hongbaos! I was so sad! I told them it’s not about the money, but because I want to feel like a child again. So yeah, it was a very sad year for me, and it seems like I’m not getting any hongbaos from my parents this year…
What are some awkward questions you tend to get during CNY? About how much I earn. It’s quite common, and I usually just say, “Good enough for me to survive and buy the things that I want.” Then they start to guess the figures. (Laughs) Other than that, some uncles and aunties who hardly watch TV would ask me, “Eh, you very long never act ah?” And I have to tell them that my show just ended or another one is coming out soon. (Laughs)
What are some other awkward remarks you have gotten? “You put on weight” or “you keep playing bad guys lately” or “Will you win an award?”, which are all questions that I don’t know how to respond to! Some of my cousins can also be quite b****y and ask me if I’ve gone for Botox jabs and if they can get any discounts if they go through me. (Laughs)
Do you still receive red packets at your age (33) and do you feel awkward about it? Not at all! What’s wrong with that? It’s a form of blessing! I guess the only awkward thing is when relatives ask you how much you got because they want to know the “market rate”, but this happened less as I got older.
What’s an awkward moment you’ve had during CNY? It gets awkward whenever somebody asks me what I do, then it gets even more awkward when they start asking other people if they know me (as a celebrity), and they say no. Like, “You don’t know him meh?” “No, I don’t know.” “How come you don’t know?” I’m right there, you know. (Laughs)
Were there any awkward questions during the time you had dating rumours with Kimberly Wang? My aunties did ask me about it, and I would just laugh. But they weren’t trying to be kaypoh (nosy), they were just concerned. They told me to be careful and to not get photographed. (Laughs)
Have you had any awkward encounters with strangers or fans during CNY visitations? Not really, but sometimes when I visit someone’s house, their friends or relatives see me and get a bit excited, and start to ask about whoever’s been in the news recently. Then they start to tell me stories about their encounters with my fellow celeb friends, which is quite awkward, but it’s not like I can just leave!
What are some awkward questions you tend to get during CNY? When I was younger, my relatives would compare me and my cousins’ results at the dinner table, which was awkward because I wasn’t very good in my studies. These days, they just keep asking me when I’m getting married. I tell them they’ll know when the time comes.
How are CNY visitations different after you entered showbiz? Everyone will keep asking me about “celebrity life”. I’ve also encountered people trying to be kaypoh (nosy) about celebrity gossip and my salary. Sometimes, the questions come from people I don’t even know!
Have you had any awkward encounters with strangers or fans during CNY visitations? The worst I can think of is when people try to secretly take a picture of me. Last year, at my friend’s house, I saw someone trying to do that, so I also took out my phone and started taking pictures of them. If someone wants to take a photo of me, they can always just ask.
Zhang Yao Dong
What’s an awkward moment you’ve had during CNY? Receiving red packets at my age, especially from those younger than me, can sometimes be quite awkward. (Laughs)
What are some awkward questions you tend to get during CNY? “When are you getting married?” I know they’re probably just asking for the sake of it, so I also give an insincere answer. (Laughs) They also try to ask me about celebrity gossip, but to be honest, I’m very outdated when it comes to that, and sometimes they know even more than me!
Have you had any awkward encounters with strangers or fans during CNY visitations? Most people are just shocked to find out that their friends and I were classmates because we don’t look the same age. My classmates look like uncles and aunties, and I look much younger than them. But that’s more awkward for my classmates, not me. (Laughs)
What’s an awkward moment you’ve had during CNY? In Taiwan, it’s customary to give red packets to your colleagues whether you’re married or not, so it gets awkward when people expect red packets from me, but I didn’t prepare any for them.
What are some awkward questions you tend to get during CNY? A lot of friends ask me things like, “What’s Jolin Tsai like? Did so-and-so get plastic surgery?” But the one question I hate the most is, “Eh, do you know any chiobu (pretty girls) you can introduce to me?” I tell them I don’t, and even if I did, I would keep them for myself first!
Do you still receive red packets at your age (35) and do you feel awkward about it? Nope, I would still gladly accept them. The only awkward thing is, the amount I get now has not changed from last time. That’s not right! (Laughs)