Qi Yuwu is back — and sporting some considerable facial fuzz. It’s been two years since the actor’s last local drama, The Dream Makers II, as he’s been busy with filming projects in China. The bearded new look is for his role as a psychiatrist-turned-plumber in upcoming Ch 8 drama Mind Matters. Yes, you will get to see the 40-year-old repairing toilets and pipes (His nickname in the show is Ma Tong Ge — loosely translated as “toilet bowl brother”). It’s a role the actor calls “full of possibilities”. Also, full of possibilities? Fatherhood. The dad-of-two and his wife, Joanne Peh, recently welcomed a baby son into their family in April. He shares his thoughts on being a father to two kids, known only to the public as Baby Qi and Qi Di Di. (“It’s not convenient to reveal our son’s name,” he tells us.)
8 DAYS: Welcome back! This is the first time you are growing out a beard for a drama.
QI YUWU: I have grown it out a little in the past. But growing it out this long? Eeee. When I’m kissing my daughter, she’ll also be like “eeee” (pretends to push someone away).
How about when you’re kissing Joanne?
She didn’t say anything. Maybe adults are still okay with it since they know it’s a beard. She doesn’t mind [my beard]. She said it’s a different kind of look. She also knows that it’s for the role.
You and Joanne recently welcomed a new baby boy into the family. How are things in the Qi household these days?
It’s very hard to cope. It feels like we’re rushing all the time — from the moment we wake up in the morning, all the way till bedtime, and even while we’re sleeping. When the kids are sleeping, we quickly take the opportunity to do our things. If they don’t want to sleep, then we’ve to keep on trying to get them to sleep. There are never-ending things to do — feed them milk, burp them, carry them to sleep, play and talk to them, and change their diapers and clothing. And then we ourselves need to eat, cook, wash the dishes, pack up, and rest. Recently, I also have to make time to read the script [to prepare for this drama]. We have a helper. But being a parent is really not easy.
Do you experience a lot of emotional ups and downs?
Honestly, sometimes, I get a bit irritated. Say, when I’m very tired or want to do my own stuff but the kids don’t want to sleep and keep disturbing me. Sometimes, Joanne and I wake up in the wee hours of the morning to feed the baby but have trouble getting them to go back to sleep after that. I’d be watching the clock — one, two hours just pass by like that. My emotions would be affected a little. But this is something that every parent must go through.
How do you feel about being a dad for the second time?
Actually, just before the birth of my son, I felt very upset ’cos over the past year, our daughter was our only focus at home. All our love was centered on her. But just before her brother was born, I felt a bit sorry for her (laughs). I felt that now, she would no longer be the only one that we would focus on. She has to share our love with someone else. But it dawned on me that there would also be one more person to love her, so that’s a good thing.
So what kind of sister is Baby Qi to Qi Di Di?
She’s quite protective over her brother. Sometimes, when our friends come over and they carry di di, she would say, “Mama, Mama, carry.” Initially, we thought that she wants mama to carry her. But actually, she wants mama to carry di di and not let others do so (laughs). Also, when di di cries, she’ll arrange all her toys by di di’s side to let him play with them.
How many kids do you wish to have?
Right now, I’m very satisfied with two. We won’t have time to look after [a third one]. After all, we need to spend time with the kids, and not just give birth to them and feed them. There are some parents who give birth to a few kids and then leave them to play among themselves. But I feel it’s very important for kids to have their parents’ love and attention.
Mind Matters debuts Jan 1, 2018, on Ch 8, 9pm.
PHOTOS: EALBERT HO