Like Desmond Tan after his raw fish-chomping scene in When Duty Calls, Shane Pow now has a fear of sashimi - but the latter’s phobia is the result of much more terrifying circumstances than bold method acting.
A few weeks ago, the 28-year-old actor shared a perky-looking photo of himself at Disneyland - Minnie Mouse ears and all - that was taken during his visit to the United States last year. Little did we expect the cheerful shot to accompanied by a sobering reminder to buy travel insurance (it was a sponsored post, but a particularly helpful one, we must say) and to be super careful with what you put in your tummy.
According to his caption, the pic was taken just days after he was hospitalised following a severe allergic reaction to something he ate. However, we had no idea how serious it actually was until we caught up with him at the press conference for his new Channel 8 drama C.L.I.F. 5 last Friday (Sep 13) to find out more.
While neither he nor the doctor could pinpoint the culinary culprit behind his body’s backlash, Shane told us it might’ve had something to do with the hamachi (Japanese amberjack or yellowtail) he had at a fusion sushi restaurant in Los Angeles.
“One possibility is that I ate a piece of raw fish that had parasites, or it could have been cross-contamination between the dishes, or it could have been the mixture of raw fish and alcohol,” he mused. “Long story short, it got so bad that I couldn’t breathe.”
It all happened pretty fast too. “I had one sip of wine and ate the hamachi before realising that I had to extend my parking time,” he recalled. “I went downstairs, came back up, and suddenly felt dizzy. So all in all, I’d say [the allergic reaction happened] within half an hour?”
Fortunately, his girlfriend, 987 DJ and actress Kimberly Wang, was with him, and an ambulance was quickly called to the site. “By the time the paramedics arrived, I couldn’t even say my name; that’s how bad it was,” he said.
“I’d been in an ambulance a few times before, but that was an incident where I felt there was a chance that I could have actually died, because I couldn’t breathe.” Yikes.
After getting a jab, Shane was sent to the hospital and put on a drip. By the next morning, he was completely fine and was discharged with nothing more than a newfound apprehension towards non-cooked nosh.
“I always carry Benadryl around with me now,” he chuckled, referring to a brand of antihistamines that the doctor prescribed to him in the States.
If there’s one thing Shane is grateful for in the midst of this suffocating (literally) experience (other than the fact that he survived, of course), it’s that the ordeal took place in a big city with easy access to medical facilities.
“During that trip, we went to Yosemite National Park and Death Valley, where there’s literally nobody around you! It could have happened there and I would most likely be done for,” he said, wincing at the morbid thought.
“Then again,” he continued. “There’s no raw fish at those places. So now my advice is, if you’re going overseas, especially to ulu (remote) locations, or places where you know that medical help is not readily available, try not to eat raw stuff, or anything that could potentially trigger food poisoning. Just be very safe!”
Duly noted. We won’t forget our travel insurance either.
Additional photos: Instagram/Shane Pow