“There’s an old saying: ‘You go through many hours of training just for that moment on stage. What I’ve been through with Mediacorp in the past 19 years was amazing, I had so many years here to hone my skills and a large part of what I have today is dependent on Mediacorp,” says Tay Ping Hui when it was announced that he’s leaving the company after two decades.
The announcement was made by Mediacorp’s Chief Content Officer Doreen Neo and John Ho, CEO of entertainment and production company Perfect World Pictures (Singapore), at a press conference held in Mediacorp this morning.
The 47-year-old actor will be joining Perfect World Pictures (Singapore) as their first local artiste.
On Ping Hui's career move, Doreen says: “We encouraged Ping Hui, one of our best talents, to put his skills to work in different environments, including overseas, as such exposure can only add to his skillsets. We are proud of his achievements and our role in providing him with a platform for his talent.”
In an interview with 8 DAYS, Ping Hui tells us that his decision to leave Mediacorp “was a very difficult one to make.”
“But right now, I want to test my abilities and try to venture into a bigger market in China to work on a different level. I wanted to take on the challenge, therefore the decision to leave,” he adds. “It’s a difficult decision for sure, after all, I’ve been with Mediacorp for many years. It’s almost like a home for me. But I’m always up for a good challenge. These challenges motivate me to grow stronger and jump higher.”
But was he worried about taking such a big leap of faith? “I don’t know. I’ll only worry about it when s*** happens,” says Ping Hui. “I guess I just want to grab life by the balls and just do it.”
Perfect World Pictures, which is based in China, invested in and produced a remake of Chinese TV series The Legend of the Condor Heroes, which aired last year. And Ping Hui was part of the period epic’s cast, playing Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan.
John Ho, CEO of Perfect World Pictures (Singapore), says: “We are delighted to have Ping Hui as our first Singapore celebrity artiste. There has been growing interest in China in Mediacorp’s evergreen dramas such as The Awakening and The Little Nyonya. Having obtained the IPs from Mediacorp, we are optimistic that the remaking of these series – starring Ping Hui and actors from China – will be a hit with audiences in China, Singapore and the region.”
Ping Hui tell us that even though he’s been cast in the redux of The Awakening, he’s still uncertain what role he is playing. He adds that the drama will only start filming early next year and is scheduled for release in late 2019. As for whether Ping Hui will have a role in the upcoming remake of The Little Nyonya, John says that the actor “has too manly a face to play any of the characters in the drama”.
In recent years, Ping Hui has shifted his focus to acting in China and was most recently there to film a Chinese drama where he plays a spy. But he won’t be based in China. “I will be in China as and when I have projects there,” he says. “Singapore is my home, I love my country.”
You can catch the actor on TV next in Ch 8 drama Babies on Board. The actor recently finished filming the upcoming drama where he plays a former doctor married to Jesseca Liu’s obstetrician character, and the couple struggle with infertility after the latter discovers that she’s barren. The drama will premiere in May.
Ping Hui is also in the midst of filming Ch 5’s Tanglin, where he plays the conniving Peter Tay, one of the long-running drama’s antagonists. “After Tanglin, I don’t have any auditions lined up. But I’m slated to do a remake of the Chinese period drama Handsome Siblings,” says Ping Hui. “As for local acting gigs, if the role is right, and my schedule permits, why not?”
Doreen adds that the relationship between Mediacorp and Perfect World Pictures (Singapore) is like a collaboration. She says: “We want our artistes to succeed on a bigger platform and we sincerely congratulate him.”
“Mediacorp enjoys a broad range of relationships with artistes, from per show contracts to annual hours of commitment that vary with each artiste, according to the needs of both parties,” she says.
“We have practiced such variation and flexibility for more than a decade because we understand that artistes would like to pursue opportunities in the industry as well as their personal passions. Working with Mediacorp on a project basis gives artistes the most flexibility. Whichever arrangement, we seek to work with the best person for any role. As the media company with the widest range of platforms in Singapore, Mediacorp has an integral role to play in finding and nurturing talent in the industry.”