The ever-genial Xiang Yun and her former actor hubby, Edmund Chen, have become synonymous with the terms “nice”, “friendly” and “down to earth”. So imagine everyone’s surprise when she and Edmund made the news after the latter got sued for defamation by a woman.
We’ll get to that in a bit. We’re at the imaging session for Xiang Yun’s upcoming Ch 8 long-form, 130-ep drama Life Less Ordinary, where she plays a factory supervisor at loggerheads with BFF-turned-enemy Chen Li Ping who works as a fellow supervisor in the same hamper company.
Given that this is a long-form drama — her second since 2016 Ch 8 drama Peace & Prosperity — the 55-year-old, who recently battled a series of health issues, says that “building up my stamina” is key. “I’ve been doing hot yoga at True Yoga in Pacific Plaza for about one to two months now. Occasionally, I'll bump into Aileen [Tan] or Zoe [Tay] there,” she said. “I’m addicted to yoga now! The results are very good. I’ve lost weight. I can now fit into Size S. Before, I was wearing Size M or L. Doing yoga also puts me in a good mood. It recharges my body. After sweating it out, I feel very refreshed. It also calms my emotions.”
That sort of zen-ness is something Xiang Yun needs now more than ever in her, well, life less ordinary. In April, Edmund took to his Facebook to reveal that he had been cheated of more than $10,000 by a “skillful” con woman, who had been Xiang Yun’s “god-daughter”. He called it "a true-life encounter even more exciting than any drama script I’ve come across".
In a series of lengthy Facebook posts, Edmund wrote in Mandarin that last year, a 30-year-old woman had approached him on Facebook asking to collaborate with him on an art project. Subsequently, they met up three times but the project went nowhere. He was touched, however, when the woman claimed to be a fan of his recent illustrative book My Little Red Dot. Later on, the woman shared that she was going through a rough patch in her relationship and was hoping to find a sales and marketing job. Long story short, Edmund decided to hire her as a part-timer for a month.
A month turned into four, but the woman refused to leave, claiming that her work was not finished. So Edmund allowed her stay on and continued paying her a token sum every month. Subsequently, he allowed her to manage his Facebook account. But she made herself admin and locked him out of his own account. He had to employ the help of a professional firm to regain control of his Facebook account. He also wrote that he was contacted by other victims following his Facebook post. “I found out that she’s actually a habitual offender. She’s skillful and most importantly, eloquent,” he wrote. “And this person took advantage of my kindness… I spent $10K to $12K hiring her… She even leveraged on my company’s connections and resources to start other activities. And, to my horror, manipulated and instigated my old partners and ruined our partnership relationships.”
The 56-year-old former actor said that he decided to expose the woman (pictured), whose name he revealed to be Karen Ho, “to prevent more innocent people from getting cheated.” Miss Ho had scammed about 10 victims, including singer Nathan Hartono, who was spurred to step forward after reading Edmund’s Facebook post. Nathan claimed that he was owed $3,000 in performing fees for two years.
Speaking of the case, Xiang Yun says, “I was quite sad about it for a few days. I thought, ‘Eh, why this kind of thing happen to us ah? Why like that? Why are there such people around?’ We really treated her as a friend. We didn’t have our guard against her. I never thought such people exist in this world ’cos I believe that this world is very beautiful. Yes, we see tragic events happening around us, but I never thought that something like that would happen to me. Now, I see clearly that this world isn’t that beautiful and there are actually such scammers around.”
She adds: “I no longer trust strangers so easily. I used to do so. My good friends always tell me, ‘Your biggest flaw is that you trust others too easily.” Same goes for my family members. We’re all very disappointed [by this case]. It’s a real eye-opener.”
While Xiang Yun declines to comment further on the matter as it’s now a court case, she wants to clarify one thing. “We sued her first. We sent two lawyer letters to her. But, she refused to sign them. Then, she counter-sued us and announced it to [a Chinese daily] which published it. Edmund had already notified [the Chinese daily] that we had sent her a lawyer letter. But the problem is [the Chinese daily] published her lawyer letter to us, and not the lawyer letter we sent to her. This caused a misunderstanding — people don’t know that we sued her first. ’Cos of the newspaper report, some people think that Edmund’s very poor thing ’cos he’s being sued. When my colleagues see me, they think that I’m suffering ’cos Edmund’s being sued. I'm thinking, 'We didn’t do anything wrong. Why are we being misunderstood?' With regards to the ‘wrongful reporting’ in the newspaper, we hope that the public can reserve their opinions first and give time for the court to pass a verdict so they can know the truth.”
In the meantime, the actress is certainly not suffering from pre-court jitters. “I’m not the least bit worried. I still can relax and enjoy life. I still can sleep at night. Our family is not affected by this court case ’cos we’ve done nothing wrong. We still go out for dinners. At the end of the day, the truth will come to light.”
Life Less Ordinary debuts Oct 2, Ch 8, 7.30pm.
PHOTOS: KELVIN CHIA