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10 Years Ago This Week, Stars Looked Back At 25 Years Of Local Chinese Dramas

…And recounted their memorable moments like being killed off, or nailing a role as calefare. (A version of this story first appeared on Issue 862, Apr 26, 2007.)

The stars got nostalgic as they look back on their most memorable TV moments at a press meet back in 2007 to celebrate 25 years of local Chinese dramas.

Pierre Png: “I was in my first drama The Price of Peace [a 2001 drama about the Japanese Occupation] for only three episodes before they realised how bad my Mandarin sucked, and killed me off in a bomb explosion. I think, for me, everything fell into place within those 100 episodes of Portrait of Home because I had to play a mentally challenged kid who had to express a lot of intense emotions.”

Bryan Wong: “If anyone remembers, I was actually a child actor at Mediacorp — I started when I was seven. In one of my shows, I had a brief scene with Huang Wenyong who played my tutor. Two decades later, in my first ‘real’ drama series Passion and Honour, I’m cast opposite him and he plays my father! It’s as if I’m returning home. When I look at him, I get flashbacks of myself then. It’s very surreal.”

Princess-in-the-making Fiona Xie. 

Fiona Xie: “Running down Orchard Road in my bikini [for The Champion] was memorable. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was really embarrassing, but the scene was nicely weaved into the story. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, let’s just show flesh for the sake of it.’”

Pan Lingling: “My most memorable moment was meeting my husband [erstwhile actor Huang Shinan] and forming a family with him. I knew him before I actually signed with then-SBC. He was already an actor; I was just a student in the drama course. My training room was near his studio, and we met there. It was love at first sight and we’ve been together for 20 years since then."

Terence Cao: “The most memorable moment was how I enlisted to join then-SBC. I went to the reception and one of the producers asked, ‘Hey, are you queuing up?’ I was flying [as an airline steward] then and I said, ‘No, my friend is, but not me.’ I was just accompanying my friend, because we were going to Wisma Atria after that. I couldn’t speak Mandarin well, so the producer said to me in English, ‘You don’t have to fill up the form, just follow me to the back office.’ He asked me to show him my IC [to sign up] and that’s how I got started. Now I’m actually ‘using’ Mandarin for a living.”

Michelle Chong: “To tell you the truth, in my first Chinese drama, I was an extra. I was 20, waiting to enroll into NUS. My mum knew somebody who ran a talent agency. But I woudnt call myself an extra because I had lines. I was supposed to play this nurse, some guy was dying, and the doctor who was also an extra was supposed to talk about the victim having no hope. But he was so bad that the director went, ‘You do it.’ She asked me to take the doctor’s coat and just do it. so I became the doctor and I had lines."

Felicia Chin, Jesseca Liu, Joanne Peh, Dawn Yeoh, Rui En and Jeanette Aw and Fiona Xie (not pictured here) were merely “a group loosely dubbed The Seven Princesses”. Oh, look how far we’ve come.  

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