The Jason Hahn Files: Zoe Tay Is So Serious In Dark Angel But Her Hair Looks Smashing
I don’t mean to boast when I say that I am the only one of my parents’ three children who fulfilled their destiny. From the moment she said ‘I will’ to my father’s marriage proposal, Mother had fantasised of having a lawyer, doctor and banker in the family. For a while, she entertained the idea of adding a fourth child as an architect, and a fifth as the Prime Minister of Singapore, but by the time my brother Jack was born, she was, in her own words, “so over it”.
“Being pregnant is such an awful experience!” she told everyone at Jack’s hundredth-day celebrations. “I don’t think I’ll ever be seen in public in a bikini ever again. You’re getting your tubes tied,” she said to Father.
Which is a long-winded way of saying that our mother pinned all her hopes for eternal maternal glory on her children. It began promisingly enough. When I graduated as a lawyer, it was like she had personally discovered the double cure for cancer and stupidity, but it was all downhill from there.
When Michelle became an accountant instead of a doctor on account of her aversion to blood, Mother pursed her lips and stared hard into the distance. Jack took up surfing in Bali and later played backup guitar with some obscure rock band in San Francisco, and the day I announced I was leaving the law to become a journalist, that very afternoon, she dragged Father to the family lawyers to change both their wills.
“I think they’re leaving everything to an animal shelter,” I told Michelle.
“What the…,” she replied.
Thankfully, the passing years have salved some of Mother’s wounds. For instance, we’re all back in her will. And the other day, she called to tell me she’s been utterly engrossed by Dark Angel. I blinked. “I thought you didn’t like Jessica Alba?”
“Which one is she?”
“The genetically modified solder?”
Mother paused, a little aware that she might have missed a turning a few sentences back, but plunged on bravely. “Oh, I guess she comes on in a later episode, then. I have to say once you get past how po-faced Zoe is, you kind of realise why she’s been winning all those awards all these years!”
“Who’s Zoe?” I asked.
It wasn’t till a week later, during a humid lunch at Tiong Bahru Market, that the confusion was cleared up.
“Aiyoh,” Sharyn sighed, her glasses fogging up over her bowl of mee pok. “Why you so suaku? Zoe Tay is not the same as Jessica Alba!”
I bristled. “Well, excuse me if I can’t keep up with every single Mediacorp Chinese drama out there!”
“Well, you should,” Amanda piped up, looking up from her chwee kueh. “Dark Angel is such a great show! I’m totally living for Zoe’s hair. I wonder if David Gan had a hand in it!”
On the other side of the table, Saffy’s enormous bosom inflated. “Me, too. I wish I could afford one of his haircuts. I’m sure they’re like a thousand dollars or something, but I bet Zoe gets hers for free. I’m up to the part where that creepy grandfather shows up. Honestly, I’ll never look at old men the same way again!”
Three sets of eyes swivelled around. Saffy noticed the sudden attention. “What?”
“The only reason I started watching,” Amanda began, “is because of Qi Yuwu. Seriously, that man gets more and more gorgeous, the older he gets.”
“I just can’t get over Zoe getting her ear sliced off!” Saffy said. “I keep expecting the fake ear to drop off in the middle of one of her cross-examinations in court! Oh my God, can you imagine if that happened in the bloopers reel?”
Amanda clutched Saffy’s arm and they both fell about laughing, whilst Sharyn coughed into her mee pok and turned red.
If you can’t beat them, join them, is my motto in life. Which is how I ended up watching Dark Angel. Five episodes in, what astonishes me is how I’ve been able to completely follow everything despite the complete absence of English subtitles and not being able to speak a word of Chinese beyond, “Da bao” and “mai dan!”.
“That’s good story-telling,” Saffy said last night.
“But if only the sets didn’t look so dull!” I complained. “That TYF law firm looks like it was put together with IKEA knock-offs!"
“Well, not every legal office can look like Suits!” Saffy said. “Ooh, now that was a great legal show. Those outfits! Those hot men!”
Meanwhile, my sister, who’s also just finished the first two episodes of Dark Angel, says that she’s finally worked out why Zoe Tay’s dead look, which she has for most of the show, is so disturbing familiar. “It’s the exact same look Mother had when I told her I was going to become an accountant. Do you remem…”
“Oh. My. God.” I said.
Watch the first episode of Dark Angel here: