8 DAYS is speaking to Peter Yu in a moving car. Kinda, sorta.
You see, he’s behind the wheel (somewhere along the BKE, if we heard correctly) while this writer is holed up in a conference room, interviewing the erstwhile Ch 8 artiste and in-demand comeback actor over the phone on a clear Friday afternoon. Think of it as our version of Taxicab Confessions sans the camera.
In fact, we only know he’s on the road at the end of our chat — when we hear him dropping off a passenger. Had we known earlier, we would’ve called when his shift ended. “Don’t worry, I was using an earpiece,” Yu, 51, assures us. Good to know.
Yu’s stormy backstory is well-documented (if you’re familiar with it, kindly skip the next three paragraphs). The highly-publicised split from TV host wife Quan Yifeng. The drugs, drinking, and partying. The mountain of gambling debts. His stint as a taxi driver…
Then Yu embraced Christianity, cleaned up his act and thus began a new chapter in his life. He married a sales merchandiser, with whom he has two sons, Israel, two, and Christian, six. (Yu also has a 19-year-old daughter, Eleanor, with Quan.)
All this while, Yu hadn't fallen out with acting. In 2014, he appeared in a church play, his first starring role since leaving Mediacorp in 2000. He returned to Ch 8 with 2016’s Hero, followed by 2017’s Dream Coder.
While the acting offers have kept him busy lately, he hasn’t given up his day job as a chauffeur-for-hire. “When I’m free, I still drive,” says Yu who no longer rents a taxi and is now a Grab driver. “I still love driving,” he adds. “That’s why I won’t go hungry [between acting projects].”
During our ‘ride’ in Yu's Honda Stream, he shared with us a few things about his experience working on his first English-language production, Ch 5’s Fried Rice Paradise, a 13-episode adaptation of Dick Lee’s popular stage musical, and how much he’s evolved as an actor.
Fried Rice Paradise – The Drama Series airs Tue, Ch 5, 9.30pm. It’s also streaming on Toggle.