Interview: Actor Lawrence Wong
Tell us how your big move to Beijing has been.
I’ve been there for only four months, but it’s been really good. I’m incredibly lucky to have landed my first job – the lead role in a Chinese drama series (Love And Passion), which I feel is amazing, because China has no lack of talented actors. The drama is a remake of a TVB classic, and has a lot of Hong Kong’s iconic actors starring in it. Filming is still taking place, and it will air in July. I also got a role in a Chinese movie (My Fantasy Diary), which will be out during Chinese New Year. I filmed it concurrently with the drama, shooting even at 4 or 5am. It was an experience – it was so cold in Beijing at night, I was shivering and couldn’t move my mouth properly when saying my lines.
We noticed on Instagram that you got to meet your film idols like Damian Lau and Patrick Tse.
That was surreal for me. I’ve been watching them since I was young. For the first time, my parents could relate to my work. I texted my parents about getting to film with these veterans and they were very excited. Being on set with them was an experience too. We didn’t talk about work, and there was no advice either. We just talked about mundane stuff – like food in Singapore!
Tell us about your second album, which you recently released.
It took me about two years to record, in a very organic way. Ultimately, I am an actor, so I recorded the album in my free time. I feel that it represents me a lot better than my first record, which was an experiment to test the market. The truth is that albums don’t really sell anymore, so I didn’t have to think about pleasing anyone, and focused on messages I wanted to bring across.
Beyond work, how has China been treating you?
It’s the small things that I’ve found to be very exciting. I discovered Taobao, where you can get anything. I discovered WeChat. And I discovered China’s delivery food service. It’s amazing that every restaurant delivers, with no minimum order – you could get bubble tea delivered to your home if you wanted.
The thing you miss most about Singapore is…
Food, of course. It’s not easy to get nasi lemak, teh peng and kaya in China. There is Toast Box there, and it serves Hainanese Chicken Rice. The taste is similar, but it misses a little kick.
Has your style evolved since moving out to the tropics?
(Laughs) A lot. I’ve been layering, and wearing so many trench coats, parkas and knitwear pieces. I’ve always liked knitwear and now I can wear all the ones I didn’t have a chance to wear in the past.
What does the rest of 2017 have in store?
I’ve been booked till September and will be working on an internet drama with Huayi Brothers entertainment company. Internet dramas are the big thing now in China. It might be surprising, but they usually have higher ratings and bigger budgets than television projects.
Romance is this month’s theme. So we have to ask… What will you be doing on Valentine’s?
Working! I worked on Christmas and New Year’s Day, so I am pretty sure I will be at work.
Your favourite rom com is…
The Holiday, with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. I just find the film heart-warming, and it’s set during Christmas, which is my favourite season.
Your ballad-of-choice would be…
Reserved by Faye Wong. It’s from her album Sky.
For a date: suit or jeans?
Jeans. I think a date requires you to feel comfortable and relaxed. A suit is too formal for me, and the mood will be set too tense.
If you had to choose: homecooked meal or fancy restaurant?
Homecooked meal, so long as I’m not cooking. I can offer to clean the dishes. I’m not a fan of crowds. I’d rather be at home, and have the music on and a glass of wine.