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Actresses Xiang Yun and Hong Huifang initially against their children joining showbusiness: 'This industry can be tough'


Hong Huifang, 63; Xiang Yun, 62; and Aileen Tan, 57, were guests on the latest episode of Dishing With Chris Lee.

The trio chatted up a storm, hardly needing any prompting from host Christopher Lee as they looked back on their careers, the iconic roles they’ve played, and their families.

Christopher said: “I think they’re in very good places now. Moreover, I’m really happy that their kids have grown up, with [some] of them entering showbiz as well.”

“Did you guys discuss it? Did you try to stop them when they said they wanted to join showbiz? Or were you supportive right from the get-go?” he wondered.

“We were against it earlier on, because we know it can be very tough. Perhaps they were subtly influenced [by us] over time. So when they decided to join this industry, we were quite surprised,” said Xiang Yun, while Huifang nodded in agreement.

Xiang Yun’s son, Chen Xi, 33, took on a few acting jobs before heading to London to further his studies last year. Her daughter, Chen Yixin, 24, has similarly ventured into modelling and acting.

Huifang’s daughter Tay Ying, 28, is an actress with Mediacorp, while her son Calvert, 24, is a singer and music producer.

Xiang Yun continued: “Take my son, for example. He graduated from university, so he should have pursued something relevant to his studies. But he said he wanted to give acting a try. Now he’s studying arts management overseas, but he still loves acting! I recently made a trip to England, and he told me: 'Actually acting is really fun'. I was quite apprehensive about it.”

Chris then paid Yixin a compliment, saying he likes how “alternative” she is.

“She’s very pretty, and very avant-garde. She’s very fashionable. She looks really good in all her magazine shoots,” he said.

Xiang Yun thanked him, adding that Yixin “really needs the blessing and support of the seniors”.

“She’s interested in showbiz, but I’ve never set any specific goals for her. I just want her to be happy,” she added.


Xiang Yun never expected her son to venture into acting. (Photo: mewatch)

“Our blood flows in our children. I’m the same: I don’t want my son [Zed, who turns 10 this National Day] to join this industry in the future. I thought there was a possibility he would be interested in showbiz. My son doesn’t like these things, but he’s very happy whenever he has the chance to go on stage to speak,” sighed Christopher.

“He inherited it from you!” exclaimed Aileen, who doesn’t share the same worries as the others.

Aileen and her Hong Kong-born director husband Gerald Lee do not have any children together. However, she treats Gerald’s 32-year-old son from his previous marriage like her own.

It was then Huifang’s turn to share about her kids’ showbiz journey.

“It wasn’t the same for my children. They didn’t dare to go on stage when they were younger. When they got older, they told me they wished to try acting and I was totally taken aback,” said Huifang.

When Christopher praised Calvert for being a good singer, Huifang revealed that his gift wasn’t inherited at all as she has “completely no talent in singing”.

“During the pandemic, my son told me that he had written 40 songs. I only found out then that he has a talent for singing and making music. [Zheng] Geping and I aren’t talented in this aspect, but it turns out Calvert is. He composes, writes and produces songs, and sings them himself, and I feel very proud of him for that,” she said.

“I didn’t expect [Huifang’s] daughter to be so good at martial arts, just like her dad. These talents are really inherited from one’s parents. So when they say they want to join this industry, we can’t stop them,” Christopher added.

The mums agreed, saying the only thing they can do is to support their children.


Huifang never expected her kids to follow in Geping and her footsteps as well. (Photo: mewatch)

Christopher also shared this hot take: “I actually dislike it when people call them second-gen stars [which in this case, alludes to them being ‘nepo babies’]. I find it too extreme. They have their own talents and potential, and the term insinuates that they have piggybacked off their parents’ success. I’m against this term, even though my son has yet to even join this industry. I’m not speaking for him! I simply feel that this gives them unnecessary stress.”

Aileen then joked: “If I wait for your son to grow older, I’ll have to act as his grandmother!”

This story was originally published in 8Days.

For more 8Days stories, visit https://www.8days.sg/

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