'Obvious hint'

"A movie director threw me an obvious hint. He told me he liked me a lot and that he didn't have a girlfriend because he was too busy with work," Hong claimed.

"He said how wonderful it would be if he had a girlfriend that he could work with and date at the same time. He then asked me how I felt about it.

"If this had happened to me when I was younger, I think I would have either cried or looked very grouchy. Now that I'm older and stronger, I laughed it off. I simply told the director I would be returning to Singapore soon.

"I would definitely reject such propositions. I'm not that short of money."

Hong added that she's met other producers who are not looking for special favours.

Besides Hong, another MediaCorp actor, Zhang Yaodong, who's in his 30s, is also planning to go to China to advance his career.

He told Shin Min Daily News in a recent interview that he's not certain if he would renew his contract with MediaCorp.

Actresses Cynthia Koh and Michelle Chia, who are in their 30s, are also taking a break from acting for an unspecified period of time, while Michelle Chong has left to turn her attention to directing movies.

Hong thinks the broadcaster is at the losing end with the exodus of experienced artistes, adding: "Some of my friends outside of showbiz watch local TV dramas only occasionally.

"And when they do, they don't recognise many of the new faces and so they aren't interested to continue watching."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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