Real life has mimicked reel life for former MediaCorp actor Xie Shaoguang.
In 1997, the Singaporean actor was nominated for Best Actor at the annual Star Awards for playing the iconic drunken, crazy Buddhist monk Ji Gong, in the popular Channel 8 drama The Legends Of Ji Gong. Now, the 51-year-old has been officially ordained a monk after studying Buddhism in Malaysia for the past eight years. The ceremony, which took place at Buddhist centre Golden Citizen Welfare Organisation or Ji Le Yuan in Pontian, Johor, on Monday morning, saw more than 200 people attending.
The centre is next to the pet shelter Animal Paradise, which Xie had been helping to run since retiring from showbiz in 2005.
Xie had his head shaved by the Da Shi Fu (Mandarin for big master) at 10am and is now known as Shao Guang Shi Xiong (Mandarin for brother) by his peers.
The New Paper visited the place on Wednesday. It is newly set up and not open to the public except every second Sunday of each month.
A monk by the name of Le Shan Shi Xiong opened the gates to let us in and said that he and Xie were the only two monks ordained on Monday.
The 48-year-old said in Mandarin: "I've known Xie for over a year now. He is a quiet person and doesn't talk much. We usually talk about Buddhist studies. We don't talk about his past in show business, he has already let go of that."
Giving us a peek into their simple everyday lives, Le Shan Shi Xiong added: "We wake up at 5.30am daily to read the scriptures, then we have our breakfast before performing our daily tasks such as housekeeping. We then have our lunch and continue with our scriptures. Our day ends at 10pm."