Former local actor and martial arts champion Vincent Ng is best remembered as heartland cop Ricky Soh in the Channel 5 series Heartlanders in the early 2000s.
In person, Ng is just like his alter ego - earnest, humble and down-to-earth. That image has stuck with him through the years.
You could say he has upgraded nicely indeed, as he has called Sentosa Cove home for the past two years.
Ng, who grew up in an HDB estate in Jurong and last resided in a condominium in the western part of Singapore, is currently renting a 1,600 sq ft three-bedroom apartment at The Residences at W Singapore in the oceanfront residential community.
Sentosa Cove may not come across as his scene at first glance, but he chose it for its privacy and quiet environment.
The buff, affable Ng told The New Paper in a mix of Mandarin and English when we visited his sleek crib on Wednesday: "There is a lot of greenery and water in this area, and I like the sea. There are beaches nearby so I can go whenever I want to. It is also a good area for jogging and cycling."
"My neighbours are mostly foreigners working here and we will smile and say 'hi' to one other. Not as many people recognise me here as well," he said
However, Ng was quick to downplay his upward social mobility, emphasising that he is still very much a heartland boy.
He drives out to Seah Im Food Centre to have his nasi briyani fix thrice a week or takes away chicken rice from River Valley for dinner.
To date, he has spent over $100,000 on renovation and furnishings.
A 5.5m by 3.5m ceiling-to-floor wallpaper of himself caught our eye as we stepped into his minimalist bachelor pad.
Ng laughed and explained: "My photographer friend, Mark Law, took this photo for my (2011) fitness book, Ten, and my designer friend suggested turning it into wallpaper for my living room.
"I thought it was quite narcissistic, but all my friends have told me that it is nicely done. I am very satisfied with the final product."
Ng is certainly reaping the fruits of his labour.
He founded martial arts school Wufang Singapore in 2004 and has about 1,000 students.
The self-professed workaholic, who left MediaCorp after his contract ended in 2007, used to spend seven days a week on his job but is trying to take things a little slower now that he is turning 40 next month.
His school, which used to hold classes at the Civil Service Club in Balestier and at community centres, will have a new location at 18C, Lorong Ampas, next week.
Beaming with pride, Ng said: "It's fully carpeted and air-conditioned and we spent $130,000 on refurbishing and renovation.
"We also have more wushu training equipment for our students, who mainly come from primary and secondary schools."
He is also constantly training and grooming more top-notch wushu instructors so they can pass the art on to the next generation.
He said: "To me, the school is not just a business. I feel a sense of responsibility towards the parents and the students as well."
These days, Ng rakes in a five-figure monthly income from his school, stock investments and endorsement deals.
TV viewers who miss Ng on the small screen will be pleased to hear that he plans to make his acting comeback next year.
Ng, who still keeps in touch with local celebrities such as Elvin Ng and Sora Ma, smiled and said: "I've always wanted to make an action movie and I think next year will be a good time to do that."
In the past eight years, he has received scripts from MediaCorp and production houses but rejected them because of his wushu school commitment.
These days, he tries not to stretch himself too thin, saying that it is time he finds someone to settle down with.
The eligible bachelor, who revealed that his last relationship ended earlier this year, said: "I've been wanting to get married since I was 25. But to me, getting married is about finding the right person and not about the right timing."
He lists the qualities of his ideal partner - confident, independent and has a kind heart.
"I am not picky," he said. "It would be good enough for me if girls don't pick on me."
This article was first published on November 14, 2015.
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