Five years after playing a table tennis coach in Channel 8 drama series Table Of Glory, Kym Ng is back wielding a ping pong bat on our small screens.
The spunky actress-host, who is in her 40s, has a cameo in the upcoming Channel 8 sitcom A Blessed Life, where she plays a table tennis enthusiast and spars with her on-screen dad (Zhu Houren) in several scenes.
For Ng, it is a case of reel life being in tandem with real life as she is madly passionate about the sport.
Ever since she picked up table tennis for Table Of Glory in 2009, she has become a "serious hobbyist" and has been practising for "two hours almost every day" under the tutelage of professional mainland Chinese coaches, whom she reportedly pays $50 an hour.
She is so in love with the game that she is adamant about learning from the best.
One of her coaches is "a former national team player", Ng told The New Paper last week at the press conference for the Thye Hua Kwan Charity Show 2015.
She said: "Two years ago, I went to (China's) Hebei province for a 10-day immersion programme at a table tennis training base.
"The daily training regimen was two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon and one hour of serving practice at night. I stayed at the base and had my meals with the students. It was fun."
The Thye Hua Kwan Charity Show 2015, which will be shown live on Channel 8 on Jan 4 at 7pm, will feature Ng doing an opening song alongside fellow MediaCorp artistes Paige Chua, Tay Ping Hui and Desmond Tan.
There will also be performances by getai entertainers Hao Hao and Liu Lingling.
Ng, who counts Olympic champions Ma Long and Wang Hao among her table tennis idols ("I like the Chinese boys, I don't really follow the Singapore paddlers"), even flew to Shandong in August to catch the finals of the China Table Tennis Super League.
"I watch Ma Long's and Wang Hao's matches on YouTube too," she said.
A Blessed Life, co-starring Li Nanxing and Chen Liping, premieres on Jan 29 at 8.30pm.
While - by her own admission - her skills are far from pro standards, Ng certainly knows the sport enough to dissect her strengths and weaknesses.
"My strength would be my physical toughness, but I'm extremely weak in serving and receiving serves," she maintained.
"Also, overall, my psychomotor skills and ball sense aren't great. That's probably why, five years on, I'm still struggling.
"You look at how professionals play - the main difference between them and us (amateurs) lies in their spin. Every time their bat touches the ball, the ball reacts differently. I can't master the spin at all."
She added that her coaches have given her feedback about her "lack of confidence".
"Not too long ago, MediaCorp held an inter-department corporate table tennis competition and I was invited to join," she recalled.
"I turned it down. Right now, due to my weaknesses, I can't play with anyone else except my coaches. I don't intend to join competitions or make this my second career."
Does her husband - a man the media only knows as Mr Yang - frequently spar with her?
"No, he prefers golf," said Ng. "He keeps asking me to join him, but I find golf very boring."
This article was first published on December 15, 2014.
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