Alien's at home in Singapore

SINGAPORE - He may have worked alongside popular names in the Taiwanese entertainment industry such as Show Lo, Barbie Hsu and Ethan Juan.

But the person whom Taiwanese entertainer Alien Huang, 29, looks up to as a mentor is Singapore's Chew Chor Meng, who starred as his father in the popular Channel 8 period drama Joys Of Life (2012).

Speaking to Life! while he was in town recently to promote his new album, Make Sense, Huang says that getting to know Chew in the drama was an experience that he was "very proud of".

They were close while filming and still keep in touch via Whatsapp.

Huang says: "Not only did he give me a lot of advice about acting and performing, he also shared a lot of valuable insights about life."

Although he tried, but failed, to look up some of Chew's older dramas such as Wok Of Life (1999) and Springs Of Life (2002) as a reference for his own acting, "other Singapore actors told me that they saw traces of a younger Chew Chor Meng in the way I portrayed my character".

With a smile, he adds: "I feel really happy about that accomplishment."

He could well have more accomplishments to come as he matures and develops his music and acting career.

Make Sense, his third album which was released in May, presents a sexier, more mature image as he shows off his new toned physique with sultry dance moves in the music video for the title track.

"Some fans commented in the past that Xiao Gui (his Mandarin nickname, literally Little Ghost) seemed too skinny, almost like a ghost. So I also wanted to work hard in that aspect," he said, looking visibly more muscular in a long-sleeved, multi- coloured top.

In addition to singing and acting, he is known for hosting the Taiwanese variety show 100 per cent Entertainment and has dabbled in fashion design and illustrating.

However, he says he has always been most inclined towards acting.

Since his debut in 2002, he has been regularly appearing in TV and film projects, including the lead role in Taiwanese television drama Half Grown Up - Freedom (2002) and supporting roles in the popular serials Tokyo Juliet (2006) and Corner With Love (2007).

"I stumbled into hosting and recording music albums along the way, but I joined the entertainment industry because I wanted to act," he says.

To hone his acting skills, not to mention expand his regional fan base, he has ventured to Singapore to star in the Michelle Chong film, Already Famous (2011), and stayed here for four months while filming Joys Of Life.

While here, the toy collector liked to frequent toy stores and go to the cinema when he had some free time after filming. He says Singapore now feels like a "second home".

Taiwan and Singapore do not have major cultural differences, he says, except that there seems to be more gender equality in workplaces here.

"In Taiwan, the people holding all the important positions such as directors and producers are about 80 per cent male. But here, there are both male and female directors.

"I think Singaporean girls seem more independent and career-minded."

The bachelor, who used to date singer-actress Rainie Yang, is currently working on drama projects and hosting in Taiwan, but would like to return here to film when there are scripts and roles that suit him.

"Then I can come back and have more bak chor mee. It's spicy and so good with fishball soup."

yuensin@sph.com.sg


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