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E-Junkies: Jernelle Oh and Seow Sin Nee on their 'majie group chat' for new drama Emerald Hill

When the majies (domestic helpers) of the Zhang family needed to discuss matters, they would message each other in their group chat.

Speaking to AsiaOne recently during a set visit of the opulent Zhang residence from the upcoming Mediacorp drama Emerald Hill, local actress Jernelle Oh revealed: "We have a majie group chat, because we want to standardise our habits and some of the things we do in our roles. Our boss, played by Priscelia Chan, is the leader of our pack… she is our manager basically."

Priscelia, 45, plays the head of majies Ping Jie in this spinoff from The Little Nyonya (2008), and is the direct caregiver to the matriarch of the Zhang family Liu Xiuniang, played by local veteran actress Zoe Tay.

Jernelle plays Ah Hua, a majie who rises through the ranks and is given the responsibility to attend to the family's second daughter-in-law Li Shuqin (Jesseca Liu) and her daughter Anya.

The 29-year-old said: "I like Ah Hua a lot because she is a righteous person. She wants to stand up for people, but at the same time, she is also a bit of a scaredy-cat, so there's this contrast which I want to explore further."

Sin Nee, 28, plays Ah Hao, who takes care of the young children in the Zhang household. However, due to an unexpected turn of events, she is chased out of the house after two episodes.

Jernelle and Sin Nee both expressed that they were very "honoured" to be part of the blockbuster drama.

"We are all very excited about the show and really want to make this drama good. Even before we started shooting, we already discussed how we can make our characters and the drama better," Jernelle added.

In preparation for their roles, they visited the Peranakan Museum to understand the culture, as well as listened to music and watched movies from the 1950s and 1970s.

"We were told to make up some backstories to know our backgrounds better, such as which family we came from, why we have such characteristics and how it resulted in our habits," Sin Nee said.

The Zhang residence is a Singapore Land Authority-managed heritage house loaned to Mediacorp for filming, and Sin Nee and Jernelle admired how meticulously decorated it was.


Sin Nee, who started filming there in May, shared that her favourite spot was the view from the foyer.

"I was most impressed the moment I opened the door and realised, 'Wow, this is like a museum.' This resembles so much the museums in Melaka or Penang which I paid a ticket for to get in… I was just very lucky to be part of it," she expressed.

As for Jernelle, she enjoyed the view from the lush surroundings outside.

"The whole furnishing of the exterior of the house is very well-done. The crew even painted the pillars and retiled the floor. When I am outside, I can also feel the breeze and see the greenery. I really like it, so when we are not filming, I would go out just to enjoy the view."

Emerald Hill centres around Zhang Xinniang, who roams the streets with her adoptive mother Ah Zhu (Chen Liping), cheating others to survive.

When Xinniang is around 10 years old, Ah Zhu brings her to the wealthy Zhang family living on Emerald Hill and claims that she is Shuqin's long-lost daughter Anya.

As Xinniang (Tasha Low) grows up in the family, she secretly remains in contact with Ah Zhu, sometimes stealing things for her, unaware that Shuqin knows of her deeds and she is not the real Anya.

The drama also stars Chantalle Ng, Ferlyn Wong, Elvin Ng, Romeo Tan, Taiwanese actor Hsiu Chieh-kai and Zhu Zeliang, with Jeanette Aw reprising her role as Yamamoto Yueniang from The Little Nyonya. It is expected to premiere in the first half of 2025.

Watch our E-Junkies video for the house tour and more of our interview with Sin Nee and Jernelle!


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