Jeff Wang makes name in Taiwan soap opera

Former Channel 8 host Jeff Wang has made his mark in Taiwanese prime-time soap operas since returning to his hometown Taiwan in 2009.

He credits the popular Night Market Life as his break-out show, in which he has a recurring part as a doctor. The 1,008-episode series is filled with complex family relations, revenge plots and entangled romances. Currently showing in Singapore, it snagged the No. 1 spot in the most popular drama list in its time slot on Channel 8 last year.

Besides Night Market Life, Wang has snagged roles in other long-running series such as A Place Called Home (2008), Father and Son (2011), Feng Shui Family (2012), Dowry (2014) and Dragon Dance (2014).

The decision to try his luck at acting in the cut-throat Taiwanese show business has clearly paid off for him.

"It's really competitive in Taiwan. Though there are many TV stations, there are also plenty of artists vying for a role.

"Once you have a chance, you have to grab onto it like a crazy dog and not let go," he says.

In March, the 38-year-old star will be coming back here to perform at a concert with his Night Market Life co-stars such as sweet-faced actress Fang Xin, heartthrob actor Lee Zheng Ying and veteran actress Chen Mei Feng, who is dubbed Taiwan's prettiest auntie.

"Returning to Singapore is like going back home. I've spent 10 years in Singapore, it's my second home. Previously, I was always the host of the concert. This time I'm returning as a performer. The feeling is entirely different," says Wang who was the male champion of local TV station's Star Search contest in 1999.

He was speaking to Life! in Taipei in a face-to-face interview to promote the Night Market Life concert last month.

In his decade-long career in Singapore, Wang put his eloquence in Mandarin to good use by carving a niche in hosting variety shows such as lifestyle and variety shows such as City Beat, Say It If You Dare and Superband.

But what he had wanted to do all along was act.

He explains: "I was mostly a host during my 10 years in Singapore. I wanted to try something different. I thought why not expand my career overseas and find a different platform to further my acting career."

The bachelor, who has a six-year-old son with his Singaporean ex-wife, says that his current life revolves around the filming studio.

"My record is not going home for two weeks. I would bathe, eat and sleep in the filming studios. When I had breaks, I would take cat naps," says Wang, who shares that he keeps his stamina up by exercising regularly and popping vitamin pills.

Despite his busy filming schedule, he has found time to pursue his passion for singing. He is the singer of a six-man band that includes Taiwanese actress Hitomi Wang Tong, Malaysian singer Eison Ai Cheng and Wang's manager on the guitar.

"It was my manager's idea to form a rock band. He was searching for members and asked me to come on board. In future, I hope to get a chance to record another solo album," says Wang, who released his first album, Path Of Dreams, in 2009.

So why is his band called North Seven when there are only six members in it?

With the glibness of a veteran TV host, he quips: "The seventh member in our band is the audience."

nggwen@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on December 27, 2014.
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