What I would tell my younger self

What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time?

Life posed this question to the cast of new xinyao-themed drama Crescendo. The TV series revolves around students with a passion for xinyao, the local Chinese folk-pop music that emerged in the 1980s.

They form a singing group called Crescendo, and as adults, set up a record label of the same name.

Actress Ann Kok, who plays a has-been xinyao singer from the 1980s in the series, says that if she could turn back the clock, she would not have entered show business.

Cynthia Koh, who plays a member of Crescendo, says she would have stood up to the bullies who harassed her in secondary school.

Life also asked the younger cast in the series what they hope to achieve in the future.

CHARACTER: Deng Xueli, a has-been xinyao singer who was once popular in the 1980s

Ann Kok, 42

"I would tell the younger Ann Kok to not follow in my footsteps. Don't go into acting. It's good to have dreams, but I feel there's no market in Singapore. I should have pursued something more practical, for example, marketing. Don't join the industry unless you are in Hong Kong or South Korea, which are supportive of the entertainment industry."

Tan Chuxuan, 24

Part-time actress and customer development executive at a multinational company

"I'm a very logical person. Work comes first for me and fun comes second. After I graduated, I didn't take time to go for a graduation trip. Now that I'm working full-time, I regret it. I would tell my future self to let loose, go travel and explore. After you have the money and time, you won't have the energy to enjoy."

CHARACTER: Wang Yafang, a member of the xinyao singing group Crescendo

Cynthia Koh, 41

"I got bullied in secondary school after winning a magazine beauty contest. Schoolmates gossiped behind my back and my friends distanced themselves from me. I hid during recess, I didn't eat, I didn't want to be seen. A schoolmate once even called me a b**** over the public announcement system.

We have since reconciled.

What I would have done is to confront the bully and stand up for myself. I feel that's what victims of bullying should do."

Actress-singer Bonnie Loo, 21

"At my age, people tend to see me as a sweet young girl. I hope I will mature and exude womanly charm.

I hope I will be able to hold a solo concert one day. It's also my dream to be in a movie, I'd be happy with even a small role."

CHARACTER: Irene Lin, a member of Crescendo. She grows up to be a successful career woman, but is disgruntled with her love life

Jacelyn Tay, 40

"If I could turn back the clock, I would tell myself to have more patience. I would have been happier and more relaxed during my younger days. I'm quite impatient, be it in dealing with my acting career or relationships. I lose my temper quite easily. I wanted to achieve things quick. I've become a lot more patient after marriage and giving birth to my son. I like myself better now."

Model-actress Erika Tan, 27

"I hope I will age gracefully and the future me is happy and really successful in my career. I've been modelling for a while, I hope I can try something new. I like singing and hope to have my own album."

CHARACTER: Yang Yiwei, a member of Crescendo, who later sets up the record label Crescendo

Christopher Lee, 44

"I would tell my younger self to try everything. You wouldn't know what you are good at till you try it. The varied experiences are beneficial for an actor who has to take on many characters.

For instance, even though I now know I'm not cut out for singing, I would still tell my younger self to go for it. I recall trying to skip recording sessions by giving excuses that I had stomachache or fever."

Sociology undergraduate Brian Ng, 24

"I'm not sure what I'll be doing in future. Whatever I do, I hope I will be doing something meaningful and making a difference in someone's life."

CHARACTER: Jiang Chufan, a member of Crescendo who later sets up the record label Crescendo

Tay Ping Hui, 44

"I would learn to play more musical instruments, maybe the saxophone. I like the fluidity of its sound. I love music. I taught myself to play the guitar, keyboard and drums. It's never too much to want to learn more."

Actor Xu Bin, 26

"I hope to expand my career abroad. I would like to work with Taiwanese-Canadian actor Eddie Peng, he's really good-looking and hardworking. He has such determination to train to get such a sculpted body. He's my role model."

CHARACTER: David Law, a member of Crescendo who later sets up the record label Crescendo

Darren Lim, 43

"I would tell my younger self to play more basketball so that I can grow taller. I'm usually the shortest actor on set.

When I'm next to Chris Lee and Tay Ping Hui, I feel like I'm standing between two buildings."

(Lim is 1.73m. Lee stands at 1.82m and Tay 1.86m.)

Business major undergraduate Fraser Tiong, 21

"As people grow older, they tend to forget about their dreams and aspirations. They get bogged down by the mundane aspects of life. I would remind myself of my dream, to continue doing what I love - acting and music."


Crescendo premieres on Channel 8 on Oct 23 at 9pm. 

This article was first published on Oct 14, 2015.
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