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Thu, Jan 08, 2009
The New Paper
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Starry-eyed fan, teary-eyed hunk
by Charlene Chua

THEY wore black so he could recognise them immediately in the crowd at the countdown party show.

One fan even gave him a gift that left him teary-eyed.

Said MediaCorp actor Dai Yang Tian, who plays a Japanese photographer in the hit Channel 8 drama The Little Nyonya: 'She gave me a bottle filled with 1,000 tiny paper stars and a magnifying glass.

'And in the letter she wrote, she told me to open a star whenever I was feeling down. She had actually managed to write jokes on all the 1,000 tiny slips of paper so I would have to use the magnifying glass to read the jokes.

'I was really touched.'

The Shanghai-born actor, who has been in Singapore for only a year, was voted by the public in two of the Top 8 Most Likeable Male Leads at the Channel 8 Countdown Party 2009 at VivoCity, on 31 Dec.

Christopher Lee also got two wins. Huang Wenyong, Elvin Ng, Chen Hanwei and Pierre Png bagged one place each.

But Yang Tian is a new face. He has acted in only one other drama - Taste Of Love.

And in The Little Nyonya, where he played photographer Yousuke Yamamoto, he appeared in fewer than eight of the 34 episodes.

Of his win, he told The New Paper: 'It was an amazing feeling. I was speechless. I kept thinking of my poor fans who have been screaming themselves hoarse for two hours. I just wanted to rush down and talk to them.'

Indeed, The Little Nyonya, which has made fellow MediaCorp star Jeanette Aw an overnight sensation, has certainly done wonders for Yang Tian's career as well.

Perhaps it has something to do with his role - in the drama, his character sacrifices his life for love.

Asked if he will do the same in real life, the 24-year-old said: 'I will do anything for the love of my life, no task is too difficult.'

Too bad he is single, and would rather remain so.

He said: 'Firstly I don't know whether I'll be popular or not and whether I'll have a stable income - I'm the kind who will pay for everything for my girlfriend.

'Secondly I'll have to act with a host of actresses and I would feel guilty about it if I were attached.'

Of course, if he meets a girl he really likes, all that may change.

Yang Tian, who has worked with Michelle Chia and Dawn Yeoh before, confessed that co-star Jeanette was the one who gave him the 'most intense feeling'.

'I felt more like lovers with Jeanette. She's a very good actress who gets deep into her role,' said Yang Tian, who played Jeanette's husband in the drama.

A love interest perhaps? 'No, we don't talk much outside of work. Actually I'm better friends with Michelle and Dawn,' he said with a laugh.

Yang Tian first caught Channel 8 viewers' attention as the male lead in Taste Of Love. The China-Singapore collaboration, shown last January, is about two female chefs who try to make it big in a male-dominated industry.

Romantic introvert

Before going into acting, Yang Tian was a model in Shanghai for two years.

In November, he signed a two-year contract with MediaCorp and has since moved here permanently.

He is grateful that The Little Nyonya has been a stepping stone, saying: 'Although my character dies early in the show, the role gave me a chance to fully express my emotions as an actor.'

Yang Tian, who counts Zhang Yaodong, Darren Lim and Pierre Png as his buddies, said he is an introvert and doesn't make friends easily.

He admitted to being able to stay at home and play video games 'for four to five weeks on end'.

Not that he's a couch potato. He gets up at 5am daily for his run, to balance his love of desserts, especially his favourite durian chendol.

He said he finds it easier to make friends with Singaporean guys. 'We have many common interests such as jogging and basketball, so we form brotherly bonds quickly.'

As for local girls, he added shyly: 'I think there are still cultural and language differences. A lot of girls here speak English and there are few topics we can talk about.

'For example they only like to talk to me about shopping and places that have good food. Although I have to say I really enjoy the food here!'

Yang Tian said he would prefer to get to know a girl for a year first before he would consider dating her.

'Firstly, destiny would play a big part. I'm not the type who will take the initiative with a girl. Then after about a year of friendship, if I find that I can really communicate with her, I will pursue her,' he said.

He revealed that he went out with his first and only girlfriend, a Chinese model, when he was 20.

He said: 'I was too childish, I didn't treat her well enough. She ended the relationship but we're still good friends.'

The self-confessed romantic recounted how he would cook meals for her and have the food couriered over to her as they lived far apart.

'I believe romance is what you make of it and those people who say they have no time or no money are just giving excuses.

'I tend to feel that if a girl cheats on me, it's my fault. My thinking is, if I had lavished more time and attention on her, there would be no reason for her to go out with another guy.'

Although he dated a model and calls Japanese actress Takeuchi Yuko his dream woman, Yang Tian was quick to add that he prizes inner beauty over looks.

'Maybe it's because of the industry I'm in. Everyone is good-looking so beauty is not as important to me as character and personality. Sometimes I see a gorgeous girl but I just don't feel anything for her,' he said.

He admitted to having a soft spot for girls who are 'gentle, feminine and who have fair skin'.

'I am also attracted to girls who are kind and caring. If she can cook up a nice meal, that's a huge plus.'

And no, Yang Tian does not rule out dating a fan.

'Anything is possible. If I meet someone I have a special connection with, I wouldn't care what anyone thinks or says.

'If I want to be with her, no one can stop me!'

This article was first published in The New Paper on Jan 6, 2009.

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