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Thu, Sep 24, 2009
The New Paper
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Smackdown with a sweetheart
by Kwok Kar Peng

THERE'S little to like about this woman on screen.

In 2007's Kinship, she attempted several murders to get her hands on her husband's fortune.

She was no better in last year's The Little Nyonya where she watched her own sister get raped and did nothing to save her.

Even her friends SMSed Eelyn Kok to say: 'You are so evil, I hate you!'

In real life though, there's little not to like about Eelyn.

She's down-to-earth, polite and sweet-tempered. And you can't miss those eyes when she smiles.

Recently however, Eelyn confessed how much she enjoyed slapping actress Carole Lin for a scene in the new Channel 8 drama My Buddy, now showing every weeknight at 9pm.

Whoa! Has playing all those screen hussies 'brainwashed' her?

Eelyn confided happily: 'I slapped Carole, she tugged my hair, we scratched, we pulled each other's clothes... it was fun!'

It was almost like a guilty pleasure for her.

Eelyn, who didn't want to reveal her age, felt the hissing catfight was actually therapeutic.

'When I played those scheming characters in the past, I could only show the evil through my eyes. I had to bottle all the negative emotions inside me.

'Now, I get to release all that energy in the fight with Carole.'

That was her first cat-fight, ever.

It raises her hackles when people she's nice to respond rudely to her.

And what does she do to vent her frustrations?

'Oh no,' she told me. 'I play Scrabble.'

Oh. My. Gosh. Is she for real?

Seeing my reaction, she quickly added that when she's in a bad mood, her competitive streak emerges and she must (and she stressed this) win the game.

What a bloodthirsty woman she is. Not!

But she does have a bit of a temper.

She admitted that the last time she had a quarrel was 'a few years ago' with her two younger brothers, over issues like 'leaving their things around and not flushing the toilet'.

Eelyn, who joined showbiz with MediaWorks in 2001, wasn't always the actress audiences loved to hate.

She signed a contract with MediaCorp in 2005 when MediaWorks shut down.

Initially she played supporting roles so minor they weren't even mentioned in the story synopses.

It was only with her role in Rhapsody In Blue in 2006 that she came out of obscurity. She played a teacher who gradually becomes crazy and suicidal after accidentally killing a man while driving without a licence.

In the shadows

But while her portrayal of a money-hungry woman (who also turned bonkers in the end) in Kinship made people sit up and notice her, it didn't make her a big celebrity.

And as her co-stars in The Little Nyonya, Jeanette Aw, Lin Meijiao, Pan Lingling and Ng Hui, basked in the limelight after the telecast of that drama, Eelyn remained in the background.

'Maybe it's all about luck,' Eelyn reflected on her bumpy path to recognition.

'I believe in hard work more than in luck, but opportunities may not come even if I have worked hard.'

She admitted she sometimes worries that the public will only remember her as the 'bad woman'.

She said: 'I've heard of a lot of local actresses who do such roles and remain typecast. If the drama was a flop, nobody would ever hear of them again.'

She added that it was only hearsay and she doesn't know any such actresses.

Perhaps then, her new role in My Buddy is crucial, not just because it is her first leading role.

She plays a divorced mother and Christopher Lee's love interest. More importantly, she plays a normal person.

With no scheming, back-stabbing or murdering in the drama for us to remember her by, can Eelyn Kok succeed in playing a goody two-shoes?

That's for you to decide.

This article was first published in The New Paper

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