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It's so hard to seduce my husband!
by Charlene Chua

BEING a married couple doesn’t make it easier to film intimate scenes.

If anything, it makes it “a challenge”, said MediaCorp actress Pan Ling Ling.

She should know. In the upcoming drama Your Hand In Mine, which opens on Channel 8 next year, she has to seduce her real-life husband, MediaCorp actor Huang Shinan – not once, but twice.

It’s the first time the two are acting as a married couple, despite both having been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years.

Said Shinan, 46: “In the scenes, Ling Ling’s character gets drunk and her defences come down.

“Because we act as an unhappy couple in the show, the scenes were electrifying for my character to see his wife ‘want’ him again.”

Although filming hasn’t started for the 180-episode drama, the couple have been staying up to discuss these scenes.

Said Ling Ling, 37: “When I asked him, ‘Dear, can you show me the expression you’ll make when you're seduced by me’?

“He kept saying ‘cannot, cannot’! He covered his face with his pillow and couldn’t stop laughing!”

Shinan admitted that even after 12 years of marriage, giving his wife a preview of the scene made him feel very awkward.

But he said their chemistry would be “explosive” as they have been “at it for so long in real life”.

Added Shinan, who is ecstatic about the pairing: “I haven’t even got the chance for her to act as my girlfriend! I’ve been waiting so long for a chance like this.”

In Your Hand In Mine, Shinan plays a man who accidentally causes the death of his son, resulting in his wife not being able to forgive him.

They end up keeping up appearances in front of friends and family to spare the feelings of their teenage daughter.

Said Shinan: “If that happened to me in real life, I would file for a divorce immediately. There’s no point for two unhappy people to stay together for their child. It will end up hurting the child anyway.”

Despite having been married for so long, the two are all lovey-dovey with each other during the interview.

But surely they’ve been faced with temptation before, given their profession?

In the recent months, there have been several celebrity divorces including those of Channel 8 host Quan Yifeng and actor Peter Yu, and local singer Jacintha Abisheganaden and actor Koh Boon Pin.

But Shinan and Ling Ling replied in unison: “Never!”

He added: “Because we really love each other.”

The couple gushed like newly weds when asked how they have kept their romance alive.

Said Ling Ling: “He gives way to me when it comes to making decisions, but I always give him a listening ear.

“He’s the romantic kind who will buy me flowers andchocolates.”

Shinan, who likes to surprise Ling Ling whenever she is filming with food like “the biggest lobster from Jack’s Place”, attributes their successful marriage to love and communication.

Said the actor: “We actually call each other a few times a day. When one of us is overseas filming, the calls are even more.

“We keep asking about the children, how’s each otherand everything.”

The couple have two children, 9-year-old Beckham and 6-year-old Kynaston.

Ling Ling first took a liking to Shinan when she joined MediaCorpin 1987, two years afterhe did.

Said the actress: “I was the one who chased him!”

Shinan recounted how she stood at the Caldecott Hill basketball court and watched while he played inter-unit basketball.

The actress mustered up the courage to ask him out when they ran into each other at a restaurant later.

“And as they say, the rest is history,” said Shinan.

‘Bad guy’

But Ling Ling confessed that before she met Shinan in person, she didn’t like his “old look” on television.

Shinan is her first boyfriend.

She said: “He was always playing the bad, moustached guy on TV. I was a student then and I thought to myself, I don’t like this guy.”

When asked if their relationship had changed after they became parents, Shinan said: “The only thing that has changed is that we have less private time for ourselves.”

Calling her children “the miracle of our love”, Ling Ling confessed that above all else, she loves being a mother. “I love being pregnant,” she said.

“It’s the best thing that can ever happen to a woman as it’s the only thing woman can do that a man can’t.”

Although their children can be a handful – they like to correct Shinan’s English – the couple are enjoying their two boys at the moment.

Said Shinan: “People say that Beckham looks like Ling Ling and Kynaston looks like me.

“But personality-wise, it’s actually the opposite.”

Said Ling Ling: “Beckham can be serious and emotional like my husband and Kynaston has my quick temperand eye for detail.”

The couple admit they do squabble, usually because of their different personalities.

Shinan said: “I’m the type who will cry when I watch sad shows or old people selling things on the street.

“Sometimes I even cry at night when I think of my late grandmother, Ling Ling will say that I’m crazy.”

Ling Ling says she has a more practical outlook on life and feels that “harping on death” is unnecessary and“people should carryon with their lives”.

The couple also squabble when it comes to how their children should be punished.

Once, when Ling Ling pointed out that Shinan had hit his son a little too hard on the leg – his son had been playing too near the roadside – Shinan started crying
and proceeded to explain to his son why he had to hit him.

Said Shinan, with a laugh: “But when it comes to our children, I will always agree with her in the end.”

They have no plans for a third child now, but if they change their minds, they hope they’ll have a girl.

Said Ling Ling: “Oh, I love girls.”

Added Shinan: “If possible, I would really like to have a daughter.”

This article was first published in The New Paper on Dec 24, 2008.

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