updated 20 Apr 2012, 01:13
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Wed, Nov 30, 2011
The New Paper
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Foreign showbiz no breeze for Chris
by Kwok Kar Peng

She is going places.

Already a familiar face after appearing in popular Channel 8 dramas The Family Court and C.L.I.F., 28-year-old Chris Tong will now star in a new MediaCorp series, Code Of Honour.

The Malaysian plays Long Wan Yi, a kind-hearted factory worker. Other cast members of the wushu-based period drama include Elvin Ng, Zheng Geping and Rui En.

It will be shown on Channel 8 from Dec 5 at 7pm.

Three of her movies - Petaling Street Warriors, The Wedding Diary and The Golden Couple - will also be released in the next four months.

She will then take on the lead role in a China-Hong Kong movie collaboration next year, the details of which she declined to reveal.

But Tong is aware that the overseas showbiz industry is no walk in the park.

She found herself wading in shark-infested waters, she said.

In an interview with The New Paper last Thursday, Tong revealed some unpleasant experiences she had abroad.

"I met a Taiwanese music producer four years ago in Malaysia and he looked like a gentleman on the surface.

"But throughout our conversation, he told me many times, albeit in a joking manner, that if we were in Taiwan, I would have been in his bedroom already."

She said she kept silent, but wasn't scared as she was in her own country.

But there was another time when she didn't enjoy the homeground advantage.

Tong was in Beijing, China, five years ago as acontestant in the quarter-final round of the Miss Chinese Cosmo International 2006.

She claimed that one of the contestants, who was her roommate, took her evening gown.

"She was very interested in my gown and asked me many things about it. On the day of a photo shoot, I couldn't find my gown. Then I saw her wearing it and having her photos taken in it.

"I didn't want to complain because I was a guest in another country, and the locals already looked down on me for my weaker (command of Mandarin), so I wore one of my spare evening gowns instead."

No apology

Although the other girl had the opportunities to apologise to Tong subsequently, she never did.

But during a dinner where there were many other people present, the girl suddenly broke down in tears and asked for forgiveness, saying it was an accidental mistake. Tong believes this was a show she put up to gain everyone's attention.

"I thought she was very fake," Tong stressed.

"During the competition, there were other contestants who were very friendly with their roommates, but when they found out they didn't advance further to the semi-finals, they screamed about how they couldn't stand each other. It was very scary."

After filming two variety programmes in HongKong three years ago, Tong also realised that artistes there have to fight for attention in order not to fade into the background.

"I think artists in Singapore and Malaysia are more innocent because we get assignments on our own merits," said Tong.

"The showbiz industries in Hong Kong and China are more complicated and have unwritten rules.

"Competition is strong there. The people are more cunning and will stab someone in the back to climb up the ladder," she said.

Because of these episodes, Tong now has a main talent management agency, Dream Stardom Entertainment, in Malaysia, and three agents based in Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

She feels it's necessary as the agents know their own territory and the showbiz rules in each place, and will be able to guide her better.

Earlier this month, the actress held a press conference in Kuala Lumpur to announce her contract with Dream Stardom Entertainment.

About 10 media outlets from China were invited and she recalled how their questions were not "friendly".

"They asked me about Chinese culture and what I knew about particular Chinese cities. I think they were testing me," Tong said.

"They didn't have any respect for me before the interview, but I think I faced up to their challenges and they respect me more now."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

readers' comments
oh, she is very good in the "family court" show. her chinese is polished compared to the usual malaysian actresses, one of the rare actresses that make me sit up and watch.
Posted by happybutterbear on Thu, 1 Dec 2011 at 21:18 PM
Is her acting good?
Posted by mystrawberry on Thu, 1 Dec 2011 at 20:07 PM
Chey..another unheard of person trying to gain cheap publicity...might as well hold a press conference and then say out all those who have offended you, scared you, blemished you, etc
Posted by gundamwingX on Thu, 1 Dec 2011 at 12:05 PM

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