updated 21 Jul 2013, 06:47
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Don't judge me based on a number: Kym Ng
by Mervin Tay

Is Kym Ng 45 years old?

That's what a report in the Today newspaper said late last month.

No, said the MediaCorp actress-host, who has declined to reveal her age throughout her 20-year showbiz career, but is believed to be in her 40s.

In an interview last week, when The New Paper showed her the article in question, she said in Mandarin: "They got my age wrong! It's a long way off and older by too much!"

Ng said she read the feature on famous local and foreign female personalities, but declined to say how many years it was off by. She was also not willing to correct the "mistake".

And she has a reason for this.

"I feel that if people know my age, they will judge my ability based on that, which is very unfair," she said.

"People may then think I'm too old to host certain shows or play certain roles, so it'll be much better if we don't judge one another based on our ages."

Still, Ng is not afraid of ageing.

"I'm not worried that people think I look old for the age they think I am, or say 'Oh, you're actually so young but look so old'," she laughed.

"I just hope people don't judge me based on a number."

Besides her age, Ng also zealously guards her personal life, particularly her marriage.

She registered her marriage overseas in 2009 to a man the media only knows as Mr Yang, whom she has been with for nearly two decades.

But till now, the public has no idea what he looks like.

Ng's demarcation of her professional and private life brings to mind Hong Kong singer-actor Andy Lau, who is adamant about keeping his wife Carol Chu and 11-month-old daughter away from the public eye.

When asked if she saw any parallels between herself and Lau, Ng said: "We're all free to make our own choices.

"Some celebrities choose to reveal their families, children or even homes. As long as they're comfortable with it, it's fine."

And Ng is thankful that she's able to keep certain aspects of her life private.

"I'm very grateful people are not forcing me to reveal or acknowledge anything, and I thank them for respecting my choices."

That was also why Ng shed her reservations about social media.

"I used to think people would harass me on social media or be able to contact me directly," she said.

Active on Instagram

Ng started a Weibo account about two years ago to follow the posts of Chinese athletes and found that she could customise the level of privacy.

She later set up Facebook and Instagram accounts.

"I'm most active on Instagram because people who follow my account respond very quickly, which I find very interesting and engaging," she said.

But do not expect her to share anything intimate.

"It's all within my control," she laughed.

"I choose to put out what I want. If I don't want to post anything or respond to something, I simply won't."

Ng's desire for privacy evidently has no impact on her professional career, as she is a triple nominee for this year's Star Awards , which will be held over the next two Sundays.

She has been nominated for Best Actress for playing a naggy mother in It Takes Two (2012), Best Variety Show Host for Jobs Around The World (2012) and is gunning for her sixth Top-10 Most Popular Female Artiste award.

Being nominated for Best Actress was like "winning the lottery", she said.

"I don't act very often, so I'm really glad to be nominated."

This is her first Best Actress nomination. She has won Best Variety Show Host three times, most recently in 2011 for Love On A Plate. Her last drama was 2009's Table of Glory.

Ng does not think about winning

"At least I got nominated, so on the night (of the awards), people will get to hear my name, and I get to smile and wave," she laughed. She was not being blasé about that awards, but felt it is the only attitude to adopt.

"As an artiste, I always try my best to do my job well," she said.

"If I get an award for it, that'll be great. If not, then I have to work even harder."

And she unabashedly admits she works hard to keep a job she enjoys doing, and a salary she relishes having.

"I just want to work hard, keep my job and get my pay. Then I can go out and have fun after work, go shopping, eating and do whatever I want."

It is this same attitude, she says, which has seen her through her career.

"I've never thought I could've lasted so long in this industry, or what will happen in the future," she said.

"I prefer to live in the now and not think so much."

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