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Class Act

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon • 5 min read
Class Act
Actor Chen Han Wei has not let fame go to his head. He continues to hone his skills and looks forward to mentoring the next generation of artistes.
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Actor Chen Han Wei has not let fame go to his head. He continues to hone his skills and looks forward to mentoring the next generation of artistes.

Way before talent reality shows such as American Idol or The X Factor, Singapore had Star Search, a biannual talent search. In 1988, Chen Han Wei kick-started his career in the entertainment industry when he became a finalist in the first Star Search competition.

Seven years later, he won his very first Best Actor award for his portrayal of a caring teacher in The Morning Express. The serial was so popular that it spawned a sequel in the same year. Chen’s versatility includes singing — he performed the theme song for the telemovie Cupid Love and recorded several more songs for The Morning Express album series.

The awards and accolades have not stopped. On April 16, Chen picked up another win at the Star Awards, an annual Singapore award show that recognises and celebrates the best and brightest of local Mandarin television programmes. Chen received his fifth Best Actor honour for his role as a confinement nanny in the family drama The Gentlemen.

Before collecting this fifth award, Chen had taken on many lead roles in numerous television drama serials and telemovies. In 2013, he made his silver screen debut in the horror flick Ghost Child. In 2014, he was the recipient of the All-Time Favourite Artiste award at Star Awards 20 after clinching his 10th popularity award. In 2015, Chen’s villainous character Hu Weiren from The Journey: Tumultuous Times won him yet a Best Supporting Actor award at the Star Awards that year.

This multi-talented actor, who grew up poor in Kampung Ungku Mohsin, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, continues to make his mark on the local television industry and has garnered wide public appreciation and approval.

Omega saw the amazing qualities in Chen and selected him as a friend of the brand. At the fashion shoot for Options, Chen was very much involved in the process, striking poses that brought out the best of the various Omega watches he wore. It was an absolute delight working with someone so professional and he even ended the session with a thank you wefie of everyone involved in the shoot.

He shares with Options his thoughts on his life, career and partnership with Omega.

I am sure you get a lot of invitations to collaborate with brands. How did the Omega collaboration begin?
I’ve always loved Omega’s designs. Yvonne Lim, who is Omega’s female friend of the brand, knew about the passion I have for the brand and introduced me to the Omega team. I was extremely thrilled when I finally had the opportunity to work with the manufacturer.

What is it about Omega that resonates with you?
Omega’s commitment to innovation, quality and value in its watches is similar to what I seek in life.

What does it mean for you to be a friend of the brand?
Omega chooses the world’s finest talents to be its brand ambassadors, so I’m honoured to be part of the big family. I will continue to play my role well so as to be a good spokesperson for this prestigious brand. A big thank you to Team Omega for the support over these years.

As a veteran in the entertainment industry, what advice would you give those who are just starting out?
Always be yourself, be respectful and keep in mind that your success isn’t the result of a single person’s effort but rather teamwork. What do awards and accolades mean to you? It is a recognition given to me by the professionals in the field and I’m very thankful. I see the awards and accolades as a morale booster for me to keep going and bring the best to all who appreciate my acting.

Which do you prefer: movies, TV or hosting?
I started out on TV before proceeding to doing movies and hosting. Each has its pros and cons; it’s tough to choose since I love all of them.

If there is one thing you haven’t tried, what would it be?
I would love to be an adviser or mentor to the new generation of artistes. If they have any issue with filming or difficulty portraying a character, I would like to help them understand and grasp their character. Or even when they are down due to their work/personal issues, I can share with them my experiences and teach them to be more positive.

When you are not in the limelight, what is your favourite way to chill out?
It’s definitely being with my family or friends.

What is your sense of style?
I’ve never been tied down by fashion and trends. To me, it’s all about being myself and wearing what I’m most comfortable in for different occasions. For example, if I’m to attend a press conference, I will wear a simple shirt with some small details and jeans. If I’m attending an award presentation, it will be a tuxedo.

You grew up poor and pulled through the tough times. What would you say to your teenage self today?
School teaches you lessons and then gives you a test. Life gives you a test and you learn the lessons.

What’s coming up for you for the rest of the year?
I’ll be doing 118 Chinese New Year drama series right after I finish the sitcom version in June. My next on-air drama will be The Lead, which will be broadcast mid-June. In this drama, I play a stuntman from Hong Kong who speaks Mandarin with a Cantonese accent.

This article appeared in Issue 776 (April 24) of The Edge Singapore.

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