The Straits Times
Friday, May 9, 2014
Local actor Christopher Lee has been talking a lot to his unborn baby about all kinds of things and at every opportunity.
Before attending the recent Star Awards held here with his actress wife Fann Wong, he told his child: "It's going to be noisy inside, don't be scared. Just cover your ears."
Practising his swing at a Taipei golf range in between filming a drama earlier this year, he made a video call to Fann in Singapore.
"I was hoping my baby would be able to see me playing golf," says Lee, 42, who also reads children's tales such as Grandma Moon and The Rabbit And The Porcupine to the child.
As long as it's not too late when I reach home, I will make it a point to talk to the baby or just put my hand on Fann's tummy and stroke it. I believe my baby can hear me," says the Malaysian-born actor in Mandarin.
It is not hard to understand why the seasoned actor is glowing with joy.
It is clear the topic of his latest movie - Filial Piety - strikes a chord in him. Throughout this interview with Life!, he emphasises the importance of family. In real life, he will be inculcating the value of filial piety to his child by example.
"Now that I'm going to be a father, my wife and I have agreed that we should go back to Malacca often to see my mother," says Lee, whose 70-year-old mother lives in Malacca. His father died in 2009 of heart problems before he got married.
He has tried to convince his mother to move to Singapore to live with him, Fann and her parents in their Orchard Road condominium, but to no avail. While many couples prefer to live on their own, Lee says having the extended family live with him and Fann is "livelier".
"We like having people around and we still have our privacy once we close the door to our room," says Lee, who has an older sister and two younger brothers.
He is now filming MediaCorp Channel 8 drama Against The Tide. Once he is done with that next month, he is taking leave till September to care for his baby, who is due to be born in August.
It looks like Singapore's golden couple will have no qualms rolling up their sleeves to get dirty with diaper-changing and may end up fighting each other for the privilege.
Lee says with a laugh: "I've told Fann to go ahead to film dramas and movies, so I can have my time with the baby. And she has said the same to me.
"I want to change the diapers and bathe my baby. This is a part of my life that I don't want to miss. We've hired a nanny and I'll be learning from her how to take care of the baby."
The ideal work-life balance he has in mind for himself is to take on local productions so he can be by his child's side during the initial growing years. But the jet-setting daddy will not be giving up on his overseas ambitions.
He intends to take his tot to the filming set for visits.
"If I'm filming, Fann will take the kid to the set. And vice versa. We want our child to know what we do for a living. If our child expresses interest in joining show business, I will give my child the freedom to decide," said Lee, who is contemplating offers to star in local and China productions from October after his self-declared paternity leave.
While he acknowledges that it will be ideal to have two children so the kids have company, he will let nature take its course.
Between him and Fann, 43, he claims he will be the strict parent, although no one close to him, including his wife, believes him.
"Everyone says I will be the one to spoil the child. I guess we will have to wait and see after the baby is born."
Besides, how could anyone be convinced of his self-professed disciplinarian tendencies when he also claims to believe in fostering an open, communicative relationship with his child in future, a different dynamic from the traditional hierarchical relationship shared with his dad?
"My father and I loved each other, but we never sat down to talk much. I want my child to be my friend. If he or she has a love story to tell, I want my child to feel comfortable enough to share it with me."
The couple will soon find out the gender of their child. But whether they have a son or a daughter, there are more important traits Lee hopes he and his wife will pass on to their offspring than their good looks.
"I hope the kid takes after Fann's caring side. What attracted me to her was her good relationship with her family and how she showers them with care."
Another trait his child would be blessed to inherit would be his lack of vanity.
Read the full story on Straits Times Life!