Wu Chun, the Bruneian actor and former member of popular Taiwanese Mandopop boy band Fahrenheit, paid tribute to our sunny isle in his new autobiography Ignite Courage as this was the place that jump-started his superstar career.
Ignite Courage, which can be bought online for NT$380 (S$16), will be released on Wednesday (Oct 02) and all proceeds will go to charities of Wu’s choice, reported The New Paper.
His fans, who have waited three years for it since he first announced he was writing it, have been running amok online expressing immense excitement at seeing the intimate side of the rather private celebrity.
In the 256-page tome, Wu said he would reveal things about himself that would surprise people and would share personal pictures like those of his bedroom and two new tattoos.
So just how much does the 33-year-old love Singapore?
He cites 77th Street in Far East Plaza as his favourite shop when he’s here.
For those of you who weren’t born in the 70s or 80s, it was the place then to buy cool clothes and accessories.
Listing popiah, bak kut teh (pork rib soup) and Mandarin Hotel’s chicken rice as his favourite food, Wu also revealed his love for stuffing his face during supper at Newton hawker centre.
Chinese desserts are also a must-have for him in Chinatown.
Taking public transport everywhere was second nature to him and he was familiar with our MRT routes.
He also makes it a point to do charity work here when he can.
During Chinese New Year this year, he visited Lions Home For The Elders in Toa Payoh.
But why does he have a bond to Singapore?
In his early 20s, Wu borrowed money from his dad to open Fitness Zone, now the most successful gym in Brunei, with branches in Kiulap and Serusop, in Brunei.
He also owns Terra Wellness Fitness Zone in Shanghai, China.
To pay his father back then, he decided to do something that terrified himself – become a celebrity.
This decision was also made after his mum died of cancer in 2002 and he wanted to take on a vocation that truly challenged him.
Wu chose to come to Singapore in 2005 to model as he had visited often and loved the place.
He also had a friend who put him in touch with local modelling agency, Diva Models.
He rented a room for $600 a month in a condominium at Bukit Timah and also stayed with his relatives in Bishan for some time.
After signing on to the model agency, his most memorable jobs were his first photoshoot with long hair and his first print advertisement for Koka instant noodles.
While being sent on a modelling assignment in Taiwan, Wu was discovered by a producer who saw potential in his genteel features after he caught sight of him at the cinema.
Wu told The New Paper over the phone from Hengdian, China, where he was gracing an event for Mido watches, for which he’s a spokesman: “Singapore was the start of my career (that led me to stardom).
“There’s also a feeling of intimacy when I come here as I am very familiar with the place.”
After Taiwan came knocking, he moved there and starred in the highly successful Taiwanese idol dramas Hanazakarino Kimitachihe (2006) and Romantic Princess (2007) and also joined Fahrenheit.
He left the band in 2011 to pursue his movie career and to spend more time with his family in Brunei, and he has movies such as The Butterfly Lovers (2008), 14 Blades (2010) and Saving General Yang (2013) under his belt.
He is gunning for further box-office success with his latest period film, the Zhang Yimou-directed Yang Gui Fei which he is now filming alongside Hong Kong veteran Leon Lai and Chinese actress Fan Bing Bing in Inner Mongolia.
Since he loves Singapore so much, what does he think of Singaporean women? Is the heart-throb open to dating them?
Wu, who usually avoids private questions, said: “I can only share myself with one girl. That one girl can be Singaporean, Indian, Australian et cetera.
“I don’t limit myself to anything when it comes to looking for the right girl for my life.”
He added: “The Singaporean women that I know are only those I’ve met through work. They are very capable, well-educated and very efficient in their work.”
Wu, who is well-known among his female fans for having ever had only one girlfriend who is Bruneian, when he was 16, said he yearns to be a good family man.
When he meets the right woman, he will take the plunge.
He would like to have two children or more as he loves the idea of a rowdy household.
“I like girls who are responsible and who are direct and honest,” he said.
“Looks aren’t that important to me. As long as she’s pleasing to my eyes, that’s good enough. I prize a girl’s character above all else.”
When asked if he was the romantic sort, he replied with a laugh: “I don’t know. Sometimes, but I’m definitely not an all-year-round romantic guy.”
The last time Wu was here was in March, when he came to promote Saving General Yang.
But a trip to Singapore for a well-deserved holiday after completing a project is always in the works for him and his family, which includes his father, older sister, brother and their own families.
Said Wu: “I love Singapore, it’s a must-visit country every year.
“But I am like a tourist, forever hanging out at Orchard Road!”