Elvin Ng is TV's new 'Ah Beng' -- but he's not fluent in Hokkien

2 September 2016 / 1 month 3 weeks ago

Tracy Low
The New Paper
Sep 2, 2016

Despite not being fluent in Hokkien, local TV actor Elvin Ng was keen to be a part of Eat Already? as he wanted to try something new.

The 35-year-old, who has mostly acted in Mandarin shows in his 11 year-long career, shared that his command of the dialect has improved since filming ended.

He told The New Paper in a separate interview: "I thought it would be an interesting experience to speak Hokkien and learn something from it as well.

"Initially, I felt a bit out of place (among the older actors) because everything was in Hokkien. But once momentum was gained, it was okay and very fun."


Script-reading and Hokkien "training sessions" with director Royston Tan helped prepare Ng for his role of Ah Bee, the eldest son of Li Yinzhu's character.

His character turns into a gambling addict after his father dies and he is unintentionally neglected by his mother.

Read also: Why local filmmaker Royston Tan had to direct his latest drama in secret

Ng said: "Every day, Royston would ask me questions such as 'Have you eaten? What are you doing? Where do you stay? How is your house like?', and I would have to reply him in Hokkien."

The biggest challenge for Ng was having to speak Hokkien smoothly as his character is an "Ah Beng".

Even though Eat Already? is targeted at senior citizens, Ng feels that it is a "nice way" for him to attract a different target audience.

"Uncles and aunties do approach me on the streets.

"Once, a girl, her mother and her grandmother attended my fan gathering," he said.

He joked: "I do appeal to the aunties because based on the TV roles I did, they think of me as a good boy type who is the ideal son-in-law for their daughters."

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