Friday, March 20, 2009

Edmund Chen Is My Forrest Gump!

I wrapped up the interview by asking him, "So what's next for you?" 

He breaks into a boyish smile, runs his hand through his hair, and admits with a chuckle, "I don't know! Lunch?" 

And that's what I love about actor Edmund Chen. He isn't sure what's next, just like he didn't know - as a boy growing up in the '60s - what he wanted to be when he grew up. 

"All I cared about was playing marbles and catching spiders!" he laughs. "We bought a black-and-white television set later, but hardly watched it because there weren't many programmes then. So I never thought I'd end up as an actor!"  

The Peter Pan of Television: Edmund Chen doesn't look a day past 40!

Fast forward a couple of decades and he has under his belt 70 television serials, 11 movies and most recently, a juicy role in 20th Century Fox's movie Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li opposite Kristin Kreuk of Smallville fame (Superman's pretty Pan-Asian girlfriend). 

What's more, Edmund's an accomplished singer who has released 4 albums, a director/producer, and an award-winning designer who has bagged numerous Asian and international awards. All these, he claims, were not pre-planned but opportunities that presented themselves at the right time, and which he seized. 

Now doesn't he remind you of Forrest Gump? *grin*

What struck me most about Edmund is his easy-going, kampong-boy vibes. He recounts his childhood fondly, and makes it a point to take his kids outdoors whenever he can, to have them experience "the simple life". And also, it's hard to miss the importance he places on passion .  

It helps that he has his eggs in different baskets. "When I feels my passion waning for something, I'll drop it for a while and focus on other areas," he reveals. "Then I'll return to it when I feel I can do it meaningfully again."  

That may be a luxury for most of us, but a philosophy of life for Edmund. My hour with him left me unexpectedly inspired and recharged. I was refreshed by his simplicity and clarity, his easy-going nature, and how grounded and humble he is despite his achievements. I only hope he enjoyed our chat as much as I did! *grin*

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