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26 June 2006 | 02:00 pm

26 June 2006

Most people know Ken Lim as the stern and sometimes brutally honest Singapore Idol judge. But – surprise, surprise – there is a soft side to him, according to his friends and wife

The Monday Interview

Professional man

He started composing and producing soundtracks for Channel 8 drama serials like Return Of The Condor Heroes, and recording albums with local artistes such as Fann Wong and Ann Kok.
He had banked on people’s familiarity with them to “save on promotional budget”. The albums did very well, he recalls drily, selling in the region of 20,000 each.
Hype has since branched out, with artiste management arm Artiste Network minding artistes like Phyllis Quek, Jeanette Aw and Rui En.
Other ventures include concert promotion – it organised concerts by Taiwanese stars Jay Chou and Mayday – and production.
He also took the unconventional path of marketing his artistes – such as Fann when she was still signed to Hype and, more recently, Rui En – overseas on his own.

Source: The Straits Times

Categorised in The Straits Times.

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18 June 2006 | 02:14 pm

18 June 2006

Cool Speak on Sunday
She couldn’t string a proper sentence together in Mandarin but singer-actress-host Rui En, 25, has come a long way. She tells JEAN LOO how she worked hard at the language.

You were from Raffles Junior College and Singapore Chinese Girls’ School. How was your standard of Chinese in school?

I had many weekly Chinese tuition sessions from primary to secondary school, but my Chinese wasn’t good at all. Other than the assessment books and homework, the thing I remember most clearly was that I hated mo xie (dictation). I hated writing chunks of Chinese characters. Of course, my grades weren’t very good. I think it’s partly because my parents introduced me to English books when I was quite young, so I spoke English more and found Mandarin harder to pick up.

But you’ve acted in a number of Chinese drama serials like A Better Tomorrow and My Sassy In-Laws and even released a self-titled debut Mandarin album. How did you manage to accomplish all that?
Yes, that’s the irony of it all — memorising scripts is like studying mo xie. Both singing and acting were very difficult because they were in Mandarin and I had to struggle a lot. When I did the first few dramas, I didn’t have a clue what I was saying. I was focusing more on showing the right expressions. It was really very stressful because I knew my Chinese was bad. But it’s a lot easier now because I do a lot of research on the characters I play and make it a point to write out a whole history about the character. I think it’s important to understand why a character behaves in a certain way. Now, when I start filming, I can connect better with the character I’m playing. Then the dialogue comes more naturally and it’s not so much about memorising any more.

So why did you enter the Chinese market even though Mandarin isn’t your strongest suit?
Because I’m Chinese. Even though I started on the wrong foot and didn’t really concentrate on my Chinese in school, I think I’ve more than made up for it by now. When I started out in showbiz four years ago, my Mandarin was horrendous. It was so bad, I could not even put a simple sentence together, much less express myself. During my stint in Taiwan, where I starred in a couple of Taiwanese singer Jay Chou’s music videos, I was absolutely petrified. Their Mandarin was so advanced and there were many embarrassing incidents when I didn’t realise the mistakes I was making. For example, only child means du sheng nu, but to me it was dan sheng nu, which actually means single and available.

So how did you improve your command of the language?
From the start, I knew I had to improve my Mandarin. Of course, it took a lot of time, but I tried to speed it up as much as I could. I started watching a lot of Chinese variety shows and dramas with subtitles — which is one tip I have for readers who want to improve their Chinese. It really helped a lot. You read the subtitles on the screen and listen to the dialogue at the same time, putting the dialogue in context. This is more effective than if you were to read a Chinese book.
When I think back about how bad my Chinese was, I’m proud of how fluent I am now. It seemed an impossible task at first because I didn’t know how I was going to catch up. But I finally did through sheer hard work.

Source: The Straits Times

Categorised in The Straits Times.

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15 June 2006 | 09:05 pm

15th June 2006

封面外一章

Source: I Weekly

Categorised in I-Weekly.

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