By Crystal Chan, Mabel Lee and Christopher Ong
From superstars to science superheros, our alumni take the global stage.
Think about this the next time you walk through NTU. Big names in entertainment have navigated the same hallowed corridors on their way to classes. We’re talking about celebrities such as Mandopop queen Stefanie Sun, Asian Television Awards Best Actress Rui En and MediaCorp Best Info-ed Programme Host Lee Teng, all proud graduates of the Nanyang Business School.
NTU alumni scored at this year’s Star Awards. Business graduate Rui En got the Best Actress nod for her role in the Channel 8 police drama Unriddle 2. She also bagged a Top 10 Most Popular Artistes trophy, alongside two other NTU alumni – actress Joanne Peh and television host Lee Teng.
By Christopher Ong
NTU alumna Rui En (left) and Xiang Yun
Adding a touch of stardust to our garden campus in December were artistes Rui En, Xiang Yun, Elvin Ng and Tay Ping Hui, who were here to film the latest MediaCorp blockbuster Unriddle 2.
Nanyang Business School graduate Rui En found time to browse a copy of HEY!. “This is actually quite a step forward and I think it looks really, really cool,” she said of the magazine.
Click here for more photos!
#Unriddle 2 最火搭档 II debuts 5 March 2012 9pm on Channel 8.
Singer-actress Rui En looks back at her days as an undergraduate at the Nanyang Business School
By Christopher Ong
Rui En was at the iconic School of Art, Design & Media building to shoot the MediaCorp series, The In-Laws. She took time out of her hectic filming schedule to grant Hey! this interview.
She shot to fame as the iconic “running girl” in a SingTel hi!Card advertisement, and real life almost mirrored reel life for actress Rui En given that she came close to running away from school during her time as an undergraduate.
Indeed, if not for the help she received from some “angels” in her life, the Nanyang Business School Class of 2004 alumnus may perhaps not have graduated from NTU with a Bachelor of Business degree.
Back then, on the cusp of making the breakthrough she needed in the hugely-competitive media industry, she found it hard to juggle her work and studies. To top it off, she had to make regular trips to Taiwan to produce her debut music album, Rui Σn vol. 01.
All this led to her wanting to throw in the towel, studies-wise. Says the 30-year-old: “I’ll be really honest, there were times when I wanted to give up but I was persuaded not to by some angels in my life. I am so glad I persisted.”
“I guess it was the fact that I had already started. After a while, I figured I had to finish it no matter how tough it was.”
Perhaps this line sums up Rui En’s character as a fighter. In an interview she gave in 2008, she had talked about her tumultuous growing-up years: her parents divorced when she was 17, and she also smoked and drank from a young age to look “cool” and fit in. Asked why she agreed to such a soul-baring interview, she had said:”I am hoping that kids who read this might realise that no matter how bad your family situation is, you have a choice not to be a victim.”
Back to the subject of school, she says that her last year in NTU was especially difficult because “I had to be in Taiwan a lot.”
Little wonder then that Rui En feels she owes a debt of gratitude to her final-year project group, whom she says helped her greatly. “If I were in their position then, I would have been quite mad. But they were so accommodating and understanding.”
“I really want to thank them for their help, and still feel very grateful towards them today.”
The one with the baseball cap
Rui En kept a low profile in university. One former lecturer, Assoc Prof Joan C Henderson, remembers her as being quiet in class, and also describes the star as “nearly always sporting a baseball cap”.
During the interview, she comes across as engaging and sincere. Maybe this is why the actress has over the years been consistently voted one of the Top 10 Favourite Female Artistes at the local Star Awards. At this year’s Awards, she went one better by clinching her first Best Actress award for her role in the Channel 8 drama With You.
Her achievements also saw her recognised by the university in 2007 when she became a recipient of the Nanyang Outstanding Young Alumni Award, something she feels both “surprised and grateful” about.
Still, Rui En says that just being able to do something she loves on a daily basis is “enough of a prize”.
So, what advice would she give NTU freshmen who want to pursue their passions, be it sports, community service or acting, while studying? She says:”I get a lot of comments like, ‘Oh, you are still in this line?'”
“But I would say that you shouldn’t bother about what people think. Have the courage to pursue your dreams and to go through the difficult times.”