Persevering in passion
Article from the Sun daily by Peony Chin (posted on 10 January 2017)
AS a self-professed nerd, Emily Kong never thought she would make a living in the entertainment industry. Not until the producer of Meteor Garden fame Jovi Theng picked her out from a church choir group and told her that she could sing.
Kong came from a family who stressed on academic excellence, and she was indeed a star student who finished her ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) studies faster than her peers. However, after fervently praying, she decided to join the entertainment industry at the age of 20.
Other than singing, she was the lead actress in Love Endures, a Chinese movie produced by Theng. She has since joined a new entertainment agency and will be starring opposite JC Chee in upcoming movie Lamentations of the Wind.
You said that you were dubious when Jovi Theng told you that you could sing. Why was that?
It was funny because we weren’t actually singing; we were just dancing and clapping with one microphone. When he told me that I could sing pretty well, I laughed because I wondered if he even heard me. I like singing, but deep down I don’t think I can sing. I was not confident, and I had stage fright as well. But I figured that I needed a breakthrough, so I gave it a try.
Did your family support your decision to join the entertainment industry?
My parents discouraged me, but I already made my decision and so, went with the flow. They were also unhappy that I did not make something out of my ACCA qualifications, instead jumping into an industry without relevant experience and from which I wouldn’t generate as much income.
This is why – even though I want to stay in the industry – reality kicks in sometimes and I wonder if I should give up and do something else. In the past few years, I’ve done a lot of side jobs such as modelling for online boutiques, selling clothes at the morning market, promoting for Chinese medicine halls, etc. I have done so many things just to survive in the entertainment industry.
Why do you choose to stay in the industry despite the many hardships?
There’s a Chinese saying that goes, “reality would consume your dreams”, which happened to a lot of my friends. They were actors but because they couldn’t survive in the environment, they looked for office jobs and told themselves that it’s okay because it’s only temporary. But they ended up staying there and giving up on their dreams. I don’t want that to happen to me; I want to hold on to what I believe in.
Which do you prefer: singing or acting?
To be honest, I enjoy singing but I love acting. I feel more comfortable acting. I remember locking myself in my room as a kid, and reenacting scenes of a particular actor in a movie. I felt a sense of satisfaction doing that; it’s weird but that was how I entertained myself.
Tell us more about Lamentations of the Wind.
The movie will be shot at Kenting in Taiwan, and Malaysia beginning March. It’s about an intelligent and tech-savvy six-year-old girl who’s searching for her biological father, a young and flirtatious man – played by JC Chee – who doesn’t know of her existence. I will play the role of her mother.
We’re still working on the script but that’s the gist of the movie, which is about discouraging people from undergoing abortions. I will also be singing and producing the movie’s soundtrack.
Movie that inspires her most: Titanic (1997).
Favourite actor: Tom Hanks.
Hidden talent: Drawing.
Pre-acting ritual: Listening to music.
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