From:The New Paperposted on 15 May at 12:34 PM
15 May at 12:34 PM

In real life, I’m a tigress: Taiwanese actress Kelly Liao

By Tan Kee Yun

IF YOU are an ardent viewer of the long-running Taiwanese soap opera Night Market Life and have been following its endless melodramatic story arcs with glee, the names Ruyi and Chunchun would instantly ring a bell.

Both are leading characters in the 820-episode drama, which is showing every Saturday and Sunday on Channel 8 at 7pm.

Ruyi, played by actress Kelly Liao, is a kind-hearted, mild-mannered girl who always seems to draw the short end of the stick. She gets impregnated by her beau then ends up being mercilessly ditched and verbally taunted.

At the other end of the morality spectrum is Chunchun, played by actress Wang Tong, a rich and spiteful girl and an insecure wife who constantly plots to harm her husband’s old flame.

In separate phone interviews with Liao and Tong last Thursday, The New Paper found out that the two Taiwanese TV stars could not be more different from their onscreen personas.

“It’s funny because I’m a ‘tigress’ in real life,” said Liao, 36, with a chuckle.

Added the mother of two: “I’m certainly not so nice and obedient like Ruyi. Back in my school days, I was known for having a fierce, don’t-mess-with-me personality.

“I’m the sort who would chase my naughty male classmates all the way into the boys’ toilet just to give them a scolding – that is, if they’ve bullied any of the girls in class.”

Liao, whose son is 18 months old and her daughter barely two months old, foresees herself becoming the “disciplinarian” in her household once her children are older.

She will join Wang and other cast members of the popular soap at an ensemble concert at Resorts World Sentosa next month.

It is the second Night Market Life concert in Singapore, following last November’s ticketed showcase, which Liao was part of.

“Finally, I can wear my high heels on stage,” she exclaimed. “The last time I was here, I was so heavily pregnant I had to wear flats.”

The concert will be Wang’s first work trip to Singapore.

The doe-eyed star, 26, said she has none of her character’s jealousy or bitterness, nor her scheming nature.

On the contrary, Wang is “happily enjoying” her hot new romance with Taiwan-based Malaysian singer-actor Eison Cai.

The duo went public with their relationship last April – an anomaly in the hush-hush world of Taiwanese showbiz – and have even formed a seven-man rock band, North 7, with their celebrity peers.

“Eison is the singer, I’m the keyboardist and our manager is the guitarist,” said Wang in a spirited tone.

“We’re quite serious about this endeavour and we’ve been writing originals.”

Wang would be the first to admit that Cai, 30, best known for his goofy, comical supporting roles in Taiwanese dramas Rookies’ Diary, and Father and Son, is no swoonsome hunk.

“He’s very talented, though, and I like his innocent views on life,” she gushed.

“Even though he’s always hamming it up for the cameras, he can be very serious when he’s working.”

Chunchun is the only villainous role Wang has had so far, something she wishes would change.

“Playing evil is challenging and refreshing, I don’t know why I’m not offered more of such (roles),” she said. “Instead, producers love casting me as girl-next-door types.”

She said that when Night Market Life was airing in Taiwan, fans of the drama would come up to her on the streets to give her – or rather, her character – a dressing-down.

“They’d say stuff like, ‘Oh, Chunchun is so irritating and unscrupulous, I can’t stand her any more and I’ve decided to change TV channel.’

“Then, ironically, they’d go on and on about Night Market Life’s storyline, which just shows that they are still following our drama enthusiastically.”


WHAT: Night Market 2013 Concert
WHEN: Saturday, June 15, 3pm
WHERE: Festive Grand Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa
TICKETS: $28, $48, $68, $88, $108 and $128 from Sistic (6348-5555 or

This article was first published in The New Paper on May 13

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