On this national day, we asked 12 local TV, film and theater actors and directors about their favorite local shows and movies from their childhood and the moment, and the industry professionals who inspire them the most. .
Najip Ali, 55, actor, producer and musician
“In the late 70s to early 80s there was a Malaysian variety show called Pesta Pop (Pop Festival) featuring local singers like a young Rahimah Rahim, Anita Sarawak, Kartina Dahari, Ismail Harun and many others. These artists were all very different and their uniqueness as artists has inspired me to this day.
“My most iconic local director is the talented, versatile and sensitive K. Rajagopal (Yellow Bird). His ability to keep it real and put something of himself into all of his movies and TV shows inspires me.
You can catch Najip as the Ibrahims patriarch in the long-running English drama Sunny Side Up, which airs on Channel 5 Monday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m. It is also available on the Mediacorp Drama YouTube channel and on demand for free on meWATCH.
Edwin Goh, 28, actor
“I watched Holland V and also Police & Thief in primary school. I think they really captured the essence of Singaporeans living in the heart of the country and everyone’s interactions. They were captured in a way which Singaporeans can truly identify with.
“There is also The Little Nyonya, a show that has captured Singapore in the past and lets audiences get a sense of what Singapore was like. There’s history and drama, and I think Singaporeans loved that too.
“There are so many influential actors I’ve had the good fortune to work with. My first role on Channel 8 was in the drama On The Fringe with Li Nanxing. Being able to learn and act alongside him was such a valuable experience. We played a pair of estranged father and son and I felt like I was dreaming. It was pretty surreal.
You can catch Edwin in the Chinese drama Home Again on meWATCH as well as the upcoming When Duty Calls 2, premiering August 15 at 9pm on Channel 8. It’s also available free on demand on meWATCH.
Siti Hajar Gani, 48, actor
“The most memorable local TV show for me is the Channel 8 drama On The Fringe. I was 14 in 1988 and the plot was about a group of teenagers. I developed a huge crush on one of the characters in the series.
“Thirty-one years later, I starred alongside my crush Duan Weiming in 128 Circle. I didn’t realize it until after production was over!
“I admire award-winning actress Mastura Ahmad, who is a very close friend of mine, for her versatility – how she is able to play serious and comedic characters very well. I hope to be able to hone my acting skills and be as versatile as she is.
You can catch Siti Hajar in 128 Circle on meWATCH and also in Sunny Side Up.
Haresh Sharma, 57, playwright
“My favorite local TV show of yesteryear would be hands down the 1970s series Talentime. I loved them so much. My friends and I would spend hours talking about each episode at school the next day – or on our landline!
“These days, I enjoy Channel News Asia (CNA) documentary programs that highlight important social issues and showcase a diversity of Singaporean experiences. I hope CNA will create more such shows, focusing on topics such as the death penalty, migrant worker issues and 377A.
Haresh is the 2015 Cultural Medallion recipient and resident playwright of The Necessary Stage. Catch Acting Mad at the Esplanade from August 25 to 28.
Sheryl Ang, 24, actress
“My favorite childhood show was the 2005 drama Portrait of Home, the one with Pierre Png and also Felicia Chin as Little Mermaid. It used to air at 7 p.m. on weekdays. stuck with me because I was rushing home to watch it after I finished school.
“I still remember the character of Adrian Pang saying ‘You can cut my head off but my hair can’t be messy’. I was drawn to the witty stories, the feeling of being at home and the way the characters were very distinctive.
“The most influential actor for me is Christopher Lee. He was my mentor when I participated in Star Search 2019 and he taught me a lot. He did not water down his comments. I prefer people to be frank with me so that I know what I have to work on.”
Watch Sheryl on Key Witness and look for her in the upcoming long-running Chinese medical drama Healing Heroes. It airs on Channel 8 on August 9 after the National Day Parade, then at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, and is also available on meWATCH.
Sharda Harrison, 35, actor and presenter
“Growing up really gave me a deep emotional connection and gave me a glimpse of Singapore in the 1960s to 1980s. We live in a different Singapore now, so this show was rich in a time in Singapore that I wanted to learn.
“My favorite local film is Kirsten Tan’s Pop Aye. I would say this film was a miraculous effort and sheer directing skill on Kirsten’s part, working with an elephant and the Thai actors…that elephant!”
Sharda plays Rose on Sunny Side Up and is the artistic director of the theater collective Pink Gajah.
Jean Yeo, 51, director
“Growing up in the late 70s and 80s, there wasn’t a whole bunch of local production. Local Chinese dramas started not so long ago in the late 70s, but I remember kids shows like Little DD when I was younger. I also remember watching episodes of Army Series, Flying Fish and The Awakening when I was a kid.
“Thus, actors like Huang Wenyong and Xiang Yun have become household names, and I’m still so respectful of Xiang Yun as a national treasure when I worked with her recently. I was very sad when Wenyong passed away. [in 2013].”
Jean Yeo is the creative director of Ocher Pictures. You can catch her Last Madame series on meWATCH and stay tuned for Mediacorp’s upcoming English drama Third Rail coming out later this year.
Eswari Gunasagar, 32, actor
“For me, the most memorable show from my childhood has always been Under One Roof. I remember watching it growing up and it tickled my funny bones!
“I’m biased, you might say, but my favorite local film now is Ah Airls Go Army. Personally, I think it’s a film that represents the true spirit of Singaporeans. We may complain at first, but once We’ve put our hearts into it, we’re just soaring high!”
You can catch Eswari in the sequel Ah Girls Go Army Again. Cathay Cineplexes is running a promotion from August 4 until the end of the film, where tickets are only $5.70 in celebration of Singapore’s 57th anniversary.
Vanessa Vanderstraaten, 34, actress
“I think many Singaporeans my age will agree with me that Growing Up was one of the most moving and well-crafted TV shows of its time. I was blown away to meet and work with Sue Tan in the first season of Lion Mums in 2015. I remember being speechless and thinking, “Oh my god, it’s Poh Choo!” honorable mentions are Under One Roof and a lesser known sitcom titled Can I Help You?
“A local actor I would most like to work with is Vernetta Lopez. She is still an icon from my childhood and one of the first Eurasian faces I remember seeing on TV, which was really important for me. And Tan Kheng Hua is a local actor whose career and longevity I would like to emulate!
You can see Vanessa in Lion Mums on meWATCH and upcoming drama Third Rail.
Farah Farook, 23, actress
“Although there were so many good shows growing up, my favorite would definitely have to be Phua Chu Kang! It was definitely the best show in Singapore, JB and some say Batam. PCK has stood the test of the time and set a precedent for what a sitcom should be in Singapore.
“I remember always looking forward to watching it and laughing with my family after dinner. It’s so iconic that you could probably mention elements of the show or characters to anyone and they’d know exactly what you were talking about. speak !
“Currently my favorite show is Crimewatch! Honestly, I’m just curious about what kind of crimes are being committed and the punishment for it, because I find myself taking safety in Singapore for granted. Crimewatch helps to highlight the current trends and how to be smarter on the street, because you know low crime doesn’t mean no crime.”
You can catch Farah on Ah Girls Go Army Again. Cathay Cineplexes is currently running a $5.70 ticket promotion!
Bridget Fernandez, 57, actress
“During [my childhood]only one in 58 people had a television, if I’m not mistaken, and my family was one of them, as my father worked for Singapore Radio and Television all his life as a musician.
“My friends and I were on a Malaysian talent show doing a Hawaiian dance; I was very involved in performing and watching entertainment shows. Talentime was my favorite because my sister and brother were on it. We had a big presence in the entertainment industry, so I was watching it because I knew people on it.
“A local director who does a lot of independent stuff that I have a lot of respect for and would work with again and again is Glenn Chan. He just caught my eye because working with him was awesome. The first time we got together met, it was on En Bloc, where he directed me, Carla Dunareanu, Nat Ho and Rebecca Lim.
Catch Bridget on Kin, Best Telenovela – National Winner of the Asian Academy Creative Awards 2020.
Ebi Shankara, 32, actor, singer and presenter
“My most memorable local TV show has to be Growing Up. My family would gather around the living room to watch the show and not miss an episode. What an amazing show it was! I would say currently my favorite local show would be this local Tamil drama called Mani.
“I grew up watching Adrian Pang both on stage and on screen and ultimately had the great pleasure of sharing both stage and screen space with him. You can learn so much just watching him work.”
Watch Ebi in The LKY Musical alongside Adrian starting September 7 and the upcoming Mediacorp x Wattpad adaptation of The Girl He Never Noticed.
READ ALSO: Jumping in longkangs and Phua Chu Kang: Pierre Png remembers his past for National Day