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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Malaysian Actress Lai Ming, Golden Horse Best Supporting Actress nominee

I came back from Rome two nights ago (photos and blow-by-blow account will come in the next post), and was pleasantly surprised by the recent newspaper coverage of Malaysian veteran actress, Lai Ming, who had recently received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at this year's Golden Horse Awards for her work in Jack Neo's MONEY NO ENOUGH 2.

Lai Ming's a familiar face for many, being in showbiz for FIFTY years. She had been in local dramas, advertisements and the like. But now, thanks to her recent appearance in Jack Neo's films (before MONEY NO ENOUGH 2, she was in AH LONG PTE LTD), she is now enjoying a renewed surge in popularity.

If you've seen CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY or its trailer, you'll remember her memorable appearance in the film as the protagonist's senile grandma.

Rising Actor and Legendary Actress, Ming Wei and Lai Ming
Lai Ming and Lim Ming Wei (Chicken Rice Mystery protagonist) before the shoot

I had the pleasure of working with her during the end of February this year for my short film, just a day or two before she headed off to Singapore for the MONEY NOT ENOUGH 2 shoot. (In fact, the CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY shoot was rescheduled to a week earlier than initially planned because of that) Since I had her playing a senile grandma who also had Alzheimer's, maybe I can say that CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY was a 'warm-up' for her before her award-nominated, critically-acclaimed MONEY NO ENOUGH 2 role.

Me speaking to Lai Ming
Speaking to Lai Ming between takes

Jack Neo has to thank me for this. (kidding)

I was really surprised when Lai Ming told me that she was 81. Looking at her, I had thought that she was either in her late 60s, or early 70s! Especially how effortless it seemed for her to memorize the script (which I gave her on the day of the shoot). She memorized everything while make-up was being applied on her, and BANG! The role was immediately hers once the camera rolled.

With the cover page of the entertainment section in Malaysian Chinese papers normally dominated by Hong Kong or Hollywood showbiz gossip, and a Bollywood actor being granted Datoship, it's refreshing to see a local (and criminally underappreciated) veteran like her enjoying the media attention that she's getting these days. Right now, I can even tell people that I have a Golden Horse nominee in my short film!

Aside from winning the BMW SHORTIES awards and the trip to Rome, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY is also nominated for competition at the Dubai International Film Festival this December, so I'm very glad to also share Lai Ming's impeccable performance with audiences from a different part of the world.

I'm definitely rooting for her to win the Golden Horse award.

(Besides, I don't think she's any less deserving of a Datoship compared to Shah Rukh Khan, but hey, that's just me)