The Republican Post had the opportunity to get up close with well-known Singaporean actor Chua Enlai during Channel 5’s “Localicious” road show at Shaw House on June 7. He tells WALTER NG which character he likes playing best.
In his bright pink shirt, he pressed his palms together in a prayer-like fashion and gave a wide smile. He greeted his fans with a hearty “Sa-wat-dee-kaap!”, or “Hello” in Thai. And his fans, milling about in the sun were cheering and clapping loudly. No, this is not a Thai celebrity. It is the Singaporean actor Chua Enlai, best known for his role of Thai correspondent Pornsak Sukhumvit in the hit series The Noose.
Chua, 35, has gained such prominence for his work that most Singaporeans associate him with his TV moniker “Pornsak”. He has even won the Best Comedy Performance at the annual Asian Television Awards in 2010 for his portrayal of the over-the-top Thai weather man. Despite how popular this character is, Chua prefers his other, less colourful, character.
“My favourite is Esmond Wan,” shares Chua about the local politician character he portrays. “He is the character that I can really relate to because after all, I am a Singaporean. I also see myself in him.”
“He speaks Singlish, makes blanket statements and does what he believes is right. And viewers can also relate to him as well,” says Chua who also plays B.B. See, a deadpan newscaster with a thick British accent and Jacques Ooi, a reporter on the show that has a habit of wearing a very short tie and an over-the-top accent. Like all the other Noose actors, Chua is also involved in several of the skits throughout the show.
His fans however, make it known how much they love Pornsak. He gets weird requests about it too. “People randomly ask me to pole dance for them. Like I go down the escalator, watch a movie and people would go like ‘Hey! Can you pole dance for me?’”
With more than 700,000 viewers each season, MediaCorp statistics showed that the show topped third place in the variety category. In 2011, the show was also nominated for Best Comedy Award at the prestigious International Emmy. Reflecting on the show’s success, Chua believes it is not just the individual talents of each actor.
He says: “There’s always a script that will come in that may not sit very well with that specific character and that’s where it’s great to have producers, directors and writers who are open enough to collaborate. To stop, collaborate and listen. And that’s what makes The Noose work.”
Catch the new season of The Noose beginning Sept 9 at 10pm on Channel 5.