Sam Willows siblings keep it close

BEST BUDDIES: Benjamin and Narelle constantly engage in playful banter with each another. (Photo: Nadia Al-Insyiraah Ismail)
BEST BUDDIES: Benjamin and Narelle constantly engage in playful banter with each other. (Photo: Nadia Al-Insyiraah Ismail)

It is no secret that every set of siblings fights. Some go for the punching and kicking, while others settle for the cold war. With this in mind, the thought of sharing a room with another sibling may seem like a nightmare. But for the Khengs, sharing a room together did not quite lead to all-out war. In fact, they became closer and now, even in their 20s, they play and work together.

Benjamin and Narelle Kheng, aged 24 and 21 respectively, make up half of the popular local indie band, The Sam Willows. They are now co-starring in a new variety-sitcom on Channel 5 called Do It Yourself (DIY) where they play, you guessed it, siblings.

Perhaps a reason why they could share the same four walls in their teenage years was their shared interests. Prior to their showbiz stardom, the active pair went to the Singapore Sports School and made the national swimming team. They have also always shared the same love for music.

“Whatever was in my iPod would eventually end up in her iPod as well,” said Benjamin, remembering the time when they were roommates before both of them got enrolled into boarding school.

A personal tragedy also tightened their bond – their mother died back in 2002 when they were still young and with their father taking on both parenting roles, Benjamin and Narelle became each other’s pillar of support.

That bond continued right till adulthood, when they burst into the local entertainment industry in 2012 with their indie band, The Sam Willows. The pair, plus two other friends who make up the band, found fame when their YouTube videos featuring original songs and covers garnered a large following. From then on, Benjamin and Narelle started spending more time with each other as they toured and performed together. Now, acting has been added to their many projects together.

However, they never actually made a conscious decision to make a career out of entertainment.

“I think it’s not something that we specifically chose. So, for us, somehow it ended up to be entertainment,” explained Narelle.

With most of their time spent together, don’t they get bored of each other? Benjamin mischievously suggested that he did, before a more serious Narelle stepped in.

“I don’t find it boring because there’s always something to talk about. Being siblings, there’s never awkward silence or whatever,” she said, with her brother agreeing without hesitation.

Benjamin also joked about his relationship with Narelle being “destructive”. They recounted a typical fight they used to have when they were younger – according to Benjamin, Narelle would bite him to put an end to his arguments.

“It’s like I’m giving really constructive, really good arguments. You know, life-changing (arguments). She goes like (bites),” Benjamin recounted.

“Yeah, and he kind of left out the part where he would cry,” Narelle quickly added.

With them being almost inseparable now, it’s somewhat surprising to find out that Benjamin and Narelle actually have different plans for the future. Narelle revealed that she wants to fulfil her childhood dream of performing in a circus while Benjamin would like to try out something more aggressive.

“I probably want to take up a form of martial arts maybe. I want to learn capoeira or something really crazy,” he said while kicking his leg playfully into the air.

Perhaps, Benjamin will end up performing his martial arts in the same circus Narelle is in.


Catch Benjamin and Narelle on Do It Yourself every Tuesday at 9pm on Channel 5.