Image: Marcus Tan / ST
The repentant stance that actress Rui En adopted at the recent Star Awards, where she apologised for an incident in which she drove and knocked over a parked motorcycle, continued at a press conference on Tuesday (May 17) for a new Channel 8 drama.
The fantasy melodrama is aptly titled If Only I Could…, and its protagonists are given a second chance to go back in time to change their lives for the better.
Rui En, 35, says: “Who doesn’t want second chances? Who doesn’t want to go back in time, amend mistakes and do the right thing? Such sentiments is especially heartfelt for me now.”
The actress was flamed last month for her behaviour in the traffic incident where she asked the motorbike owner, “Do you know who I am?”, a phrase that she later clarified as telling him that she would not run away without taking responsibility for what she had done.
Asked how she would have handled the situation differently if she were given a second chance, she says she does not know.
“Honestly, I’m in a dilemma. Be it mistakes or success, be it peak or hell, whatever we go through makes us who we are today,” she says.
“Initially I thought if I could go back in time, I would definitely do so – not just to half a year ago, but to the time I was a baby. I wanted to start anew. Then I realised that going through suffering may change a person for the better.”
Through this tough period, she has learnt two lessons: to be grateful and to learn how to forgive herself.
“I’ve never expected the unconditional concern, love and help given to me by my family, friends and colleagues. It has taught me not to take the people by my side for granted. I want to give back the love that they’ve showered on me during this period.”
A self-professed perfectionist, she says that she has been heaping blame on herself since the incident and she vomited at the Star Awards last month because stress triggered her existing gastric ailment.
“I’ve realise that I need to adjust (my mindset). I need to learn how to forgive myself and not put too much blame on myself. It has been tough,” she says.
Another problem she is facing – her inability to shed the extra weight gained for her dowdy character Zhen Hao in If Only I Could….
“I’m not young anymore. After I hit 30 years old, my metabolism rate has dropped. Now I don’t lose weight as fast as before,” says Rui En, who had gained about 7kg and does not know how much of that extra weight she has lost because she is afraid of weighing herself.
“I’ve always felt that stepping on the weighing scale is very demoralising when you find out you don’t lose as much as you expected to. I find it counter-productive.”
She is fighting back against talk about her chubbier face, though.
“Women go through a lot. We get criticised for ageing or putting on weight. Why is our society putting so much emphasis on physical appearance? This shouldn’t be the case.”
If Only I Could… premieres on Channel 8 on May 31 at 9pm. It airs on weekdays at 9pm.
A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on May 19, 2016. For more stories like this, head to www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.
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