Singapore celebrity and television host Allan Wu already has a dream job travelling around the world for his hosting gigs. He fuels the envy of viewers on a new reality show, Celebrity Car Wars, where he has a blast racing cars and pitting his driving skills against fellow artists.
ST PHOTO: Lau Fook Kong
The 44-year-old says: “I was deciding between racing cars on the show and shooting a local Chinese drama in Malaysia. It was a no-brainer. It was nice to work on Car Wars with a bunch of friends. There was no script. You just go around and have fun, tear up on the track and sometimes run into things.”
The American-born Chinese flew to the Philippines in April, where he spent two weeks filming the show. It premieres tonight on the History channel. He was joined by the likes of former Miss Malaysia Universe and actress-host Andrea Fonseka and Filipino-Iranian host Joey Mead King.
Allan spoke to The Straits Times last month, before flying off to film Season 5 of the reality TV show, The Amazing Race Asia. Since April, he has been jetting around the world, filming five shows back-to-back. His three other projects are The Amazing Race: China Rush and local travelogues Let’s Do This Together and Unique Towns.
Though he has been out of town a lot, the doting father keeps in touch with his children. He has a daughter Sage, 12, and son Jonas, 10, with his ex-wife, former actress Wong Li-Lin, 43.
“My son is totally focused on his video games, I have to call him on WhatsApp through his mum’s phone,” he says. “With Sage, I talk to her through smartphone chatting apps Weixin or WhatsApp, or Instagram direct message. I try to email them, but they never check their e-mail. But my daughter checks her Instagram direct messages all the time.”
WHAT KIND OF DRIVER ARE YOU?
I’m a very safe and skilled driver, though I think others might disagree. I’ve never had an accident before, except on the show. On the streets, I’m safe. When I was younger, I liked to push the limit. After becoming a father and being older, I’m a lot more conservative. I want to be around for my children when they are older.
WHAT DRIVING HABITS ANNOY YOU?
I don’t like it when people don’t turn on the signal when they are making a right or left turn.
WHAT IS YOUR PREFERED RIDE?
I’ve been on two wheels for the past two years. I have a second-hand Ducati motorbike which cost $15,000. What I love the most about riding a bike is that you never ever have to worry about traffic. I can weave through all the traffic. When it is raining, it is not fun, but the advantage of not having to worry about traffic is paramount. Singapore has good public transportation, it is so convenient. I take the MRT too.
HOW HANDS-ON ARE YOU AS A DAD?
When they were younger, I pretty much did everything with Li-Lin. I would change diapers, help to bathe them and rock them to sleep. Once, my son had a high fever. I let him lie on top of me so that he could transfer some of the heat from the fever to me. I was hands- on. Even though I don’t see them as much now because I’m filming overseas, I think I have a pretty good relationship with them.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR KIDS HAPPY ON A PLANE?
My kids have always been good on the plane. I can’t stand it when you have parents who don’t know how to pacify their screaming kids. I’ve had times where I’m like, “Give me your kid, let me take care of your kid.” There are three to four things that would make a child bawl. I would first check to see if he has poo in his diaper. If not, he is probably hungry. Third, he might be tired. The biggest challenge is if his ears don’t pop.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FIT WHILE TRAVELLING?
It is hard because I am on planes a lot. A lot of times after I arrive, I have to start filming. I’ve reached the point where I don’t exercise while I am filming. Once I finish the project, I try to work out a lot. I’ve flown back to Singapore and, in a couple of hours, I’m off for a run. In the past, I would work out when I’m filming overseas. I would go on the treadmill and run. Then I would have to fly with wet clothes in my suitcase and it was not pleasant.
ARE YOU ANY CLOSER TO FINDING ‘THE ONE’?
It was going pretty well before I started doing five shows back-to- back. I’ve been travelling since April for filming. I’m not in any rush. There’s plenty of fish in the sea. With all my travels, I meet a lot of new and interesting people. I’ve been travelling, so I haven’t had time to focus on dating.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED?
Being a loving and devoted father would be on top of the list. I’d also like to be remembered as someone who never had airs about him and got along with everyone.
Celebrity Car Wars airs on Mondays at 10pm on the History channel (StarHub TV Channel 401). A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2016, with the headline ‘Bike’s best for Allan Wu’.
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