From The Straits Times    |

MEDIACORP

Former Mediacorp actress Felicia Chin is in a transnational marriage in Channel 8’s new series I Do, Do I? and there is heartbreak, parental disapproval, separation and a miscarriage.

But the 39-year-old star, who is herself in a transnational marriage, says her own reality is much less dramatic. She married Shanghai-born Singapore-based actor Jeffrey Xu in 2022, after seven years of dating.

Asked if their relationship ever ran into difficulties due to cultural differences, she recounts visiting Xu’s family in Shanghai early on in their courtship during the Chinese New Year period.

Typical of Shanghainese hospitality, she was plied with a lot of food and ended up feeling unwell and vomiting.

“It was my first time meeting his extended family and I wanted to leave a good impression, so I ate everything, and I landed in the hospital over Chinese New Year. It was so inauspicious,” Chin recalls with a laugh over a phone call with The Straits Times.

She adds: “I did marry someone from a different cultural background, but since we’re both Chinese, our backgrounds are closer. In the series, I’m with an Italian man, and that’s really a clash between East and West.”

In I Do, Do I? – a series about the challenges of transnational marriages – Chin plays a Singaporean whose Italian fiance (Singapore-based Canadian actor Jason Godfrey) moves to Singapore to marry her. The series premieres on Channel 8 on Dec 21 at 9pm, and is also available on mewatch.  

This is Chin’s first full-length drama since leaving Mediacorp in 2022 to create social media content for a faith-based non-profit organisation. She was drawn by the drama’s multicultural theme and cast, and took three months of no-pay leave to film it.

The series also stars former K-pop girl group Skarf’s Singaporean member Ferlyn Wong, as a Korean married to a Singaporean man, and Thai actress Panitsara Yang as a Thai bride. 

(From left) Jason Godfrey, Ivonne Saw, Marcus Chin and Felicia Chin in I Do, Do I?, a drama on transnational marriages. PHOTO: MEDIACORP

Chin says: “I nearly thought I was filming an English drama the first week on set because so many scenes were between Jason and me. We were speaking English the whole time. We also have a Korean actress who plays a grandma and a Thai actress in one of the key roles. It’s very interesting.”

Her character goes on an intense emotional journey in the series, experiencing heartbreak, an unexpected pregnancy and a miscarriage.

Chin, who does not have a child yet, says she and Xu, 35, want kids. 

“Hopefully, there will be good news to share soon, but no stress. I think it’s most important for us to take good care of ourselves and strengthen our relationship as a couple because the best gift a child can have is a pair of stable, loving parents.”

She is not too fussed about getting pregnant at her age. She says: “I don’t want to go down the route of worrying. I believe babies are a gift and we will let nature take its course.”

And she has some good luck charms by her side – baby clothes given by her friend, which she has placed in her bedroom. 

“I’m not superstitious, but it’s a cute gesture,” she says. 

The past year has marked important changes for Chin. Not only did she settle into a new job, but she also got hitched and began living with Xu for the first time.

But her fans should be happy to learn that acting remains important to her.

“The non-profit and I always had the understanding that I would occasionally take time off to act. I still feel I’m part of the industry, and it’s always good to have exposure. Acting is something I won’t let go of. It’s where my roots lie,” she says.

While the title of her upcoming drama strikes an ambivalent note with regard to marriage, Chin herself is all in.

She says: “The night before I got married, I was in my hotel room looking at the big bed and thinking, ‘Man, I’m not sure if I can get used to this other person being in my bed every day from now on.’ But recently, I told Jeffrey, ‘I can’t imagine waking up without you next to me.’”

  • I Do, Do I? premiered on Channel 8 on Dec 21 at 9pm and is also available on mewatch. 

This article was originally published in The Straits Times.