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The time of his life

27 Jul 2020 / 10:19 H.

Actor, model and singer Melvin Sia has come a long way since he made it to the Top 6 of regional talent show Star Search in 2003.

Since then, this former architecture student has been active in both the local as well
as international Chinese entertainment scene, having made his mark in TV dramas and feature films, as well as advertisements for international brands.

In 2010, he was named best actor at the Malaysia Golden Awards for his role in Romantic Delicacies. He also won for most popular actor in the Viewers’ Choice category at the same ceremony.

Sia recently spoke to theSun via a tele-conference call from Taiwan, where he has been based for the past eight years.

Sia is happy to be an actor for now. – COURTESY OF MELVIN SIA
Sia is happy to be an actor for now. – COURTESY OF MELVIN SIA

“I am still a Malaysian, but I hold permanent resident status in Taiwan,” said the Sarawak-born Sia.

He explained that he moved his base to Taiwan due to his acting career, which is now mostly focused on the Taiwan and China markets.

He has been keeping himself busy lately, despite the pandemic which has brought the entire entertainment industry to a halt.

“I am producing content for my own YouTube channel. I shoot for it all over Taiwan. Taiwan actually handled the Covid-19 situation much better than many other countries. In fact, shooting for TV and film [projects] has already began here.

“I was supposed to do some shooting in China, but we can’t go there now. So I am waiting. Perhaps at the end of the year.”

Many local artistes talk about making an impact internationally, but seem afraid to spread their wings and try their luck abroad.

“Actually the production of Chinese content in Malaysia is very small. After I won for best actor at the Golden Awards held in Malaysia, I had the opportunity to come to Taiwan. I felt it was a good opportunity to go big where my own career was concerned.”

Unlike most of his peers, Sia said he did not harbour any ambitions of becoming an actor, and in fact was keen on becoming an architect. It was his friends who convinced him to take part in Star Search, which at that time was one of the ways Singaporean and Malaysian talent could be discovered by the Chinese entertainment world.

Sia admitted that early on, it was not all smooth sailing where his career was concerned, and he did toy with the idea of giving it all up and returning to architecture.

“When I first moved to Taiwan, it was a new environment and no one knew me. It was tough for me to move forward. But I am a tough person too, and I wanted to be successful. I did not want to fail. So I kept going on.”

– COURTESY OF MELVIN SIA
– COURTESY OF MELVIN SIA

When asked which actor he admires the most, Sia said he is a big fan of Hong Kong actor Tony Leung.

I asked Sia what he felt like being a part of the Asian entertainment industry now.

“I think the timing is good. Asian directors and actors are getting more confident with their talent, because they have seen good examples or role models who have made it. The world has already seen that Asia can come out with good productions.”

Thanks to opportunities presented by streaming services (viewership numbers actually boomed during the global lockdown), Sia said that we are in a new era.

“The world has become smaller,“ he said, explaining that with a touch of a button you can learn so much about another country without even having to be there.

When asked what genre he personally likes, he said: “I like romantic drama. It is more relaxed and not full of tense moments.”

Asked what was his favourite role, Sia replied that it was his role as the conflicted Yan Hao in the 2015 Taiwanese TV series To The Dearest Intruder, which is currently available on streaming platforms.

Sia said he has no plans to direct, or do anything new. “I enjoy an actor’s life. I am looking forward to penetrating big markets such as China, I am satisfied with the characters I have been playing.”

As for trying his luck in Hollywood, he simply said: “It is too far for me.”

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