Andie Chen made 15-min decision to relocate family; signs Taiwan contract
The actor now has links with a major Taiwan entertainment company, which he hopes will open some doors for him in Asia and the rest of the world.
In the middle of last year, Singapore actor Andie Chen relocated to Taipei, taking his two young children with him. Son Aden, 6, started Primary One there, and Andie was the kids’ sole caregiver for a while as his wife, host and actress Kate Pang, had work in Singapore.
The bold move has paid off – the 36-year-old recently inked a contract with Taiwan’s EeLin Entertainment, one of the island's largest entertainment companies, with models and actors like James Wen under their banner.
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Back in Singapore with his family for a brief visit, Andie told CNA Lifestyle, “I think this is an expansion, not just in my career, but also in my whole outlook of life. Being in just one market – as comfortable as blessed as that is – you only see things from one perspective.”
The important questions for him now, he said, are, “‘What are the kinds of projects that are really exciting? The kind of filmmakers who are pushing the envelope? How are investments coming into film and TV in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the US markets? Where do I fit into this equation? Where do I have the most value?’”
Underlying all that, “I do have a fear of being mediocre,” he admitted. “My endgame has always been to work with the most talented filmmakers in the world, on projects all over the world. If I can explore the world and really understand their culture by working on film projects in different places – I feel like that's my purpose, and I feel like that would be very aligned with my personality.”
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Having an agency representing him in Taiwan is a major career move, but the journey hasn’t been smooth-sailing, especially on the personal front, he shared.
“It has been very difficult, financially. Because of the COVID-19 situation, I took an 80 to 90 per cent pay cut last year,” he said.
On top of that, there were the stresses of adapting to life abroad.
“In Singapore, we had a house and a car… we had a domestic helper, which was a godsend. In Taiwan, we don’t have a helper. We don't have a car. And the wife and I were apart for longer than we were together for most of last year.”
He also stepped into the role of his children’s caregiver, juggling housework and meals, and even learning to braid daughter Avery’s hair.
“I was really struggling, being the primary caretaker of my kids, and trying to work at the same time,” he said, adding, “Kudos to the single parents out there.”
Although wife Kate was supportive, family members and close friends thought the move was “reckless”.
“Uprooting my family and making that decision in 15 minutes – that's what happened,” he said. “I talked to Kate, and then she was like, ‘Okay, lor.’ That was it – like, 15 minutes.”
It may sound flippant, but the couple’s implicit trust in each other has been built up through seven years of marriage.
“She knew that before I even asked her, I would have really thought through it multiple times, and about whether it would be good for her and good for the kids,” he said.
It is difficult to explain this perceived recklessness to others. But Andie knows where his priorities lie.
“I'm in an industry that is unstable, anyway. We should embrace it and work with it,” he said.
“The anchor, for me, is my family. Whenever all four of us are together, there’s a sense that things are right. Things are okay.
"It doesn't matter if we’re in Singapore or Taiwan. We don't have to be rich; we don’t have to be eating great meals and going to fancy places. When the four of us are together, I just feel like, ‘I can do this. It is possible.’”