Mediacorp actress Xiang Yun hopes to raise awareness on dementia and schizophrenia
“People with dementia and schizophrenia aren't always in a state of instability – there are times when they are alright and sweet.”
You won't find actress Xiang Yun on the poster of Mediacorp’s new drama Your World In Mine but playing the role of Wang Jinhui, a mother of two who is plagued by schizophrenia and dementia, is possibly the 60-year-old actress’ most challenging role yet.
In an interview with AsiaOne, the actress revealed how filming a particular scene left her completely spent.
"My character's conditions were set off, Zhu Houren and many other actors had to hold me back. Having to finish that one scene in a shot without cuts was difficult. We took so many takes – maybe four or five – and I was very tired. We acted until we were exhausted. I had to use all of my strength! After that day's filming, I was so tired, I went back home and slept very well."
In order for her to nail that performance, plenty of work went into preparing Xiang Yun for the role.
"I went online to learn more about them (dementia and schizophrenia). I have encountered people with them before but I needed more material and wanted to know how patients would react to certain problems."
“People with dementia and schizophrenia aren't always in a state of instability – there are times when they are alright and sweet,” she added.
Distinguishing between schizophrenia and dementia was particularly challenging. "When Jinhui's ailments are triggered, we need to figure out, 'Did this incident trigger her schizophrenia or did it trigger her dementia?'"
Through her persuasive portrayal, the actress hopes to raise more awareness of the conditions.
"I feel we should be more tolerant and loving towards people with mental conditions," she said.
On how to maintain good mental health, the 60-year-old advised against consuming copious amounts of sugary foods and stressed on getting sufficient rest. "There are times at night when I'm swiping on my phone for Xiaohongshu stories, but I will quickly put it down and tell myself, 'It's already so late, hurry up and sleep!'"
The actress also distilled tips on how to effectively calm the mind. She shared that she practices mindful meditation. "Every day, an app will instruct me to do 10 to 15 minutes of meditation, and I would do that every night before going to sleep. It calms me down and relaxes my mind and body."Your World in Mine is telecast on Channel 8 on weekdays at 9pm. It is also available on demand for free on meWATCH.