Recapping The Inner Circle: Diving to the Root of Elvin Ng's Spark That Lit The Fire
Updated: May 31, 2021
“I was angry but tears were running down my face, as I’d been bullied the whole time.”
Elvin Ng opens up about his struggles with seniority in the entertainment industry on episode 7 of The Inner Circle, a show featuring recipients of the Star Awards’ All-Time Favourite Artiste Award.
In light of the upcoming Star Awards 2021 ceremony scheduled for 18th April, Elvin Ng was hosted by Guo Liang on the show The Inner Circle, to allow audiences to get up close and personal with Ng. The programme delved into Ng’s personal life, tracing his growth from a child, up to when he got discovered through the talent search programme, School Belle and Beau.
Ng warmly answered host Guo Liang’s questions, inviting laughter all around when pre-debut photographs of himself were displayed on screen in the studio and footage from his older dramas. Ng’s fingers and limbs shrivelled inwards when confronted with the montage of him in School Belle and Beau, earning coos of adoration from host Guo.
“This talent is just adorable,” Guo gushed, laughing.
How it All Started
However, the lively atmosphere took a mild turn when Guo steered the interview towards Ng’s disposition when collaborating with others. Guo enquired about Ng’s temperament when playing football, his favourite sport.
He asked, “Do some people show who they really are particularly when they play sports?”.
To which Ng playfully threatens Raphael Wong, Ng’s soccer buddy, a fellow guest on the show, “Watch what you say!”
Wong explains that Ng gets frustrated and loses his temper when his teammates make decisions which cause their team to lose. Wong describes how Ng’s voice would become higher, and Ng would sometimes give up playing the match.
In defence, Ng accounts for his actions on the field, saying that he enjoys the game as much as a five old child does when he plays football, and reveals that he is the same way in acting.
To Ng’s response, Guo asks the question which kindled the spark for the saga between Ng and NoonTalk Media artiste Dasmond Koh.
“Do you show your temper when you’re acting?”
Ng contemplates Guo’s question and clarifies that he doesn’t lose his temper, for the sake of simply losing his temper, but adds that there have been special instances in which he has lost his temper while acting.
“I was in Kuala Lumpur for a shoot, and a more experienced actor from Taiwan was playing my brother,” which multiple sources concluded the other actor to be Patrick Lee, and the set to be Ng’s and Lee’s Mediacorp drama Gifted in 2018 based on Ng’s anecdote.
Ng claims that him playing a more senior role than him in the drama allegedly did not sit well with Lee, and was “behaving like a big shot on set”.
Ng also recounted how Lee would allegedly “do something unprofessional” to distract him and make him forget his lines whenever the camera was filming Ng, and gloat at Ng, “Do you think you’re some top actor?”
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Lee allegedly said something disrespectful to Ng while Ng was filming an emotional scene.
“I was angry but tears were running down my face, as I’d been bullied all that time.”
Elvin’s Inner Conflict
After he told the story of how he lost his temper at a fellow actor on set, Ng then shares the inner turmoil he experienced at that point in time.
He shares how he requested for the director to either replace himself or Lee as he had felt upset by Lee’s alleged behaviour, yet acknowledged that his request was ironically making him appear like the bad guy.
“I was also mad at myself for not bearing with it to the end, but if I had come back with my tail between my legs…” Elvin trails off.
Who’s Right And Who’s Wrong?
While Ng’s retaliation to allegedly being bullied and belittled by a fellow actor may seem unprofessional: a demand to replace either of the actors on set, how many of us can sit back and simply tolerate a colleague’s disrespect of oneself?
Ng’s request for either of the actors to be replaced both hinders and obstructs his colleagues’ professional duties and puts them in a spot, forcing them to “pick sides”, and condemn either of the parties as wrong and herald the other as right.
Professional relationships on set wherein the producers who release the actors’ remuneration would, in the normal working world, be considered “employers”.
However, the actors and actresses who would then be considered “employees”, do not have a clearly delineated organizational structure many of us in typical corporations have, which offer mediation for workplace conflicts, such as upper management, or the Human Resources department.
Ng’s workplace onset is a blend of outsourced contractors, directors who are simply there to direct the set, and crew members whose jobs are to look after various parts of the set.
As such, his working environment lacks a clear organizational structure that would guarantee his welfare and a comfortable working environment.
In an environment where it’s every man for himself, Ng’s actions, while unprofessional, seem to have been enacted in the interest of his self-preservation, which is evident from the mental conflict he faced, and his acknowledgement that he was not wholly sure he was doing the right thing for their professional environment as well.
Morality is never black and white, and while Ng’s actions in the bigger professional scope of things do not seem the most magnanimous or the greatest, we can at least recognize that Ng’s struggle suggests that he acted according to what he thought was best for his well being and his career.
While being personable and candid caters to fans who revere celebrities, honesty and unabashedness in interviews could be a double-edged sword in light of the volatile and fast-paced media system we are in.
Our seemingly harmless, personal truths can easily be taken out of context and manipulated against ourselves, a situation in which Ng is currently caught up at the moment.
Article written by Michelle Ang