Jeanette Aw

Jeanette Aw wants her ashes to be scattered into the ocean when her time has come.

“I don’t want future generations to cling on,” says the 31-year-old MediaCorp actress in fluent English, “I don’t want to be a burden to them.”

The somewhat morbid topic was a relevant on Mar 30, in the light of this being the press conference for her newest drama, New Beginnings. In the Channel 8 drama, due to debut Apr 14, Aw plays Cai Shiya, a funeral director hoping to improve people’s perceptions of her profession.

It seems that there is but a thin line separating the character from the actress. Aw shares Shiya’s interest in dispelling the myth of funeral directors being the dark, menacing stereotypes so often presented in movies, books and even other television shows.

“They are very happy and positive people, without worldly attachments,” explains the actress, sounding almost envious, when speaking about the research she had to do for her role.

With valour totally disproportionate to her size , she weighs a mere 45kg, Aw had to face the many aspects of death in her role as an undertaker, once going as far as to lie in a coffin.

“I was afraid that claustrophobia would set in, but I could still see the world outside, so it wasn’t that bad,” she recalls of that scene.

The bilingual thespian said that while she isn’t superstitious by nature, she nevertheless appreciated the red packets given to her for good luck by the production team.

On the subject of her expectations going into this year’s Star Awards on Apr 25, last year’s Best Actress nominee (who narrowly lost the award to Joanne Peh) humbly states that she believes such things are out of her control. She adds that she’s happy just to be nominated again for the top acting award for her role as Yao Jianhong in Together.

DSC_9262New Beginnings revolves around a theme of red and white, happiness and sorrow, weddings and funerals. The cast includes Jeanette Aw, Tay Ping Hui, Elvin Ng and Jesseca Liu, just to name a few.

Tay Ping Hui and Jessecia Liu play wedding planners, representing the red faction of fortune and joy. On the other side stand Jeanette Aw and Elvin Ng, a funeral director and an undertaker respectively, representatives for the white so often used to symbolize inauspicious events in Chinese circles.

Red and white are the polar opposites of each other and it’s believed that they are not to mix, or are they? Catch New Beginnings, starting Apr 14 at 9pm to find out.

The full video of the New Beginnings press conference is below, please check it out!