Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spotlight: Hossan Leong on ‘We Are Singaporeans’!

By Ho Khin Wai, Year 2, Diploma in Banking & Financial Services, and
Nur Mirrah Amit, Year 2, Diploma in Mass Media Management

One of the nation’s best comedians, he’s got his hands full doing stage acting, and being the host for two consecutive seasons of Singapore’s game show ‘We Are Singaporeans’. Luckily, we’ve managed to get ourselves some one-on-one time with the ever busy Hossan Leong and got him to shed some light on what makes him Singaporean.

How Singaporean are you? Why do you think so?

I am very Singaporean. I can’t call myself anything else! I’m definitely not American, not French and not English. I’m born and bred here in Singapore. I’m proud to be Singaporean!

What is the one thing you love about being the show’s host?

It’s a dream of mine to host a game show and to host something like this, in this format, is like dream come true. I really enjoy learning new stuff about Singapore, meeting new people, and working with my friends on the show. It’s really good fun!

We know you have been on stage and on screen as an actor. Is this your first time as a host for a TV game show? Is it different from acting? Any difficulties faced?

Yes, acting on stage and on the screen are different genres. In acting, I have a script and a character; as a host, I have to hold the show together. Some challenges for me involve keeping the energy up. As a host, I have a lot of responsibility holding the show together, not letting it drag, and not letting it be too short.

If you weren’t a celebrity, do you think you would have participated in the game show as a contestant and make it till the very end?

Yeah, I think I would join because I’m competitive. Who doesn’t want money, right? (laughs).

Frankly, for the questions that come up in the show, I don’t know the answers to a lot of them. I really don’t think I could have walked away with the grand prize.

How did the opportunity to be the host for this show come about for you?

I begged the producers (laughs). No, I had to audition for the role like everyone else. A few months later, they asked if I wanted to host the gameshow. I said “Uh huh, duh!”

What is the most memorable thing that has ever happened on the show so far?

Oh, there are so many! I think one of them is the look of delight and pure happiness when someone wins the grand prize. It is really nice to say that they deserved it, and hand them the money. Even if they just walked away with smaller prizes of a few thousand dollars (in four hours of filming), it is a lot of money.

You seem to have a lot of energy on the show! How do you prepare yourself for such a role? Are you always so upbeat and energetic?

I think getting enough sleep, getting my head in a clear space before the camera starts rolling, and being aware of what’s going on is important. I’m very happy when I’m on the job, and the energy will come!

Do you look forward to seeing more of game shows like ‘We Are Singaporeans’?

Yeah, I sure do! I think we lack a lot of such shows. People learn from these shows, and it helps us all – contestants, celebrities, studio audiences and even home viewers - to think a bit more.

Is there anything you would like to say to attract people who haven’t watched ‘We Are Singaporeans’?

I think the reason why the first season did so well was because we haven’t had a game show about our collective history in such a long while. Now we’ve got something like that, it’s exciting to be able to sit down as a family or a group of friends and go “Hey! I know the answer!” and start talking about it.

If you could describe the show in one word, what word would it be?

What do you think makes this show unique?

The format’s unique. It has been thoroughly thought through by the producers and our creative people, with an amazing team to put it all together. I think there’s no other game show in the world that would feature Singapore in this style.

Do you think there would be chances of a remake, with other countries trying to adopt this very same format?

Well, you’ll never know.

Catch the second season of “We Are Singaporeans” premiering Wednesday, 8pm, 30th May, on Channel 5! We sure had our share of fun and laughter during the TV shoots, so be sure to get your weekly dose of Singapore’s fun trivia show “We Are Singaporeans 2”!

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Ho Khinwai is an NYP Year 1 Banking and Financial Services student from School of Business Management (SBM). He started writing for NYP Portal this year out of interest and was soon "addicted" to it. He has also written book reviews for Straits Times YA Classified. Besides writing, he loves singing and has performed for various events in NYP under NYP Soundcard.

Mirrah is a Year 1 Mass Media Management student who, as her mother had reiterated, “reads all the time!” She consumes as many as three books a day in her spare time, and enjoys classics and romance novels by authors such as Mari Mancusi, CS Lewis, and Sophie Kinsella. She aspires to write for political science magazines like Time and Newsweek in the future, and also has an interest in fashion writing.  

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