From halfway house to TikTok – Simonboy credits transformation to mum, girlfriend, fans
He just wanted everything to end.
Caught in the grip of suicidal thoughts, Simon Khung Wei Nan, popularly as Simonboy, was at his lowest after his 2019 release from prison.
“I went through months of telling myself to just end everything. It was very dark,” the 36-year-old content creator told The New Paper.
“I didn't know how to get out of it.”
After being in a halfway house from 2019 to 2021, Khung realised that he needed to turn over a new leaf. Admitting that he had never worked since he left school when he was 16, Khung started out as a cleaner and mover at the halfway house.
“When I got out, I worked as a food delivery rider and got on social media,” said Simonboy, who gained popularity on TikTok.
“Things are better now.”
Simonboy has more than 172,000 followers on TikTok, where his posts have garnered more than 2.4 million likes.
@tnpdigital 🌟 From hitting rock bottom to facing a future filled with possibilities, Simonboy's journey from drug addiction to acting in a movie inspires him to lift others. 💪 Hate the drugs, not the person! More on tnp.sg. #fyp #sgnews #Simonboy #addiction ♬ original sound - TNP
Khung's rise from the depths of despair as a 16-year addict to a promising future is marked by unexpected opportunities in the film industry.
What began as an impromptu cameo in Jack Neo’s The King Of Musang King transformed into roles in projects such as Kelvin Sng’s King Of Hawkers, which will be released during Chinese New Year next year.
He plays the role of a troublemaker sabotaging the protagonists. “I enjoy roles like this because I don’t really have to act. I’m just being myself.”
Director Boi Kwong, who was introduced to Khung by a mutual friend, became a key figure in his redemption, guiding him through lessons and helping him break into acting.
Khung’s transition from TikTok content creator to actor was bolstered by Boi Kwong, who mentioned Simonboy in an interview and opened doors for him.
“Since I don't have any experience in acting other than in my TikTok videos, which are not professional at all, Director Boi Kwong said that he would send me to some lessons before the actual shoot. I really appreciate it and am very grateful for chances like this,” he said.
“If I don't do well, please forgive me.”
Beyond acting, Khung dreams of starting a business – leveraging his journey from a drug addict to a content creator – that is rooted in breaking societal stereotypes in empowering transformations. It would be a nod to the unwavering support from his mother, who refused to give up on him even at his lowest.
“My mum didn't give up on me throughout my whole journey. Since young, she doted on me. Even when I became rebellious and violent and took drugs, she was still encouraging and always asking how she could help me.
“I told her to report me to the police, disown me or throw me out so that I could figure a way to put a stop to my drug abuse.”
Khung also paid tribute to his 31-year-old girlfriend, Chloe Eong, and followers for their support and reinforcing positivity during challenging times.
Both connected through the dating app Bumble in 2021.
“I divorced twice because of drugs. When things got serious with my girlfriend, I told myself not to make the same mistake. I also apologised to my exes,” he said.
“The followers always give me positive encouragement. When the temptation comes, I replay their comments in my head.
“I want to become a successful entrepreneur so that people cannot look down on people like me anymore. Hate the drugs, not the person.”