Felicia Chin dreams of getting married in Okinawa
In the course of their seven-year courtship, local celebrity couple Felicia Chin and Jeffrey Xu have been urged many a time to hurry up and tie the knot.
But the lovebirds, who announced their engagement on Thursday (Aug 11), did not cave to the pressure.
In a telephone call with The Straits Times, Chin, 37, says: "If you take seven years to get married in your 20s, people might not have that much to say. But in your 30s, those concerns are intensified.
"But we didn't want to jump into the next season of our life just because of our age, without more time to build the foundations of our relationship and to know in our hearts that we are prepared."
Xu, who popped the question in an elaborate surprise proposal at the Night Safari late last month, says that while time is tight, they hope to marry before the year ends.
The 33-year-old actor says: "People may think that weddings need to be planned over a long period of time but, actually, getting married can be something very simple and done very spontaneously. Nothing is impossible, even if the time is short. In fact, just the thought of actually getting married this year is really exciting to me."
The stars are both dreaming of a destination wedding, with Xu hoping for a vacation-and-wedding hybrid trip with a core group of friends and family members.
Chin is hoping to travel to Japan. "I do dream of a small church wedding in Okinawa during the end of the year when the weather is really nice," she says.
As for kids, she says: "We love children, but we'll take it one step at a time. We do believe children are a gift from God and we are taking extra care of our bodies so that when the time comes, we will be better prepared."
Their engagement is one of many milestones in a special year for the couple.
Both Chin and Xu were big winners at the Star Awards this year. Chin nabbed her 10th Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste trophy, which secures her the All-Time Favourite Artiste award next year. Xu took home Best Supporting Actor - his first performance award after over a decade in show business.
And in June this year, Chin bade farewell to Mediacorp, leaving her job as a full-time artiste with the broadcaster to join a faith-based non-profit, hhm.sg, as a producer and presenter.
Her last drama with Mediacorp as a full-time artiste is the military-themed When Duty Calls 2. It premieres on Monday (Aug 15)on Channel 8 at 9pm.
Although she has plans to continue acting, Chin says having a new job - which she started earlier this month - after close to two decades of acting is like "the first day of school."
"It is the first time in my life that I have an office desk of my own and I'm working office hours."
It has been a steep learning curve, she says. As an actress, everything - including hair and make-up - was taken care of for her. But she has to conceptualise her own content in her new role. "I do feel a bit ill-equipped, but I also really enjoy having the space and flexibility to create content I want. It's really exciting, even if it is a bit foreign to me," she says.
She is glad she is wrapping up her chapter at Mediacorp with When Duty Calls 2, which is a sequel to 2017's When Duty Calls.
In the new series, she reprises her role as Pey Jing Yu, a medic who becomes an instructor at the SAF Medical Training Institute. She shares most of her scenes with new additions to the cast, such as Tyler Ten and Nick Teo. This is her first collaboration with both actors.
"A lot of the times, you're acting with familiar faces, so it's nice to act with new people for a change," she says.
And after shows like Jungle Survivor (2020), where she is caught in a complicated and dramatic love triangle, the role of Jing Yu is a breath of fresh air.
She says: "I've had very heavy, emotional roles in recent years and, sometimes, I do yearn for a bit of a rest, for a role where I don't have to cry my eyes out. And it just so happens that I don't have emotional crying scenes in this drama.
"It feels like a very nice closure to my full-time career at Mediacorp."
When Duty Calls 2 premieres on Monday (Aug 15) at 9pm on Channel 8. It is also available on meWatch.