Jan 07, 2014

    Cecilia calls S'pore home

    HONG Kong actress Cecilia Cheung has settled down in Singapore with her two sons, she confirmed with Life! in an exclusive interview.

    Speaking in a mixture of English and Mandarin, the 33-year-old beauty said that she has been living here for "about two months" already.

    "I chose Singapore because there's no strong paparazzi culture here. Even though I like Hong Kong and China, and I have many fans and supporters there, the paparazzi there are too strong.

    "Singapore is not like that, and I want my two boys to have a normal life and a normal study environment."

    School starts "later this month" for Quintus, three, and Lucas, six, she said.

    "They are really excited, and I'm also really excited. I think the education system here is really good."

    She did not say which school she has enrolled her sons in, but Life! understands from a source that it is an international school.

    Last month, her former husband, actor Nicholas Tse, also 33, said at a movie press conference in Hong Kong that their sons would be attending school in Singapore.

    The family have been spotted here in recent months, including at a restaurant in Eunos and in the Hougang neighbourhood.

    On Sunday, Cheung agreed to a quick interview on the condition that there would not be any photos taken of her and published.

    She spoke after doing four hours of community service at a local volunteer organisation, where she prepared and packed food that would later be given out to the needy.

    She has been helping out at this organisation regularly for the last three weeks.

    "When I don't have to fly back to Hong Kong for work, I will go maybe three to four times a week," she said.

    Earlier, this reporter had observed her incognito, as she cheerily bustled about the organisation.

    Friendly and down-to-earth, she would often greet other volunteers with "Happy New Year" and offer tips to newer volunteers.

    "When you pack the scrambled eggs into the boxes, make sure that you break them into small pieces, otherwise some elderly people will not be able to chew them properly," she told a young volunteer with a grin.

    At other times, she was seen with earphones plugged in and singing Cantopop songs under her breath.

    She also displayed a sense of humour throughout the session.

    As she hurriedly scooped bowls of rice into styrofoam packets as part of an assembly line, she said with a chuckle: "I am a robot. And this feels like I'm working at McDonald's."

    When a male staff member from the organisation asked her when she would return, she laughed and said: "I'll see when I have the time. Why do you want to know? Is it because you want to pursue me? But you are not as handsome as Nicholas Tse."

    Every now and then, volunteers would approach her and ask to take a picture with her. She always obliged, but with the caveat that they not post it on the Internet.

    As she prepared to leave the organisation, she was clearly in good spirits.

    Cheung, who was wearing a halterneck swimsuit paired with cobalt-blue exercise shorts, told Life!: "Look at me, I came out without any make-up, and I'm wearing whatever I want to wear.

    "I will go swimming later, so I'm wearing this now, but can you imagine me stepping out of the house in Hong Kong in a swimming suit? It's just not possible with the paparazzi there."

    She added that she has often patronised coffee shops and street-food stalls since she came to Singapore.

    "I don't want to go to any fancy dining places because I've had enough of that in Hong Kong. Here, I can go to a street stall and eat my laksa and chicken rice, and not feel the pressure (from the paparazzi)."

    She said with a smile: "Here, when people ask to take pictures, they really respect my requests and keep the photos to themselves, like I asked them to.

    "I feel like a normal person now."