When the cameras aren’t rolling, Zheng Geping is as normal as they get on the celebrity scale.
This is despite having more than 70,000 Instagram followers who have bestowed the moniker “huncle” (a combination of the words “hunky” and “uncle”) upon him due to his enviable physique.
Married to actress Hong Huifang, the pair is blessed with two children, Tay Ying and Calvert, whom Geping has fawned over since birth. “When I got the news that I was going to be a father, my life changed. I automatically felt more mature because of the sense of responsibility that comes with being a parent. My children have given me a sense of fulfilment, and have definitely made me a better person,” reveals Geping.
As Calvert and Tay Ying prepare to launch their own careers in show business, they know not to expect their veteran actor father to give them a leg up.
He’s a firm believer that his children need to carve out their own paths in the industry.
“I don’t believe in spoonfeeding them. Whatever challenges they come across, they must tackle them head-on by themselves because the more mistakes they make, the more they will learn,” he says.
“That said, I don’t believe in being the type of parent who says ‘no’ all the time either. “My own dad was someone who ruled over the family with an iron fist, but I wanted to build an open line of communication with my kids from early on. I wanted them to feel like they could come and talk to me and we could discuss problems and come up with solutions together, instead of me barking orders at them.”
It’s a parenting tactic that has worked in his favour, as both children have expressed delight at the way their father has raised them. Calvert says, “He’s a very chill dad who doesn’t complain about hardship. Whatever trials come his way, he will persevere and work through them.” His sister Tay Ying adds, “He emits such positive energy which is great for our family dynamics because you always need that one person who will lift the others up no matter what.”
Does the high praise mean they will have something planned for their beloved dad come June 17? Geping says he hopes not. “I’m a simple man. Every year when Father’s Day comes up, I never put any pressure on the kids to do something special,” he says earnestly.
Text: Natalya Molok