Tan Kheng Hua is a presence—and present. The actor/producer, petite and unpretentious, fully invests in conversations before her, be they about falsies or young creatives. She leads with “Call me Kheng!” and asks after everyone. The questions aren’t the autoresponders of a seasoned celebrity, but those of a conscientious student of her environment and its humans, inviting reciprocal warmth.
Back in 2008, she poured that energy into stage production It’s My Life!, spending a year working with then-teenagers (today’s millennials) to capture their coming of age amid nascent social media channels.
“I still want to do something like It’s My Life! again,” she says. At her Joo Chiat home, where she lives with her 23-year old daughter Shi-An and their cat Toastie, she marvels at the up-and-coming centennials. “I personally love looking at their creativity on TikTok; on Instagram. I love what they’re doing in the films I see on (online video content platforms) YouTube, Not Safe for TV and Viddsee. We have so many wonderful songwriters, all Singaporean, who are so, so good.”