Circuit breaker: S'porean actor Andie Chen's income cut by 90%, juggles time between Zoom meetings & teaching kids

Hands-on dad.

Fasiha Nazren| May 12, 03:30 PM

Plenty of businesses have seen a decline in sales and projects due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Even local actor Andie Chen has not been spared.

Income drop by 90%

Chen recently founded his own production company called Vagabond Media.

Under his production company, the actor recently produced a war-themed short film called "The Last Song", which features Chen himself, local actors Hirzi Zulkiflie, Sivakumar Palakrishnan and Nusseir Yassin, better known as Nas Daily.

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Long list of people to thank for the creation of #thelastsong . Let’s start with the casts! - They jumped on board even when I told them the pay is low and the work is rough. Spirits were high even as we were all sweaty, tired and into our 15th hour of the day. - Thank you all for your commitment. - Click on the link in my Bio to watch the full uncensored film in 4K.

A post shared by Chen Bangjun (@andiechen) on

This film, he said, felt "closer to reality than expected" as having a virus outbreak seemed like something so distant, much like war.

"When we were filming The Last Song, war felt like something that will never happen. Fast forward to today, we realise that everything can change overnight. It’s also a time we feel fear and insecurity. I hope the film can give people a sense of belonging and unity."

Photo via Andie Chen

Photo via Andie Chen

Photo via Andie Chen

However, he said that his income has dropped by more than 90 per cent because of the virus outbreak.

"Nothing is shooting and most brands have stopped marketing campaigns (since Covid-19)."

Grateful for wife

And as if that wasn't troubling enough, he had difficulty coping during the initial stages of the circuit breaker period due to his introverted nature.

He lives with his actress wife, Kate Pang and two of their kids who turn six and four years old this year.

"I am an introvert, which means that I need a lot of alone time. (But) with the kids around all the time, it is taking a toll on my mental health."

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The real test of marriage is when the kids are home 24/7, your income is cut by 90% and your workload is still the same.⁠ - Have no doubt, the coming month is gonna be rough. -⁠⠀ Hands up if #covid19 has caused friction between you and your partner. ⁠🖐🏼 -⁠⠀ @katepang311 #还好你漂亮 #爱的考验 #hanginthere #parents #爱就是要忍耐

A post shared by Chen Bangjun (@andiechen) on

Thankfully, he's more settled now but not without the help of Pang, whom he has also described as a "domestic goddess".

He shared that his wife has been trying to give him the space he needs and has been coping better than him during the circuit breaker period.

"Kate is doing awesome, she has always been a domestic goddess so reading with the kids and cooking, for example, is actually making her quite happy."

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上次是妈妈藏东西让孩子找,这次换孩子藏东西给妈妈找,没想到孩子超级阴险~~~~~妈妈差点就要接受惩罚了~不过奖励跟惩罚一样可怕。

A post shared by Kate + Andie + Aden +Avery (@kandiefamily) on

Hands-on dad

That being said, this doesn't mean that Chen isn't a hands-on dad.

In fact, as a stickler for routine, he came up with a new schedule at home so he can afford to juggle between his family, work and exercise.

With the extended circuit breaker in place with tighter measures, Chen has been thinking of creative ways to keep his children engaged and active at home.

"I am starting to think about how to keep my kids learning and exercising. A lot of policies are geared towards the majority, so gaps like expecting young kids to exercise outside alone is frustrating."

Apart from setting time aside to play with his kids, he and his wife are teaching the kids the following subjects every day:

  • English
  • Chinese
  • Science
  • Music
  • Maths
  • Physical Education

Circuit breaker not a long-term solution

Despite the challenges he is facing right now, Chen considers himself lucky to have the support of his family during this trying time.

He shared that he is worried about the mental health of other Singapore residents in poor living conditions.

"I don’t just mean the needy but also people staying in smaller units with a mix of generations. The circuit breaker is definitely not a long-term solution for this pandemic."

Which is why he has also shown his support for Diana Ser's #ShowWeCareSG campaign:

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I know everyone is suffering during this pandemic, but there are some who are less able to cope with the changes. We help them you can donate to the #ShowWeCareSG campaign https://s.giving.sg/zTXRGUl - The donations (which are tax-exempted) go directly to The Invictus Fund through ComChest to help 80 social services agencies that serve vulnerable seniors, families in need, children with special needs, youth-at-risk and persons with mental health conditions or disabilities. - Please also help spread the message by posting pictures of yourself doing the caring hand symbol and hashtag #ShowWeCareSG #SGUnited. Thank you guys! Stay Safe and stay home.

A post shared by Chen Bangjun (@andiechen) on

And while waiting for the circuit breaker period to end, he is going to stick to the routine he has crafted especially for this period.

"I am dividing my time with teaching and playing with my kids, producing/ acting work and working out. I also have a slot for Zoom meetings. It's less productive, for sure, but I think that's something everyone is learning to live with."

Top image from @andiechen on Instagram.