Actor Lawrence Wong wants to give S$3,000 red packets to staff this CNY

Are there any open positions? Asking for a friend.

Fasiha Nazren | January 26, 2022, 01:42 PM

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Having appeared in several movies and television series, it's easy to assume that a lot of people would like to star alongside Singaporean actor Lawrence Wong.

Little did you know, he can be quite the fanboy himself.

In his latest film "Reunion Dinner", for example, Wong told Mothership that he was excited to film scenes with veteran actress Mimi Chu.

A fan of Mimi Chu

"I remember watching her in a Stephen Chow movie when I was young and she was just really hilarious, so I was really looking forward to feeling her vibe as well," he said.

Wong shared that they shared many scenes together as Chu played the role of his "rental" mother in the Chinese New Year film.

Movie still from "Reunion Dinner"

"She's a really funny lady and she has an energetic personality. You will feel happy being around her and she's really natural with comedy," he gushed.

Filming the movie wasn't all fun and games, however. There were some blood, sweat and tears involved.

Hard at work

On the first day of filming, he spent half the day running through a carpark multiple times. In a period costume, no less.

Movie still from "Reunion Dinner"

"In the end, a lot of the scenes got cut out! Only a small part (was in the movie), the rest were all cut out," he said.


Spending CNY with family

While spending Chinese New Year with family and friends is the norm for a lot of us, that isn't necessarily the case for Wong.

And it’s not because he is actively avoiding celebrating the yearly holiday with his family.

Instead, the 33-year-old explained, the past few celebrations have been spent at productions in China.

This year, however, he feels “fortunate” to finally be spending Chinese New Year in Singapore with his family.

However, no matter where he spends his Chinese New Year, he told us that he makes it a point to stay up as late as he can on the eve of the celebration.

"According to Chinese beliefs, the later you stay up, the longer your parents will live. As kids, we were always taught to like, you know, after reunion dinner we'll go out and play firecrackers and stay up as long as we can," he reminisced.

Maintaining this tradition seems to get tougher by the year, though.

These days, Wong can sleep anywhere, anytime.

"Even just now with my make-up artist, she was literally propping my head up because I was nodding off."

Brings back good memories

His best memory of Chinese New Year, however, is just sitting down and eating together with his family for reunion dinner. And the actor clarified that he didn't just say that because he's currently promoting "Reunion Dinner".

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lawrence Wong 王冠逸 (@ohohlawrence)

"The food is so much better and there are prawns that are as big as my palm and wow, I didn't know prawns of this size exist," he said.

The Malaysian-born actor also treasures the memories of playing with firecrackers and being in awe of the fireworks display back in his hometown, especially since his mother passed away in 2016.

"My parents would use the joss stick to light up the firecrackers and running quickly. The image of seeing your parents behaving like kids again, that's really stuck in my head. Now even though my mother passed away, whenever reunion dinner ends, I will always think of her lighting up the firecrackers and giggling as she runs away."

Still need to buy some CNY goodies... and underwear

With Chinese New Year just mere weeks away at the time of the interview, I wondered if he had started his preparations.

His answer? A sheepish “No.”

The busy actor said that he'll try to start preparing after the wave of "Reunion Dinner" promotions.

"We usually do it just... by buying new underwear, stock[ing] up my house a bit with some Chinese New Year goodies even though I don't really eat them. It's just nice to see them there."

Generous boss

We assume that he has at least prepared some, ahem, generous red packets.

And by “generous”, we don’t mean S$50 or even S$100.

In a video interview with the cast of “Reunion Dinner”, fellow actress Xiang Yun said that she heard from a friend in China that they give red packets worth the equivalent of S$50.


She then asked Wong if he has faced a similar experience.

His shocking revelation: Since he earned “a little more” in the past year, he may be giving his staff a S$3,000 red packet this year.

In response, other interviewees joked that they wanted to work for Wong as well.

"It depends on the income for the year!" the actor added as a disclaimer.

When asked if he expected that part of the video to gain a lot of media mention, Wong laughed and said "not at all".

He elaborated:

"I wasn't trying to brag but I just think in China, there's this tradition... Especially after 'Yanxi Palace' came out, they [his staff] were working so hard. I remember I was traveling to one city a day and the team that works with you literally are on the road with you. So Chinese New Year is a way for me to give back to them."

While he spares no expense when it comes to giving red packets, Wong believes that the amount doesn't matter when he's on the receiving end.

In fact, he doesn't even use or take out the money from the red packet as it means a lot to him.

"Now that I get less and less ang pow, the act of receiving red packets is much more significant than what's inside. The last few years, the only ang pows I receive are from my parents, especially before my mum passed away. So I will not use the money. I won't even take it out of the packet, I will just keep it."

"Reunion Dinner" is now screening in Singapore cinemas.

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Top image from "Reunion Dinner" and @ohohlawrence on Instagram.