ST, Aug 6, 2006
Popular getai compere Ah Nan arrested by CNB
By Chong Chee Kin
PART-TIME actor Zhong Yaonan, well-known for playing thugs in television skits and local movies, has been arrested by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).
Zhong, more popularly known as Ah Nan, was picked up in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 on Thursday night while he was hosting a getai.
The 45-year-old compere was one of 124 suspected drug offenders nabbed in a 24-hour CNB operation.
At press time, he had not been charged with any offence.
Zhong shot to fame playing a loan shark in Jack Neo's movie Money No Enough in 1998. He then played a gangster in Neo's subsequent movie, Liang Po Po: The Movie, a year later.
Friends and colleagues were surprised at his arrest.
Getai organiser Tan Chew Lee, 59, of Cheong Xing Roadshow, said he had worked with Zhong for more than a decade and had never heard any news or rumours about him using drugs.
'He's a very professional compere. He's very loyal. Once he says he will host a certain show, he will keep his word even if other people offer him more money to do otherwise,' he said.
Veteran getai organiser Peter Loh, 54, from Whirltones Entertainments Enterprise, described Zhong as a competent and energetic host.
Both Mr Loh and Mr Tan have engaged Zhong to host getais over the next few weeks and both said they will stand by him.
'As long as he can come and perform for us, we would still want him to be our compere,' Mr Loh said.
Zhong, who married twice, has three daughters aged between 10 and 23.
His wife, who spoke to Lianhe Zaobao, said her husband called her to say he had been taken to a drug rehabilitation centre.
'He said he did not take drugs. He told me someone could have spiked his food or drinks and he had no idea what happened,' she said.
She claimed her husband's drink had been spiked once before, several years ago.
'I told him not to accept drinks or food from strangers, but he said he could not refuse because being in the entertainment line, he could not afford to be rude,' she said.
# See and hear Ah Nan perform in Stompcast at http://www.stomp.com.sg
'He said he did not take drugs. He told me someone could have spiked his food or drinks and he had no idea what happened.'
- WIFE OF PART-TIME ACTOR ZHONG YAONAN
'He's a very professional compere. He's very loyal. Once he says he will host a certain show, he will keep his word even if other people offer him more money to do otherwise.'
GETAI ORGANISER TAN CHEW LEE
'As long as he can come and perform for us, we would still want him to be our compere.'
GETAI ORGANISER PETER LOH
ST, Aug 7, 2006
Ah Nan tested positive for drugs
Urine sample sent for confirmation, results should be out in two weeks' time
By MEDIA REPORTER, Hazel Yong
ACTOR and getai singer-compere Zhong Yaonan may be released from Sembawang Drug Rehabilitation Centre on Friday, a Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) spokesman said yesterday.
The spokesman said that Zhong, 45, had tested positive for controlled drugs amphetamine and benzodiazepine after his arrest last Thursday night.
Amphetamine is the name of a broad category of drugs including Ecstasy and Ice, while benzodiazepine drugs include Erimin-5.
His urine sample has been sent to the Health Sciences Authority for confirmation and the report should be ready in about two weeks' time.
If he is found guilty of consuming drugs, he will be charged and will have to undergo at least a six-month rehabilitation programme, said the spokesman.
Zhong, more popularly known as Ah Nan, shot to fame playing a loan shark in Jack Neo's movie Money No Enough in 1998. Before entering showbiz, he worked in several jobs including as a cook and car mechanic.
He was one of 124 suspected drug offenders nabbed in a 24-hour CNB operation.
He was arrested at about 11pm after he hosted a Seventh Month Festival getai (concert) at Block 536, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10.
He was led away by officers after the crowd had dispersed. He was the only performer at the getai to be arrested.
Sun Qiang, 36, who was hosting the getai with Ah Nan that night, said yesterday: 'His reaction during our banter seemed a tad slower than usual but I didn't think much of it.'
Zhong's wife said yesterday that her three daughters, aged 14, 11 and 10, were very upset about the arrest and that the youngest one had been crying.
'I have to tell her to be good and be quiet like my two other daughters,' said the wife, who did not want to be named. 'She would then go and pray to the Goddess of Mercy figurine we have at home for his safe return.'
The close-knit getai circuit has been abuzz with news of the arrest.
Chan Ah Eng, a former Hokkien opera troupe performer, told Life! yesterday: 'I have known him for over a decade and I have never once heard or saw him taking any illicit drugs.'
Chan, 63, is the mother of popular getai duo the Ming Zhu Sisters.
Choo Leng Leng, the elder of the Ming Zhu Sisters, said that female performers have cried while discussing the arrest.
'Ah Nan looks like a gangster but he has a heart of gold,' she said, adding that she and fellow getai performer Liu Lingling 'both lost our appetites at supper yesterday and cried because we were so worried about him'.
Zhong's arrest follows the much-publicised death of getai star Chen Jinlang on July 25, the first day of the lunar seventh month, or what some Chinese regard as the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Chen, 45, died after a battle with cancer, and his family held an eight-day wake attended by many getai performers.
Zhong and Chen were god-brothers, and the latter's family had given Zhong nine of the late singer's flamboyant jackets as a keepsake.
At Thursday's getai concert before his arrest, Zhong had donned the jackets.
Tan Chew Lee, a getai organiser and Chen's elder brother, said that he had engaged Zhang to perform as a host and singer for two getai shows, on Aug 9 and 12 respectively.
He said yesterday that he has found a replacement host in Huang Bihua, who is not as well-known as Zhong, for the Aug 9 event. He hopes Zhong would be released in time for the second show.
'There are few comedic singer-hosts as popular as Jinlang and Ah Nan in Singapore,' he said.
'It is really the industry's loss now that one has died and the other is remanded.'