updated 27 Nov 2013, 10:39
Login password
Wed, Nov 27, 2013
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
Fiona, where are you?
by Kwok Kar Peng

HER colleagues are puzzled. Friends claim they don't know where she is.

Her handphone has been switched off.

And her manager would only say that she went overseas early last week to attend to some personal matters.

What’s up with Fiona Xie? And where is she?

The actress’ sudden “disappearance” from the public eye and her unexpected withdrawal from the new Channel 8 drama Together mere days before filming was due to start is adding to the mystery.

Netizens have gone to town with theories on why she dropped out of the drama and the public eye.

It is unusual for an artiste to drop out of a drama so late and there’s talk that it is career suicide for her.

Her friends are suitably worried.

And I won’t be embarrassed to say this: I miss gawking at the very pretty and fashionable girl.

Could Fiona have gone to Hong Kong?

The actress, 27, has friends there, having filmed the movie Rule #1 there. Her profile at Alivenotdead, an online community for artistes and their fans, named, among others, public personalities like Race Wong, Andrew Lin and Wing Shya, all based in Hong Kong.

Or could she have jetted off to Europe again?

When The New Paper contacted Fiona in late May, she said she was in Paris.

She added that she was on an “artiste’s sabbatical” and had gone to Cannes for the film festival and Monaco for F1.

Or maybe she’s back home. Someone claimed to have seen her shopping at Bugis the other day and alerted the media.

It seems a pity that she has dropped out of Together.

Many industry insiders had said that the role would have been a career saver for Fiona.

She spent most of the past two years in shows on Channel 5, where viewership ratings aren’t as high as Channel 8’s, leading to allegations that she was being denied meaty roles by MediaCorp.

Eelyn Kok now takes over her part in Together.

Fiona’s friends and colleagues in MediaCorp are still clueless as to why she packed up and left so suddenly.

They are also worried.

Veteran actor Huang Wenyong, who played Fiona’s father in the 2008 drama Just In Singapore, said that his fatherly instinct extends beyond his two grown-up children.
“Fiona still calls me papa when she sees me. I worry and wonder what problems she has and how serious they are,” he told me.

He said he didn’t dare ask about her at work in case he was seen as “ba gua” (nosey in Mandarin).

Actor Elvin Ng is another concerned friend. He and Fiona were in the 2007 drama Happily Ever After and were slated to be co-stars in Together.

The 29-year-old said that Fiona is a loyal friend and they hung out a lot after he had a leg operation last year.

“I hope she has a valid and pressing reason for this. And I really hope she is fine too health-wise, and that she can come out of this generally unscathed in terms of work, health and her personal life.”

Nothing amiss

By all accounts, Fiona seemed fine before she disappeared. Artistes The New Paper spoke to did not spot anything amiss.

Malaysian actor Bong Cheng Tzuu, 29, who worked with her in the movie Fist Of The Dragon in Malaysia in May and June, said he didn’t see any signs that she was  troubled.

He added: “She was very cheerful on the set and very playful (which helped) to keep people relaxed.”

There has been much speculation, especially online, over why Fiona took off.

Some claim she is reacting to allegedly being put in “cold storage” (industry lingo for being denied good roles). Others say she may have received a bigger project overseas.

Yet others claim she left to be with an unknown boyfriend and that she doesn’t want to play second fiddle to Jeanette Aw, who plays the lead in Together.

But her friends have shot down all the talk.

Actor Adrian Pang, 43, Fiona’s co-star in the Channel 5 sitcom Maggie & Me, was sceptical that she would “seek revenge”.

He said: “Artistes have to chalk up a certain number of working hours for a year. So to turn down a role just for revenge is to cut your nose off to spite your face.”

He also doesn’t believe Fiona dropped the Channel 8 drama for a bigger opportunity.

He added that because the artistes are “beholden” to the station, none of them is in a position to accept external projects.

There would be serious consequences, he said, unless Fiona has managed to free herself from the contract.

Elvin agreed, saying that in his contract, any external projects would have to go through MediaCorp’s artiste management.

Could it be that Fiona didn’t like the negative role she was given in Together?

In the series, her character is materialistic and comes between the two leads played by Jeanette and Dai Yangtian.

A male artiste who asked to remain anonymous doesn’t think that was the reason because Fiona has acted as unlikeable characters before.

What about talk that she didn’t want to play second fiddle to Jeanette?

Elvin said he doesn’t think Fiona is so petty. To him, her character is still good and likeable.

She was given the role because she was best suited to play it, he said, so it would not be possible to have Jeanette and Fiona swop roles.

It has been a week since she left and her manager said she would be back in one to three weeks’ time.

Hopefully, we’ll know the full story then.

This article was first published in The New Paper

readers' comments
Posted by on Wed, 19 Aug 2009 at 20:38 PM
Fiona is now in Paradise (Tahiti).She is having great fun with her boyfriends around.

J'taime vous ...Fiona
Posted by montpaneis on Sun, 26 Jul 2009 at 11:38 AM

Copyright © 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.