Fondly dubbed the Singaporean version of South Korean hit drama Descendants Of The Sun, When Duty Calls has similarly taken the republic island by storm to become one of its Top 10 dramas of the year.
When Duty Calls, a drama about military reservists was shot to commemorate 50 years of National Service in Singapore. The series is available on dimsum. Recently, the stars of the drama series – Pierre Png, Desmond Tan and Paige Chua – were in Petaling Jaya to grace the launch of dimsum’s Celebrate Asia at Sunway Pyramid.
As the only rose among the thorns, Chua says: “The drama helps us understand how our brothers and our fathers have to make sacrifices for the country and appreciate them for it.”
Chua said she welcomed such a physical role as she can convincingly handle action scenes due to her sports background.
In the drama, she had four major fight scenes. She doubled her gym-going time from two days a week to four days a week in preparation for the scenes. “They also taught me how to fight, because I had no prior experience in such action scenes,” said Chua, who looked so good in military garb that it has reportedly helped boost the numbers of female officers, which has increased since the drama started airing in Singapore.
Tan, who portrays a military reservist, also attributed the popularity of the action-packed series to the uniform. “Whether for male or female, the uniform is a major part of the magic,” Tan said. “I feel it is because the training provides leadership qualities and it shows, so people are suitably impressed,” stressed Png, who says it has been four to five years since he last wore the uniform and used camo makeup.
The tough part, Png quipped, is keeping the camo makeup as “clean” as possible. “This is acting, so we have to look nice. So, when we were shooting action scenes, and sweat gets in our eyes, we have to refrain from wiping our eyes, because that would smudge the camo makeup.”
During the shoot, Tan said he felt a renewed sense of respect for female soldiers as the military training was very tough. Png, who plays a military reservist with a chip on his shoulder, concluded with: “We feel honoured to be doing this for our country.”