Ntv7 talk show co-host Grace Ng

This news­reader and up-and-com­ing ac­tress is out to get young peo­ple’s at­ten­tion with a new talk show.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By SETO KIT YAN sky­seto@thes­tar.com.my

WHAT if I told you that the pretty lass an­chor­ing the English news and host­ing a youth pro­gramme on Ntv7 was a mod­ern-day Malaysian witch?

The gal in ques­tion is Grace Ng Fei Fen, a grad­u­ate of Aus­tralia’s Monash Uni­ver­sity who took sev­eral in­trigu­ing sub­jects to spice up her school life. “One of the sub­jects was Witch­craft In The Mod­ern World. An­other was Love, Sex And Fem­i­nism,” Ng said in a re­cent in­ter­view at Me­nara Star in Petaling Jaya, Se­lan­gor.

Is there re­ally a Hog­warts School Of Witch­craft And Wizardry in our midst? Laugh­ing, she clar­i­fied: “It’s ac­tu­ally an an­thro­pol­ogy sub­ject. A lot of peo­ple think we cast spells or what­ever. But it’s about how peo­ple hunt for witches back in those days.”

Asked about her home­town and the 25year-old had an­other in­ter­est­ing story to share. “My par­ents ac­tu­ally drove all the way back just be­fore my birth just so the cert would say Malacca. But I grew up in Kuala Lumpur. So did my par­ents and sib­lings.”

For over a year now, Ng has been as­sis­tant pro­ducer for Ntv7’s prime­time evening news bul­letin 7 Edi­tion, on which she dou­bles as a news­reader. Be­fore that, she was a news­reader and pro­ducer at ra­dio sta­tion BFM 89.9.

Start­ing to­day, view­ers will also see her in a new talk show called Cube with host-ac­tor Adrian Jalaludin, 25. Com­pris­ing 13 weekly half-hour episodes, Cube is a youth-ori­ented pro­gramme that of­fers the lat­est in­for­ma­tion on youth ac­tiv­i­ties be­sides pro­vid­ing them a plat­form to voice out on is­sues in an in­for­mal set­ting.

The show’s ti­tle im­plies “find­ing a way out” and thus, chal­leng­ing peo­ple to think out of the (TV) box.

This lat­est project is some­thing close to Ng’s heart.

“I read in the news­pa­pers re­cently that Datuk Seri Tony Fer­nan­des (AirAsia CEO) said Malaysian youth are ac­tu­ally a sup­pressed lot who have lots to say. Even be­fore he said this, I had felt the same way. We have a lot of opin­ions, though our lead­ers may say oth­er­wise and think our youths are too busy club­bing or watch­ing MTV. To me, that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth,” said Ng.

“I al­ways post stuff on my Face­book ac­count about cur­rent af­fairs be­cause I work on news on a day-to-day ba­sis. And I used to get quite emo­tional over cer­tain things. Those posts got a lot of com­ments and peo­ple used that as a plat­form for de­bate. Young peo­ple seemed to be more in­ter­ested in talk­ing about cur­rent af­fairs in the coun­try than self-in­dul­gent mat­ters.

“My friends were all in­ter­ested in such dis­cus­sion. Ev­ery­one had a strong opin­ion as well,” said the pas­sion­ate host.

“So Cube is a good way for our lead­ers and adults in gen­eral to find out what’s on the minds of our youth, and also for the youth to know that they are be­ing heard,” she added.

Shoot­ing on a weekly ba­sis to keep the is­sues fresh, Ng is also glad that the show al­lows her the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore dif­fer­ent topics. “For the first episode, we talked about teenage preg­nancy and baby-dump­ing. Af­ter that we cov­ered the Malaysian ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and Gen-Y vs Baby Boomers at work.”

One of the seg­ments in the show en­tails the hosts go­ing out of the stu­dio to learn some­thing new and they have ended up do­ing silat, cy­cling, tap danc­ing, and bak­ing cup­cakes. In­ter­est­ingly, while Adrian learnt to make cup­cakes, Ng went for silat lessons with an in­struc­tor called Ma­h­aguru (Mas­ter) Azlan Ghani in Se­ta­pak, Kuala Lumpur.

Ng, who also has a deep in­ter­est in the­atre, used to take to the stage dur­ing her school days. She has per­formed in Tay­lor’s Col­lege restag­ing of Hip-Hopera, KLPac’s A Christ­mas Carol, Masakini’s 24-hr The­atre, and KLPac’s Short+Sweet: Age-De­fy­ing Tricks For Women, to name a few. More re­cently, she dab­bled in film as well. She can been seen in the lo­cal in­die flick The Joshua Tapes, a tale of friend­ship among a group of young peo­ple set in Kuala Lumpur. Di­rected by the UK-based Arivind Abra­ham and Benji Lim, the dram­edy re­volves around five school friends from dif­fer­ent back­grounds – Ryan (Phoon Chi Ho), Reza (Baki Zainal), Ajeet (Matthew Ho), Joshua (Al­fred Loh) and Sam (Ng).

Ng re­vealed that her role in The Joshua Tapes was not planned and was done as more of a favour for a friend. “The girl orig­i­nally slated to play Sam pulled out and they called me at the last minute. I sat down for a quick au­di­tion with the di­rec­tor and then joined the cast.”

Prior to the movie, Ng has had ex­pe­ri­ence act­ing in short films.

“In sec­ondary school, ev­ery­one liked to come up to me when­ever they needed en­ter­tain­ment by ask­ing me to im­i­tate a teacher or some­one. I’d oblige. When my friends went on to study film-mak­ing, some of them would call me to act in their short films. And I’d do it for free.”

For­tu­nately for her, those favours have stood her in good stead in her fu­ture un­der­tak­ings. n Cube airs on Ntv7 ev­ery Thurs­day, 8.30pm-9pm, start­ing to­day. Those who are in­ter­ested in shar­ing their opin­ions on the show can email cubentv7@gmail.com.

Win­some: Grace Ng – Ntv7 news­caster, TV host, ac­tress – is glad to be in­volved in Cube as she be­lieves that Malaysian youth have some strong opin­ions and lots to say.

Grace Ng plays Sam in lo­cal fea­ture film

The Joshua Tapes. She was roped in at the last minute af­ter the girl who was sup­posed to star in it pulled out.

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