She's afraid of heights, yet actress Fann Wong has always wanted to fly a plane. Who would thought it, muses AZLINDA SAID
wants to take flying lessons
YOU’RE AFRAID OF HEIGHTS?
FANN: When I was a child, I hated to go on rides like the Viking (a big boat which swings from side to side with increasing speed while suspended in the air), but I thought it was because I was young and feeling scared. But when I became an actress and had to perform stunts like walking a tightrope during charity shows, I realised that I have a fear of heights.
DESPITE THIS PHOBIA, YOU WANT TO LEARN HOW TO FLY A PLANE…
FANN: To be able to fly a plane and be alone in the sky – that’s the ultimate escape for me. When I need to clear my mind, I jump into my car and drive around alone at night – I wish I could do the same with a plane so I can escape into the sky any time and see the world from a different perspective.
WHY NOT JUST DO EXTREME SPORTS LIKE SKYDIVING?
FANN: While filming a travelogue in South Africa, I tried gorge jumping, which is similar to bungee jumping. I was reluctant to try it at first, but I thought we should show our viewers what it was about. So I jumped – although my handlers had to push me off. That was the closest I came to trying to overcome my fear of heights. It was definitely my first and last time gorge jumping.
DESCRIBE THE EXPERIENCE.
FANN: The moment I stepped off the gorge, everything seemed to be in slow motion. My surroundings were so quiet, the tiniest noise was magnified. I could hear the wind in my ears as the scenery flew by. Before I knew it, I’d reached the bottom of the gorge.
I felt so happy after the jump, like I was walking on air. It gave me such an adrenalin rush. But if I had to do another travelogue and jump out of a plane to skydive, I wouldn’t do it. I’d just load up on caffeine and get my rush there instead!
YOUR FEAR OF HEIGHTS HASN’T STOPPED YOU FROM BEING AN AVID TRAVELLER. WHICH PLACE WOULD YOU VISIT MORE THAN ONCE?
FANN: Everybody should go to the Maldives at least once in their lives – it’s one of my favourite destinations. It’s very romantic. Everything feels different – the sea, the sun, even the air. You feel transported into your own private space where you can calm down and relax. My only concern is the sun – Maldives being a beach paradise, it would take me about half a year to get rid of my tan! (Laughs)
YOU’VE TRAVELLED TO CHINA COUNTLESS TIMES FOR WORK. ANY TIPS ON MUST-SEE PLACES THERE?
FANN: Xinjiang, for the beautiful scenery. The place is big though, and you’d need a few months to travel to both the northern and southern parts, although I’ve heard the south isn’t that safe. When I was filming there, I visited the border near Kazakhstan and even Russia – we were surrounded by mountains and I was touched by the abundance of nature.
There’s a place called Mogui Cheng (Demon City), filled with earth mounds of varying heights, some as tall as 10 metres. You can also stop by Kansai Nature Reserve – legend has it that a monster lives in the lake there.
IT SEEMS YOU LIKE PLACES WITH NATURAL LANDSCAPES – ANOTHER FORM OF ESCAPE FOR YOU?
FANN: I’ve liked peace and quiet since I was a child – the quieter, the better. I can stay at home for a few days and just do nothing. Once you’ve immersed yourself in a “back-to-basics” environment, where you’re not bothered by phone calls and can be alone, you’ll realise there are a lot of things you’ve taken for granted in your daily life, and you’ll find beauty in all the little things.