Bookends

Actor and TV presenter Zachary Ibrahim is in Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo and Mata Mata.
Actor and TV presenter Zachary Ibrahim is in Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo and Mata Mata. PHOTO: JON CANCIO

Who: Zachary Ibrahim, 25, actor and TV presenter

As a newcomer, he earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination at this year's M1-The Straits Times Life Theatre Awards for his role as a loutish, brash man unable to conceal his disdain for a plus-sized woman in Pangdemonium's production of the Neil LaBute play, Fat Pig.

Zachary, a former animal trainer and presenter at the Night Safari's Creatures of the Night show, also recently appeared in another Neil Labute play, Bash.

Catch him in action in Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph, which runs from Wednesday to Saturday at the DBS Arts Centre. Tickets are available from Sistic.

He also stars in an episode of the new season of Channel 5 police drama Mata Mata, which premieres next month.

What are you reading now?

I'm reading Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography. I have been a big Manchester United fan for as long as I can remember.

So many of us struggle to manage our own egos and expectations, but Sir Alex handles his and those of so many highly- paid superstars for decades without compromising on results.

I have Sir Alex on my list of "5 people I'd love to have lunch with". Since that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, this book in his own unminced words will have to do for now.

What books would you save from a burning house?

I would save Jack Kerouac's On The Road. I read it when I was still holding a full-time job at the Night Safari in 2013.

Reading about his adventures with the crazy faces of America's beat generation reminded me to chase experiences instead of material gain in this short life.

I cannot go as far as saying this book is the reason I chose this uncertain path for a career, but I remember sitting at work, reading about Sal just upping and leaving for somewhere else again with just a couple of dollars in his wallet and thinking to myself: "Hey, you just gotta do it".

The other book I'd save is one I read just last month - The Art Of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli. I brought it with me for a four-day shoot in Penang for Mata Mata and finished it by the time I got home.

This book is a list of cognitive biases that you and I have and act on every day. 

The entries in the book - I call them entries instead of chapters because there are 99 of them, two or three pages long each - are wonderfully crafted.

Each entry explains a simple error humans tend to make, a wonderfully realistic situation where you'd make such an error, the illogical and often instinctual reason why we make it and how to recognise and avoid making the mistake.

It is fascinating for anyone interested in learning more about himself and the people around him. I borrowed the book from a friend and he would probably be upset if I let it burn.


• Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography ($36.95, 2014, Hodder & Stoughton) and The Art Of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli ($16.05, 2014, Harper Paperbacks) are available from Books Kinokuniya. On The Road by Jack Kerouac ($17.45, 2012, Penguin Books) is available from Amazon.com.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe