Breaking up too easily

Ekin Cheng may star in a movie about breaking up, but he laments how young people do it so casually

In Hong Kong's 1990s entertainment scene, actor Ekin Cheng was hair, there and everywhere.

Even though his flowing locks these days are a lot shorter than his signature shoulder- length look from two decades ago, he has managed to keep them looking mighty fine at the age of 46.

His luscious head of hair is practically a co-star in his latest movie, Break Up 100, where his floppy sideswept fringe bounces and sways whenever he moves.

What is his secret to his pretty mane?

"It's probably just hereditary because I'm a lazy guy and I don't pay much attention to my hair," he says breezily in Mandarin in a telephone interview with Life! and other local media this week to promote his new film.

"Or maybe it's because I play sports. I know people who don't exercise - their blood circulation is bad and it makes their hair fall out."

In Break Up 100, now showing in cinemas, he plays Sam, a playful guy who constantly gets into quarrels with his much more level-headed girlfriend Barbara, who is portrayed by sexy modelactress Chrissie Chau.

It is a good thing thinning or receding hair woes have not plagued him or he would look incompatible with his romantic co-star Chau, who is 29.

He says: "When I found out she had been cast, I immediately worried about our huge age gap and whether people would find it strange. But after I met her, I realised there are no issues. She's mature and has personality, and I admire her because I can tell that she's a really hardworking person who takes her job seriously."

What is better known about Chau is that she is one of Hong Kong's hottest starlets due to her buxom figure. So Cheng might have deliberately played up her other qualities to divert media attention from sexy scenes in the movie such as a bath-tub scene they share.

He claims that the particular scene was no fun to shoot as it was filmed on a particularly cold day.

"What you see on the screen looks romantic, but it was actually the toughest and most painful scene to film because we were just so cold. We had to look like we were enjoying ourselves, but we only wanted the shoot to be over, so that we could get out of the water," he says, chuckling.

While middle age does not show on Cheng's face, he sounds old when commenting, with more than a hint of disapproval, on "young people" who continually break up before making up again, just like Cheng and Chau's characters in the new movie.

"My friends' young cousins or nephews always talk about breaking up with their partners as if it means nothing. They can break up one day, then get back together again two days later. And the most amazing thing is that they can just say they want to break up over SMS messages, instead of face to face.

"These young people are so different from people of my generation. I would never do such things," he says frankly.

In 2006, Cheng had a clean split with his longtime ex-girlfriend, singer-actress Gigi Leung. He is now married to actress Yoyo Mung, 41, while Leung, 38, is wedded to a Spanish executive named Sergio Crespo Gutes.

Before Cheng tied the knot with Mung in a surprise ceremony last year, many people thought that he would never settle down as he was known for dating his girlfriends, including actress Maggie Shiu, for a long time without popping the question.

He says: "People judge too much and too easily about celebrities' lives. Whether relationships work out depends on the two persons' interaction with each other and it depends a little on their fates too. You can't really generalise these things."

yipwy@sph.com.sg

Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

Break Up 100 is showing in cinemas.