Dasmond Koh: No-dating rule for his proteges

Discipline master with no-dating rule

NoonTalk Media's Dasmond Koh (second from left) with the agency's artists (from left) Kimberly Chia, Aloysius Pang and Xu Bin.
NoonTalk Media's Dasmond Koh (second from left) with the agency's artists (from left) Kimberly Chia, Aloysius Pang and Xu Bin.PHOTO: DASMOND KOH

Company: NoonTalk Media

The boss: Dasmond Koh, aka The Discipline Master

Inspiration behind the agency's name: The entertainment industry is often the topic of conversation among people. The name was conceptualised by Koh's friend during a chat one afternoon.

Talents: Five actors and an actor-singer. The biggest stars are the dashing TV duo Aloysius Pang, 25, and Xu Bin, 26, who are familiar faces on Channel 8 dramas.

They are also part of the TV station's anointed 8 Dukes, a special group of eight actors who are promoted by MediaCorp.

No dating. That is the rule for rookies signed to NoonTalk Media.

The agency's frontman Dasmond Koh, 43, has witnessed how newbies have wasted opportunities due to romantic distractions during the crucial formative years.

The bachelor says: "Your girlfriend or boyfriend will want a piece of your time in your hectic schedule. If you can't commit, problems happen, you're emotionally affected and you can't perform well. People can feel it when you are not giving your 100 per cent.

"You may say I'm autocratic. Rookies need to be able to take instructions without much questioning at the start of their career. They do not know much about the industry yet."

Instead, the strict mentor believes that time can be better spent on enrichment lessons - vocal, dance, martial arts and foreign languages. These skills could come in handy for future acting roles or charity show performances.

His talents are not mere products to him. Koh gets them to make contingency plans should their show business career not pan out.

The savvy Koh, who runs four businesses, including a diving school and a retail shop, dishes out investment advice. Laidback Xu gets extra supervision - Koh funnels a portion of his salary into another savings account.

Koh's proteges say they know he has their best interests at heart.

Pang, who got to know Koh when they starred together in the 2003 Channel 8 medical drama A Child's Hope, made a comeback to show business in Koh's movie Timeless Love (2012).

Pang says: "Dasmond is the reason I came into this industry. I owe my entire career to him.

"Despite his busy schedule, he has spent much time, effort and money on us. I have no plans to leave him."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2015, with the headline 'Discipline master with no-dating rule'. Print Edition | Subscribe