Filled with gratefulness, not regret

ST PHOTO: MARCUS TANG

The recent furore over the motorbike mishap she was involved in has taught actress Rui En to be grateful and learn how to forgive herself

The repentant stance that Rui En adopted at the recent Star Awards, where she apologised for an incident in which she drove and knocked over a parked motorcycle, continued at a press conference on Tuesday for a new Channel 8 drama.

The fantasy melodrama is titled If Only I Could... and its protagonists are given a second chance to go back in time to change their lives for the better.

Rui En, 35, says: "Who doesn't want second chances? Who doesn't want to go back in time, amend mistakes and do the right thing? Such sentiments are especially heartfelt for me now."

The actress was flamed last month for her behaviour in the traffic incident, where she asked the motorbike owner, "Do you know who I am?"

She later clarified that she was telling him that she would not run away without taking responsibility for what she had done.

Be it mistakes or success, be it peak or hell, whatever we go through makes us who we are today.

RUI EN, who says she does not know how she would handle differently the incident in which she knocked over a parked motorcycle with her car

Asked how she would handle the situation differently if she were given a second chance, she says she does not know.

"Honestly, I'm in a dilemma. Be it mistakes or success, be it peak or hell, whatever we go through makes us who we are today," she says.

"Initially I thought if I could go back in time, I would definitely do so - not just to half a year ago, but to the time I was a baby. I wanted to start anew. Then I realised that going through suffering may change a person for the better."

She says she has learnt two lessons from the episode: to be grateful and to forgive herself.

"I never expected the unconditional concern, love and help given to me by my family, friends and colleagues. It has taught me not to take the people by my side for granted. I want to give back the love that they've showered on me during this period."

A self-professed perfectionist, she says she has been heaping blame on herself since the incident and vomited at the Star Awards last month because stress triggered an existing gastric ailment.

"I've realised that I need to adjust (my mindset). I need to learn how to forgive myself and not put too much blame on myself. It has been tough," she says.

Another problem she is facing - her inability to shed the extra weight she gained to play the dowdy character Zhen Hao in If Only I Could....

"I'm not young anymore. After I hit 30 years old, my metabolism rate slowed. Now I don't lose weight as fast as before," says Rui En, who gained about 7kg. She does not know how much of that extra weight she has lost because she is afraid of weighing herself.

"I've always felt that stepping on the weighing scale is very demoralising, especially when you find out you didn't lose as much as you had expected to. I find it counterproductive."

She is fighting back against talk about her chubbier face, though. "Women go through a lot. We get criticised for ageing or putting on weight. Why is society putting so much emphasis on physical appearance? This shouldn't be the case."


• If Only I Could... premieres on Channel 8 on May 31 at 9pm. It airs on weekdays at 9pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2016, with the headline 'Filled with gratefulness, not regret'. Print Edition | Subscribe