Juggling heavy getai schedule and childcare duties is no problem for Liu Lingling

(From left) Jacko Chiang, Liu Lingling, Jesseca Liu at a press session to promote upcoming horror flick Bring Back The Dead. -- PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE
(From left) Jacko Chiang, Liu Lingling, Jesseca Liu at a press session to promote upcoming horror flick Bring Back The Dead. -- PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

As a mother for the first time during the Chinese Hungry Ghost period, veteran getai host Liu Lingling should be exhausted, given that she has to work every night this month.

But the 51-year-old, whose son will be one year old next month, says: "I've wanted to be a mother for so long, and now that I am one, there's really nothing that can make me feel tired.

"When you have so much love for your baby, how can you feel tired? Even after I return home after a long night of work at a getai show, and my baby wakes up and wants to be fed, I'll be more than happy to do it. I see it only as having more time to spend with my son."

Liu was speaking to Life! on Friday at a press session to promote her upcoming horror flick Bring Back The Dead. In the film, she plays a confinement nanny, who forms a close bond with Jia En (Jesseca Liu), a young mother who is distraught when her son dies in a car accident.

Liu says she was a lot more exhausted during the same Hungry Ghost period last year, when she had been pregnant - in secret - and filming the movie Everybody's Business all at the same time.

"Last year, I would be filming the movie in the day, and then hosting getai shows at night - all while being very pregnant. So that was a lot tougher. This getai season is no problem for me - at least I get to rest in the day," she says with a chuckle.

Sitting beside her at this interview is Everybody's Business director Lee Thean-jeen, who also helms Bring Back The Dead.

He says sheepishly: "If I had known she was eight months pregnant while filming my movie last year, I would not have made her do so many takes. But Lingling is really a professional, and worked really hard."

Liu, who does not talk about her marital status, had reportedly kept her pregnancy a secret as she did not want anyone to feel disappointed should anything have gone wrong with it. She made headlines for giving birth to her boy, whom she calls Xiang Xiang, at the age of 50.

The baby was conceived via in vitro fertilisation (IVF), though she has declined to reveal the identity of the father. It was her second attempt at artificial insemination, after the first ended in a miscarriage in 2011.

"I'm just very happy being a mother, you know? And I can tell everyone is very interested in my son. Everywhere I go, the first question that people ask me is no longer 'How are you?', but 'How is your baby doing?'"

The film also stars Taiwanese actor-host Jacko Chiang Wei-wen, 42, as Jia En's increasingly frustrated and impatient husband.

He is also a new parent - he and his wife Lisa Kao have a one-year-old son Jackson - but says he and Liu did not exchange any parenting tips.

"We didn't even get the chance to get past the point of my utter shock about her being a new parent, to talk about tips. When she said that she has a son, I assumed that he would already be in high school.

"When I found out that he's just an infant, I couldn't believe it. It's just incredible so I ended up asking all sorts of questions about her and her well-being, rather than about how to raise kids. Looking at Liu Lingling as inspiration, I told my wife that we could wait for quite a while on the second child."

Bring Back The Dead, which was shot for a budget of $1.1 million over 19 days in June, is slated for release either later this year or early next year.