Hong Kong actress Joyce Tang in high spirits

Best remembered as a cop in the police drama Armed Reaction, actress Joyce Tang will be playing a self-sacrificing sister in the TVB drama House Of Spirits

Actress Joyce Tang is a happy-go-lucky person in real life.
Actress Joyce Tang is a happy-go-lucky person in real life.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

Hong Kong actress Joyce Tang recoils in mock horror at the mention of how audiences in Singapore best remember her for her turn as the spunky cop, Chan Sam Yuen, in the hit TVB police drama, Armed Reaction.

"That means they must have watched me growing up. I'm really old now," says the 40-year-old actress half-jokingly. The popular police drama ran for four seasons between 1998 and 2004.

Fans of the show were stoked when Tang and her on-screen beau, played by actor Marco Ngai, started dating in real life after meeting on the set of the show in 1998.

They were together for nine years before they split in 2007. She is now married to business executive Matthew Chu, 45. They do not have children.

She has gained a second wind in her career recently playing the character of Po Yan, a self- sacrificial sister in the TVB family drama, House Of Spirits (2016), which premieres on the cable channel VV Drama (StarHub TV Channel 855) next month.

Fans can also catch her in the mystery drama, Presumed Accidents, which is airing on VV Drama now.

Here on a promotional tour last month, she says House Of Spirits will strike a chord with audiences because the dynamics within the dysfunctional Po family, who live under the same roof as a friendly ghost couple, are relatable.

She says: "Po Yan does not get along with her sister-in-law, which is a common problem faced by people. The drama will bring audiences vicarious satisfaction when they watch the characters vent their anger on screen."

Her supporting role in the show has won the hearts of Hong Kong viewers, who are rooting for her to receive the Best Actress honour at the annual year-end TVB Anniversary Awards in Hong Kong.

The role has also won her two nominations in next month's StarHub TVB awards in the categories of My Favourite TVB Female TV Character and My Favourite TVB Supporting Actress.

The winner is decided by the public through online voting.

On her chances of winning, she says: "I act not because I want an award. The good reception towards the character is unexpected. To me, it is enough that the audience enjoys watching the character."

1 Audiences love the on-screen chemistry between you and Hong Kong actor Bobby Au-yeung. You were his niece in Armed Reaction and you recently played his sister in House Of Spirits. What was it like working with him again?

He hasn't changed much, except that he has become more handsome. Don't you think so? Netizens dug out our old photos and I think both of us look much better now.

We were constantly joking on the set. You couldn't tell if our jokes were for real or in character when the cameras were rolling. Filming was fun. We don't need to rehearse because we already have chemistry.

2 Would you like to work with him again?

Of course. Bobby has said he'd like to play my lover the next time and I have the same thought too. He joked that he has been waiting for me to grow up, but I'm now past my prime. Still, we have such good chemistry, so why not take up the challenge of playing lovers?

3 Does it bother you that audiences remember you as cop Chan in Armed Reaction?

Not really. Without Chan, I would have no representative work. But once an actor has a representative work, people will talk about how he should avoid being typecast.

I don't want to overthink matters though. We should just live in the moment. Audiences can choose to like whichever of my characters. I like all of them.

4 What do you think is your representative work?

The audiences will pick Chan, but I would choose the plain Jane secretary BiBi from the drama, Beauty Knows No Pain (2009).

She is similar to me in real life - happy-go-lucky.

5 What do you do on your days off?

I am a homebody. I enjoy cooking and my speciality is poached chicken. Cooking is a good way to diet. After cooking, I'm usually too tired to eat.

I'm particular about maintaining the cleanliness of the house. You can't find a strand of hair on the floor and the spaces between the tiles are white. My friends will ask me out for meals, but I tell them I am busy tidying up the house.

6 Now that you are married, do you plan to have children?

If you watch me in video interviews, you will realise that I'm noisy and lively. I'm like a big kid. That's why I don't dare to have children. I don't think I can be a good example.

Also, I may get jealous of my husband showering attention on my children, especially if we have a daughter.

7 Your love life before marriage was portrayed in the media as heart- wrenching and tumultuous. Do you have advice for single women who are looking for Mr Right?

The media has to sensationalise my love life to attract readers. When one dates, there is the possibility of breaking up.

To women out there, there is someone out there meant for you. If your partner now is not the one, then the next guy may be your Mr Right. There is hope in tomorrow.

Most importantly, you should love yourself before someone can love you.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

This is a really difficult question. (Pauses) I would like to be remembered as a cheerful person.

Artists have the responsibility of bringing joy to audiences. I would like to be remembered as someone who brought joy to people.

•Presumed Accidents airs on VV Drama (StarHub TV Channel 855) on weekdays at 8pm. House Of Spirits premieres on VV Drama on Oct 15 at 9pm and airs daily at the same time.

•Voting for the StarHub TVB Awards 2016 is on at www.starhubtvb awards.com and open till Oct 16.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline 'Actress in high spirits'. Subscribe