Chincilla poop comes up aces
Though it peed and pooped on her, local actress Jeanette Aw insists that working with this "co-star" on her new Channel U drama Let It Go was "a joy".
It helps that Ace, a seven-year-old white male chinchilla, looks adorable.
In the show, which premieres tonight at 10pm, Aw plays Yan Neo, a fashionable single blogger known for baring her break-up experiences and shaming her exes online.
Ace plays a supporting role as her beloved pet, given to her by an ex-boyfriend. Yan Neo keeps it in the hope that he will get together with her again.
The story also involves a love rectangle involving characters played by Elvin Ng (below), Mindee Ong and Cavin Soh.
In an interview with TNP earlier this month at the press conference for Let It Go, Aw said: "It was not my first time working with an animal, but the first time being so happy working with an animal. (Ace) is very cute, very mild-mannered, and can stand on two legs!
"Whenever I saw it on set, I just smiled to myself. It was a joy working with it."
She added that Ace seemed to "know when the cameras were rolling" and would "somehow just look at the camera".
And Aw did not seem to mind Ace pooping on her hands and body , which happened whenever she carried him or when they were filming scenes.
The 35-year-old recounted: "It pooped pellets which were dry and not smelly. It was the pee (that got to me)!
"I had to run to the toilet and dry myself immediately with a hair dryer. But it happened just once."
Ace belongs to Mr Patrick Teng, 45, who owns House of Chinchilla, a pet shop which also sells rabbits, guinea pigs and Syrian hamsters.
Mr Teng trains all his chinchillas to stand on their hind legs and hold things such as namecards and red packets.
He said: "Ace is very obedient and cooperative. When they approached me for a chinchilla (for the show), I gave them two to choose from.
"But they chose Ace because it suited the criteria best. They wanted a chinchilla that looked a bit like a panda bear with a little (bit of) black fur."
Ace had never been part of any commercial engagement or television show before Let It Go; neither was it particularly trained for a showbiz career.
Each chinchilla has its own personality, Mr Teng said.
"Some are more active, while some, like Ace, are more on the quiet side," he explained.
During the period of filming, Ace stayed either on set or in the office of WaWa Pictures, the company that produced Let It Go, for about three months.
"I didn't have to go down very often as chinchillas are quite independent and Ace was very 'guai' (Mandarin for well-behaved)," said Mr Teng.
When asked if she would keep gifts from her exes like her on-screen character does, Aw, who has been dating a Caucasian known only as Marcus for eight years, said: "I don't keep them... I throw them away. (But if it's) a chinchilla, I guess I'll return it.
"I think it's important to move on after a relationship, so keeping things might hold you back."
(Ace) is very cute, very mild-mannered, and can stand on two legs! Whenever I saw it on set, I just smiled to myself. It was a joy working with it.
- Jeanette Aw, on her furry co-star, a chinchilla named Ace