The stars of Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen spill the beans on each other at our exclusive TNP Hangout live chat
Parting is indeed such sweet sorrow.
The four leads of Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen are finally disbanding after being together as a unit for more than three years.
Maxi Lim, Joshua Tan, Tosh Zhang and Wang Weiliang, who are affectionately known as the Ah Boys, opened up to fans about their arduous training for their final Ah Boys To Men movie during TNP Hangout, an exclusive live chat organised by The New Paper and Golden Village Pictures on Monday night.
The quartet also disclosed some personal secrets and talked about bidding farewell to the Jack Neo local film franchise that made them household names.
Throughout the 45-minute chat session, one could sense firsthand the tight bond the local actors have forged, as friendly insults were hurled fast and furious at one other.
Fans were invited to send their questions to The New Paper before and also during the live chat.
"This is such a fun experience," said Zhang, 27.
"We've done so many meet-the-fans sessions and this is the first time we're trying out this type of hangout."
Added Wang, 27: "We may not be able to see our fans personally, but I think it works out better for them as they don't feel so shy, so they actually dare to ask questions."
Three female fans also won the chance to engage in special one-on-one video calls with the Ah Boys.
Student Esther Foo, 15, was so shy she covered her face with her hands, an action that was mimicked by her idols.
When 15-year-old student Quek Yee Ling received the news that she had been chosen, "it was like receiving a message from God!".
She gushed: "It's so nice that Tosh would take time to talk to us."
Seeing the boys up close was especially memorable for Ong Sin Faye, 19, a student, because she is from Johor Baru and could not attend most of the promotional events held here.
When the Malaysian showed off her drawing of her favourite Ah Boy (Zhang), she was teased by the others for not producing their portraits too.
She said: "I've seen them from afar at the promo events of The Lion Men 1 & 2 at KSL City Mall. This live chat offers me a personalised experience with them."
She was not the only foreigner excited about the third instalment, which opens here on Feb 19.
Comments and questions from more than 200 fans also came from Taiwan, Australia and Spain.
A Taiwanese fan asked the guys if Frogmen will be released in her country as both Ah Boys To Men Part 1 and 2 were screened there.
The actors were touched by the overwhelming response.
"Our fans are the best!" Tan, 24, exclaimed when a question was posed about what they thought of their fans.
"I never knew anyone would like me," he added, laughing.
Zhang had similar sentiments, sharing how they once asked themselves why people would buy tickets to watch them.
"We're a bunch of nobodies. Jack Neo's movies are known to have famous people like Mark Lee, Henry Thia...we were very worried."
Added Tan: "Yes, we were very worried that Ah Boys To Men would be a big flop.
"We are very thankful to every fan."
"They are our friends," Wang interrupted in Mandarin.
The foursome also answered questions about one other, posed by The New Paper in a game called BFF Tag.
For instance, they all had the same answer to which is Tan's favourite place in the world (Australia).
Zhang's answer was a more generic "home", but the Melbourne-born Singapore-raised Tan gave it a pass as he does call Australia home.
Interesting tidbits were also revealed during another game called I Have Never.
For instance, Zhang is terrified of horror movies and even sleeps with the light on after watching one. He cited Japanese movie Ju-On and Thai flick Shutter as the scariest he has seen.
All four also admitted they have cheated in school tests or examinations one way or another, and that they had nursed major crushes on their school teachers.
"That's what got me through secondary school!" Lim, 27, said, laughing.
"I had a crush on my (secondary school) chemistry teacher," Zhang revealed sheepishly.
"Biology teacher...hmm...next question!" Tan disclosed, laughing as he turned a slight shade of pink.
They also insisted they would never ever steal a friend's girl.
"Integrity!" Wang declared, pumping his chest.
The Ah Boys also reflected on how Frogmen was their most challenging work and how filming was "really tough".
The third instalment of the successful Ah Boys To Men movies focuses on the tough training that trainees of the Naval Diving Unit go through to become elite frogmen.
Said Lim: "We had to carry this 80kg boat over our heads and run from morning to evening. Eventually, we told our boss (Neo) that we couldn't do it anymore. We had abrasions on our heads as the boat would bounce up and down when we ran."
The JTeam Production artists will be parting ways and exploring individual ventures after completing the Frogmen promotional duties.
Lim is looking at becoming a radio DJ, while Tan is working on another movie.
Both Wang and Zhang will start filming a travel TV series that will see them spend 50 days in China using uniquely Singaporean items to trade with locals for accommodation.
So how do they feel now their journey together has come to an end?
"You have to save the most emotional question for the last!" said Tan.
"We knew that this would be the last time that we'd be filming together, so we really gave it our all and pushed ourselves really hard," Lim shared. "Diving is hard. All the physical activities are hard. But we know that because this is the last film, everyone is (bringing) their A-game." Said Zhang: "Many tears were shed on the last day of shooting. We cried like a bunch of girls."
Added Lim: "And we're planning to cry again when we watch the movie!"
If you're still craving for more Ah Boys, head over to Nex shopping mall this Valentine's Day at 4.30pm for a meet-and-greet session, followed by another session at City Square Mall at 6.30pm.
The Ah Boys will also be at Bugis+ on Feb 15 at 6.30pm.
Ah girls to Boys
Three lucky girls who sent us the most interesting questions were chosen by The New Paper for a chance to have a video chat with the Ah Boys.
Here are excerpts from their conversations.
SELFIE: Esther Foo with her favourite Ah Boy Tosh Zhang. - PHOTO: COURTESY OF ESTHER FOO
ESTHER FOO, 14, STUDENT
Reveal one interesting fact about each other.
Tosh Zhang (TZ): There are a lot of interesting facts about Maxi (Laughs).
Maxi Lim (ML): It's always about me!
TZ: Maxi loves to help people clear their ear wax.
ML: They recently came up with a pun about me digging ear wax. This is Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen. The Chinese title for "Frogmen" is "wa ren". "Dig" in Chinese is also "wa". So they say I'm really a "wa ren", an "ear-digger man". (More laughter).
Wang Weiliang (WL): An interesting fact about Tosh... he can't multi-task.
ML: Yes. Tosh really can't. For example, he can't SMS and talk to you at the same time.
WL: We'd be having our conversation, and after he's done texting, he'd ask, "What did you say?"
WINNER: Quek Yee Ling is one of three winners who submitted the most interesting questions to TNP. - PHOTO: COURTESY OF QUEK YEE LING
QUEK YEE LING, 15, STUDENT
What is one naughty thing you would do if you have the chance to switch bodies?
TZ: I'd switch with Maxi.
ML: Really? I'm so honoured, bro.
WL: I can't picture Tosh's face on Maxi's body! (Laughs)
TZ: If I'm in Maxi's body, I'll walk around town topless confidently (Laughs).
WL: I'd switch with Josh. I'll just eat and eat, and get very fat.
Joshua Tan: I'd switch with Maxi as well because I've always wondered what it's like to be in a woman's body.
(Collective laughter and groans)
PORTRAIT: Ong Sin Faye proudly displays her drawing of Tosh Zhang. - PHOTO: COURTESY OF ONG SIN FAYE
ONG SIN FAYE, 19, STUDENT
If you have one day off, how would you spend it?
WL: Be a pig... do nothing and veg out.
TZ: It's hard to enjoy yourself when it's only a day off. If I have a week off, I'd go overseas. We hope to go to Maldives to scuba-dive.
Oh, I know. If it's only a day, we'll go to Johor Bahru to look for you! (Sin Faye lives in JB.)