HUANG Biren is having a baby.
The three-time Star Awards Best Actress winner is seven months pregnant and due to deliver her third child – a girl – at the end of April.
Her son Justin is 10 and daughter Janessa is almost 2.
Biren, 40, became a stay-at-home mum after quitting showbiz in June 2008 over contractual issues with MediaCorp.
Perhaps you can take Biren out of Caldecott Hill, but you can’t take the Caldecott Hill out of her.
Because after putting her kids to bed every night, the first thing she does during her “me” time is to turn on the television to catch the Channel 8 drama at 9pm.
She confessed to The New Paper: “Sometimes I can’t help but grumble when something doesn’t look right.
“I’ll ask (myself) why did a particular artiste act like this, who the producer is, who wrote the script, and I’ll wait until the credits roll to find out.”
So what does she think of the much-touted “blockbuster” drama Together – starring Jeanette Aw, Dai Yangtian, Elvin Ng and Eelyn Kok – which failed to bring in the expected ratings?
“I don’t want to comment much because it can be discouraging sometimes if too much is said,” Biren offered cautiously.
The veteran, who has acted for 20 years, also offered her views regarding recent trends on Caldecott Hill.
For one, she doesn’t think there’s a shortage of fresh local talent. “The mentality of the younger generation is different from the older folks. The latter have more perseverance and look at things in the long run,” she said.
“But the youths want fast results and will try another industry if they don’t get it.”
She also believes it’s important for MediaCorp to retain its pool of talent.
But Biren claims she doesn’t miss her old job and has no plans to make a comeback.
She still goes for high tea with celebrity pals like Zoe Tay, Aileen Tan, Pan Lingling, Jin Yinji and former actress Madeline Chu, where they talk mostly about their children.
She also keeps in touch with actor Chen Hanwei over the phone, and told him he was crazy when she found out he had extracted his front tooth for his recent drama The Best Things In Life.
She has no regrets quitting showbiz, she said.
“I tell my children that if they are naughty, mummy will go back to work. Then they will apologise hurriedly and be good,” she said with a laugh.
Biren currently draws the most satisfaction from seeing her children grow up well.
On a typical weekday, she makes sure Justin has his breakfast before he leaves for school. She then feeds Janessa and plays with her on her toy kitchen set or mini piano.
The contented mother also reads, sings and dances along with Janessa when she watches her kiddie programmes.
When Justin returns from school around 2pm, Biren tutors him in his school work.
However, preparing for a third child hasn’t been as easy.
She said: “My morning sickness was so bad during the first trimester that I had to take medication to prevent myself from throwing up.”
The nausea lasted until the fourth month and she lost a few kilograms because of it.
She is, however, feeling better now. Biren also feels more tired compared to her second pregnancy mainly because taking care of Janessa takes up a lot of her energy.
“I eat to keep my energy up, especially chocolates, and Janessa will tell me she wants it too,” she said with a laugh.
Biren said motherhood isn’t tougher than acting, it’s just a different experience. “As long as I schedule my time well, I don’t feel I can’t handle the duties.
I’m also thankful that I have relatives who can help me with the children,” she said.
This article was first published in The New Paper.