Cruz Teng: The Accidental TV Host
26 February 2015 Thursday | 20:52 | -

Things weren’t supposed to pan out this way.

I had made a conscious choice to become the head of a radio station two years ago. I see myself as a white collar executive holding the fort in the boardroom and not someone holding on to a microphone and reluctant to walk away from the glitzy glamour of showbiz.

But the Universe often throws me unexpected surprises along the way.


I’m not shy to call myself a Somebody in Radio.
But I’m basically a Nobody in the world of Television.

Rebecca (my boss) knocked on my door on a busy afternoon last year. She had a really excited look, “I just met TV programming and production folks. They want you to host a brand new talk show on Channel U!

I looked up from my computer briefly and mumbled, “Oh, really? Errrr… Tell them I won’t be available please.

Anti climax. Hahaha.

I didn’t ask who, what, why, when, where and how. There was zero interest on my part. Really. I was very busy at that point. I had just returned to the morning show— which takes up about a third of my time every day. And I was preparing for the Singapore Hit Awards. And there were a million other routine things on my to-do list. More importantly, I didn’t want people— inside and outside the company— to be confused. I was supposed to fade out of the limelight gradually, and not expose myself further.

Weeks passed. And I went off for my sabbatical. Rebecca emailed me when I was in Bangkok, asking for a decision to be made by the end of the week.

“Huh, you mean you haven’t declined this on my behalf?”

Hah!

I was in Siam Paragon— very free and in an extremely good mood. I was finally ready to hear the details— the concept, the genre, and most importantly why they wanted me to host the show.

Honestly, I was hesitant to nod my head. And I could almost imagine the frustration on the other end. “Cruz Teng is such an idiot. This is awesome, isn’t it? A television hosting gig on a terrestrial channel! So many people would want to host their own talkshows! And it’s on PRIMETIME! Why is he acting like a big shot?!” Hahaha.

I then looked at the proposal paper. Firstly, there would be Siau Jiahui— someone I’m perfectly comfortable with. And the adjectives they used to describe me were PERFECT. They did so much research. Haha! They knew my style and they could anticipate my authentic reactions to certain scenarios. I don’t have to fake a persona. It would be Cruz Teng being Cruz Teng— on television. I was impressed, amused and humbled all at the same time. I get it— you guys really want me to do this, despite the fact that I have virtually no television hosting experience. (All those guest episodes don’t really count.) Ok, let’s do it! Yes, I WANT to do this, I WANT to try something new, and together, let’s kick some ass!”

Catch Mars VS Venus 金星火星大不同 on Channel U at 9PM every Monday from 6 April 13 April 2015.

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2014: The first eleven months
8 December 2014 Monday | 22:59 | Annual Report

You should have heard by now— I’m away from work for one and a half months. For the sake of hashtagging, I call it #WoohooSabbatical. The last time I took extended leave like this was in 2010 when I had burned myself out as a radio presenter. I had clocked eight years of full time work by then, of which seven were in the mornings. And I was running here and there, hosting all sorts of events throughout the week. I was really tired.

Fast forward to 2014. I am tired again. I think no one on the planet would doubt my commitment towards my job(s). I wear multiple hats a day, and I love it. There are so many things I know, and even more stuff that I don’t know, and I love it. I put so much into it, however, I have to pluck myself out of the daily madness and take a breather before I do this all over again. #1: I am not getting married— nor have I gotten married and am embarking on a honeymoon. #2: I am not doing aesthetics surgery— or any other form of surgery for that matter. #3: I am not on any secretive projects. I am not plotting to steal the moon or take over the world. I am doing nothing in the one and a half months.

2013 was a watershed year for me, as I finally executed that switch in career paths. I didn’t expect 2014 to be a tumultuous year as well.

Firstly, I lost weight. I mean, I lost quite a bit of weight effortlessly. I don’t know how much, but it was very visible. I didn’t exercise; I wasn’t on any slimming programme. I didn’t starve myself either. I merely cut down on carbonated drinks and supper. That’s it. And I didn’t realise that I was losing that much weight— until people commented that my clothes don’t fit anymore.


(L) From XL to M. 衣服本來剛剛好,現在怎麼都那麼大件?
(R) Couldn’t have carried this short haircut with a round face. Hahaha.

I went for a medical check up in May. On one hand, I was rather smug about losing weight without doing anything much. At the same time, I was worried I might be sick or something. Thankfully, the doctors gave me a clean bill of health.

A few weeks later, I stopped smoking and exhorted the social media universe to egg me on. It would have been very embarassing if I failed, and I nearly faltered in the first few days. Then, I realised that I was too egoistic to screw up in front of such a huge audience. Hahaha. It’s been more than five months since the last cigarette, and I’m ecstatic that I’ve done it!

There was another major change in my life two months later, as I bade farewell to my first car— a Mazda 3 delivered three weeks after I got my driving license— and bought over a BMW from a friend who was relocating. The fact is, my COE would expire next year, and I had been casually looking around. I happened to know that the car was for sale, and the selling price happened to be very reasonable. I didn’t set out to buy a Beemer to prove anything. There were snide comments online, and all I can say is: Don’t hate me just because I manage my money prudently.


At Tamsui, Taiwan. Not sure if they were photobombing me, or the other way round.

The ‘one-new-place-a-year’ project continues. I was in South Africa with my mum in July. It’s the first time since the inception of cruzteng.com, that I failed to produce a lengthy blog entry on a long-haul trip.

The highly misunderstood nation has so much to offer— poignant tales of a country which transited from white supremacy to an anti-apartheid land; staggering and contrasting images of townships and heavily guarded mansions; and the glorious natural beauty of the African continent. I don’t think anyone would fail to fall in love with Cape Town— one of the most picturesque places ever. Away from the coastlines, I went on three amazing game drives. A pair of lions lazing in the sun just twenty metres away formed the perfect holiday image for me.


I think the happiest thing about me turning 35, is that I do not look 35. Hahaha!

I celebrated my birthday in Bali this year. Again, I failed to do a wordy entry to proclaim my appreciation for the group of friends who accompanied me on yet another birthday outing.

We booked a four-bedroom villa, which came with a ginormous living room, and a huge swimming pool. The sightseeing was scrapped in favour of the two beach clubs we went to. Throw in the spa treatments and mouthwatering food all around, I was beaming throughout the four days.

Oh, I asked for donations as well, in lieu of presents. Thanks to everyone who donated. You can still contribute if you wish to— cos I’m still 35?


I’m not really sure why there was a pre-departure cake.


At the famed Potato Head Beach Club in Bali.

As a recurrent blogging theme, I look through my calendar each year to pick out the annual highlights. The Work calendar coded in blue dominated my iCal once again. I would have to make it a point to fill up my Play calendar in green for 2015.

It’s only the second year in this management position, and there are still wide-eyed moments every now and then. For starters, I was involved in several internal and external initiatives that involved various departments and business units. It was fun knowing colleagues from other divisions whom I otherwise wouldn’t have worked with. Then, I finally experienced the full spectrum of human resource functions— appraising my team, recommending promotions and handing out bonuses. I also received my first ever resignation letter and embarked on a lengthy search for a replacement. At the same time, we set up a new unit— 933TV. We worked so hard to get the business approvals, and then went through another tedious round of recruitment. (I received so many résumés and met so many candidates, I was tempted to publish a blog entry for job seekers. Eg: No comic sans! No! I think I’ll save that for next year.)


At the inaugural Cycle to Supper 騎幻旅程 in June, where more than 500 cyclists joined 933 DJs for a night ride from East Coast to Singapore Flyer. The view was awesome, and the response had been very encouraging. I had fun that night too— from doing the flag off at the beginning, and morphing into shuttle bus usher at the end of the night. My folks are currently looking into a second edition for next year, and if they want me to guide people to the chartered buses, they had better give me a loud-hailer.

In 2013, I accepted only one hosting engagement. I did two this year— that’s a 100% increase! I am the obvious candidate to host Stefanie Sun’s events. She puts out an album once in a blue moon, and I take on a hosting gig once in a while. Perfect.

The truth is, I took this job only because none of the DJs could do it. Haha. It was a pleasure to meet Ha Ji-Won.

This is the number one post on 933’s Facebook page. I will not put on a dress ever again.

THE Mandopop event of the year. It’s not been easy, as I told Music Asia in my capacity as Chairman of the 19th Singapore Hit Awards executive committee. It was my sophomore year, and I thought things would only get easier. But I was wrong. I fell sick before, during and after the show. I don’t think I’ve been that stressed in my life ever. Thanks to everybody who made this happen, and thanks for letting me know it’s all worth it.

Someday when I die, I’d imagine that people would go on Facebook (and/or whatever’s sexy then) to say nice things about me. And I think people would probably talk about 「就是萬人迷」。 I put myself back on the morning show in August— the reasons are here, so I won’t repeat the story.

The week we made the announcement, I found my face splashed across all MediaCorp news and entertainment portals. And I had to tear apart conspiracy theories one by one. For instance, someone thought I had asked Peifen and Jiafa to keep the title last year, because I knew I would return to the show sooner or later. That’s not true. And on rumours that I was contemplating a full return as a frontline personality— and thereby giving up my management post— that’s not true either.


It is obviously a challenge to juggle morning show duties and spending quality time in the office. I’m really grateful for my folks for their passion and dedication. It’s because of their efficiency and productivity that I am able to do what I’m doing now.

I did ask if they would help with my studies, but I was coldly rejected. Hahaha. I withdrew my candidature from a masters’ programme in the second half of the year because of the morning show. There was absolutely no way of coping, I thought. And I was right. I am so glad I didn’t start this in the first place. That will have to wait…

2014 has been extraordinary, and I think 2015 will be equally exciting. Just so that no one starts a petition or write to my bosses while I am on leave, I WILL continue to host the morning show with my fabulous partners, Kunhua and Jiahui. As we celebrate Singapore’s golden jubilee, 933 will mark its 25th anniversary next year. Expect a series of parties, events and surprises coming your way. In fact, we’re making a major announcement this weekend. At the same time, I’ve just verbally accepted an invitation to do something rather electrifying. I’ll have to wait till I meet them formally before we break the news.

I’m ready for 2015. Are you?

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