Chen Tianwen learned an important lesson on managing his finances after getting his fingers badly burnt in the stock market years ago.
The 60-year-old local actor revealed in an interview with Shin Min Daily News: "My hands were itchy and I went to buy stocks. In the end, I lost nearly $100,000, so I just had to knuckle down and work hard," he shared of the time that he fell into financial difficulty.
Tianwen considered it a stroke of good fortune that he was due to start filming in China around that time and was able to repay his "debt", though it's not clear how much he owed specifically and to whom.
"I was lucky back then as I was about to start filming in China. During those few years in China, I was also given allowances, so I could slowly repay my debt using the salary I earned in Singapore," said Tianwen.
He shared that it "took a few years" to successfully pay off the amount, and added that he has not dared to dabble in stocks since then.
Loan sharks are 'vampires in disguise'
Tianwen, who plays illegal moneylender Qian in Cash On Delivery, a Chinese-language drama series, shared his opinion that real-life loan sharks are "vampires in disguise".
He explained: "If they lend you $10, they will demand $12 next month. If you are unable to return the required amount, the interest will accumulate and snowball till it becomes impossible to return."
"When a person encounters financial difficulties, they can actually apply for government subsidies," he shared.
Tianwen elaborated on how everybody should learn to develop a habit of "saving for a rainy day".
"Spend within your means and don't use 'future money', such as using credit cards to buy unnecessary luxuries, which is actually coming from your next month's salary," he advised.
When asked how he would help those around him who are in financial difficulty, he shared: "When I was younger, there were people who borrowed money from me and I just gave it to them to help them tide through the difficult period. It was not a big amount and I didn't expect them to return me the money."
But he shared that things are different now.
"I am currently in 'financial difficulty' myself as I have a family and a child (to feed), so I am more prudent with my spending," he stated while laughing.
Cash On Delivery is currently airing on Channel 8 and streaming on meWATCH. Tianwen is also filming long-form English drama series Sunny Side Up, for which filming will end at the end of this year. It is streaming on meWATCH, showing on Channel 5, and will also be screened in the US.
When asked if this means that he could be heading to the US to shoot or publicise the drama series, Tianwen expressed that he hopes to have the opportunity.