‘I don’t need fame in my life, I dislike it’: Joshua Tan looks back on 10 years since Ah Boys to Men


Ah Boys to Men has changed the lives of the Ah Boys who acted in it but not all changes are for the better.

In a recent interview with Lianhe Zaobao to commemorate 10 years since Ah Boys to Men’s release, Joshua Tan revealed that fame is something that he loathes.

The 32-year-old actor opined: “Social media accounts’ blue tick verification, follower counts and so on have become indicators of fame.

“While these have an impact on my work, I don’t need fame in my life, I dislike it.”

Joshua played recruit Ken Chow in the explosively popular Ah Boys to Men movie by Jack Neo.

Ken doesn’t want to enlist and Instead wants to study abroad with his girlfriend. But he ultimately comes to terms with his National Service, even making friends along the way.

And these bonds aren’t just fictitious ones in the film, but also forged in reality.

“We’ve been in touch over the years and we’ve gotten together whenever we can,” Joshua said of the band of brothers, including actors Maxi Lim and Tosh Zhang, that was created during filming.


Joshua also recalled the hardships he experienced as a rookie actor.

He shared: “Director Neo (Jack Neo) demonstrated things on the set and I had to learn and act immediately. But at the time, I wasn’t able to absorb what he was teaching.

“I caught nothing and my acting skills were poor. At the time, my Chinese wasn’t very strong either — when I was told to go left I would go right, and I would go backwards when told to move forward.”

He also added: “Ten years ago, I wasn’t someone who acted regularly and I felt a lot of pressure filming with senior artistes such as Jack, Irene Ang and Richard Low.”

Now, with 10 years’ worth of experience under his belt, he humbly expressed to Zaobao that he hopes he has improved — he feels more confident and less nervous as an actor.

“I will be 42 in 10 years, hopefully I’ll be more professional and more popular — not in terms of fame, but in terms of the favour from critics, directors and producers,” he said.


Joshua also revealed to Zaobao that he considers his past self naive and ignorant, whereas he’s now comfortably moseying down his path in life.

His physical fitness has also improved — while he could already do 50 pushups in a minute then, he can do “much more” now, thanks to the increased importance he placed on fitness after filming Ah Boys to Men.

Joshua also wrote on an Instagram post on Nov 8: “Ten years ago, on this exact day, our lives changed forever. None of us had a clue what was ahead … I didn’t even tell my friends about this Jack Neo film I was in because I had no idea how it would turn out.

“Life has changed crazily for all of us since then, some of us are dads and some of us are still kids but we all still love it (secretly) when you call us the boys.

“I’m beyond grateful to be doing what I love for the past 10 years and hope to keep on acting for as long as I can.”


ALSO READ: ‘It takes more for me to be vulnerable’: Paralympian Yip Pin Xiu thinks her toughness can be a drawback

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