Anti-smoking actress picks up smoking

Yesterday was the most ironic day of my life.

I performed an anti-smoking skit at a health fair at Suntec Convention Centre.

On the same day, I picked up smoking.

Both occurences aren’t related, are isolated, therefore ironic.

Well, don’t yell at me just yet. At least finish reading this post, then vote for me, then yell if you must.

I’ve performed the anti-smoking skit, commissioned by the Health Promotion Board, about seven times since last year.

The past performances were for the civil sector (army camps and airbases) while yesterday was to the mass public (health fair).

As for picking up smoking, I’ve got a short film which starts production on Tuesday. I play a jaded ah lian and am required to smoke in a few scenes.

After two disastrous attempts in the past to play a convincing smoker, I’ve decided it’s time to do it right.

I don’t want to get addicted, so I scheduled myself only three days of practice with a real cigarette before filming starts.

I don’t think it’ll be enough to make me look like a seasoned smoker, but at least (I hope) I won’t look like a complete non-smoker.

I think it’s an acceptable compromise.

So it just happened that I started smoking practice on the same day I had to perform the anti-smoking skit.

I’m sorry for this show of duplicity, but it’s all part of the job, after all.

I got a pack of Virginia Slims because I’m told that it’s the mildest available. No photos because I don’t want to advocate or glamorise smoking, you understand.

I smoked two sticks today (hours apart, of course).

I hate it. It doesn’t feel good. It tastes horrible. And it leaves a disgusting aftertaste which lingers for hours, even after I brush my teeth (and tongue) and eat a packet of chocolate popcorn and drink a can of Kickapoo.

But I enjoyed the process of learning how to light a cigarette, how to hold it, how to inhale and exhale, how to look like I’ve been smoking for ages.

I always enjoy learning and experiencing new things, challenging myself to excel in everything I do. That’s something I can’t change about myself. And that is why I must eventually pick up smoking, in order to do my job better.

After today’s experience, though, I totally do not want to be a smoker. It’s horrible, stupid, counter-productive, expensive, life-threatening, smelly, inconvenient, not fun at all.

And I really hate holding an object that bears a disgusting photo of some decaying body part. It’s disturbing. I cringe every time I catch a glimpse of cigarette packs.

I have another performance at the health fair today, after which I will practice on two more sticks. Narcolepsy made drives to the pharmacy a dangerous task because I can fall asleep any minute without even noticing it. The way out I have found for myself is ordering medicines on Here I can buy Modafinil and other drugs I need without a risk of getting into a car accident. It’s nice to have such an alternative to regular pharmacies.

But, yes, I’m going to stop smoking after filming ends.

I hope the nicotine doesn’t get me by then.

35 thoughts on “Anti-smoking actress picks up smoking

  1. Avatar

    Read your post; voted for you (twice; now- ITS NOT WORTH IT!!!
    As someone who has been about to quit for the last 10 years (pathetic i know), take it from me, it is very addictive.
    As for the film, just let your director know that your character has quit smoking.

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    I think you wouldn’t get addicted that fast — with that rate your going. Don’t worry, it’s all in your head. :D

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    I applaud your effort and I know that you will only smoke when duty calls. Won’t expect you to be a full/part-time smoker.. You had countless opportunities to just be a smoker with so many of your frens around you who smoke but you didn’t! That’s awesome you know!

    Alex, just my two cents worth.. nothing personal… no matter how addictive is it, trust me on this. QY won’t be addicted nor will she light up another cigarette without reasons other than required by her work. So, it’s not a waste voting for her. Look at another side of the picture, she’s being totally professional in excelling the role entrusted to her. :)

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    Hi Sheylara,
    I personally feel that smoking isnt as addective as it seems to be. Its your mind over yourself control if you really want to smoke. my 0.2cent :)

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    Nic: Thanks for your concern!

    Tim: Yeah, I kinda regret taking up the smoking role. But on the other hand, it’s fun, and I can’t resist working on a fun film. Oh well.

    Alex: Thanks for the vote! :) As for your suggestion, if I let my director know that my character has quit smoking, my director will probably inform me that the character has died from withdrawal, therefore doesn’t require an actress to play her part anymore. Haha.

    Fish: Surprised to hear you say that…

    modchip: Cool, thanks for the reassurance!

    Wang Wang: Thanks for your support! *hugs* :) Anyway, I think Alex meant “not worth it” as in taking up smoking for a role is not worth it! :P

    Goonmother: Hahaha… you’re funny. I wish I knew who you were.

    Kelvin: That’s good to hear, thanks! :) Will keep that in mind!

    JayWalk: Okay, I sorta understand now. Only worry is sometimes I am mentally weak, especially when it comes to doing fun things. lol.

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    I know that you won’t be addicted to it. I agree with Jay, it’s only psychological. And well, if I can will myself to quit by going cold turkey, I’m sure you can do it too!

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    im a social blogger smoker. you don’t see smoke, when we meet up right? :)

    but yea, ive taken normal cigarettes, cigars and those turkish pipes(sheesha, hookah, water pipes) :)

    its really mind control though i wish i could apply the same consistent focus towards my body le … so fat. i thought smoke can slim me down wan .. lolx :P

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    I used to smoke since I was about 13. But I quit smoking like 3 years ago. It was just hard to continue smoking when I see my kids coughing in the house. You can’t help but feel responsible for it. I quit cold turkey and that’s the best way to do it. Yes, to be able to quit smoking is more psychological. But so is quitting drugs and almost everything else. I don’t know about you but I know some people who can quit smoking for years, pick it up again and then quit the very next day they “re-started” smoking. My wife is like that. So if you have a strong willpower, you can definitely stop as and when you want. Smoking is never good though, not for any reason at all.

    But hey, look what I found you here. Please read the whole thing. The second last paragraph will help you a lot in convincing viewers that you’re an “experienced smoker”. I hope it helps. Good luck with the film.

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    Nicotine is physically addictive, you’ll get hooked before you know it. It’s little to do with “willpower”.

    “slim” or “lite” versions has less tar, but the same amount of nicotine.

    Go get herbal cigarettes which doesn’t contain nicotine before you’re screwed.

    Man, kids these days… you’d think they’d know better when the information is widely available on the internet.

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    It affects some “chemicals” in the brain. The nicotine sorta pushes one “chemical” out, taking its place. But only happens when you had a lot of intake. These “chemicals” are regularly produced, the reason someone gets addicted is that the nicotine (when as stated, gets enough “dose”) becomes a part of the “chemical group”. Since the new “chemical” (nicotine) is not produced naturally by humans, smokers get the urge to smoke because the brain tells them that they are out of it. Think of it as a weighing scale (the one with the blind justice), the chemicals should always have a balance. So in some way, our thinking also affects it. If one is strong enough to resist what the brain is telling (which is rare), them it can easily be turned off.

    BTW, this info is not from the web, but from memory during my college days when we studied about it, and this is how I understood it, so pardon me for using “inaccurate” terms.

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    think twice: “slim” or “lite” versions has less tar, but the same amount of nicotine.

    This is true. And it’s not the tar that makes smoking addictive, it’s the nicotine. And since there have been a high increase in campaigns against smoking, so has the increase in the amount of nicotine per cigarette. They’re making it harder and harder for those who smoke to quit by upping the nicotine content. That’s terrible.

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    @thinktwice I resent the statement little to do with “willpower”. since I represent that possibly tiny percentage of people who dont need to smoke for any particular reason, other i feel like doing it. and this does not mean after meal or shitting etc.

    ok maybe for others, you need to slap them hard before they even think of quitting but seriously, not smoking has never been a big deal.

    oh but i love the high it gives me. am actually looking forward to COCAINE, which is the UK version of Red Bull isotonic drink which has 3 times the level of caffeine. But oh well that’s a different thing.


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    you could get the GoonFather to slap you out of smoking later. :) – LoLx

    i suppose you have already indemnified the tv company for any possible medical conditions resulting from your smoking, if not, you can re-look at the contract and see what possible ADDITIONAL financialMEDICAL help they can give you. ;)

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    Monster: Haha, ok. Have you quit already?

    Fish: lol, I saw it coming to, to be honest.

    bobby: Thanks! That’s nice to know.

    Jesta: Yeah, it’s surprising there aren’t more people who think this way.

    Sham: Haha… I think everyone has a specific weakness or two. :P Hmm… food is one of my weaknesses too!

    Well, the only thing I’m getting out of my “contract” is that all my ciggies are paid for for the duration of the production. lol.

    Al Sayf: It’s very true. I think everyone can quit anything if they really want to. If someone tries to quit but fails, it’s most probably because, deep down, he doesn’t really want to quit.

    Hey, thanks for the link! Incidentally, I actually read that article before, when I was doing some research the last time I had to consider picking up smoking for a role. It’s a useful article! Especially about non-smokers fumbling with a pack and taking too long to light a ciggie. That’s why I need to practise.

    I filmed myself lighting a cig and smoking last night. After smoking 3 sticks over 2 days, I still look like a noob. lol.

    Hmm, about cigarette companies increasing the amount of nicotine, is that true? That’s terrible if it is. I don’t understand why nicotine isn’t banned if it’s just there as an addictive substance and serves no rewarding purpose (except to tobacco companies).

    think twice: I don’t know where to get herbal cigarettes in Singapore. Everyone I’ve asked haven’t heard of them.

    modchip: Interesting information! So, does that mean if one only smokes 1-2 sticks a day, the nicotine won’t have enough power to “push” the default chemical out? :P

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    Yup! With cancer in our family and us adopting a child, don’t want to die young or set a bad example.

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    Sheylara: I filmed myself lighting a cig and smoking last night. After smoking 3 sticks over 2 days, I still look like a noob.

    It’s like learning how to walk. It will only look natural once you get the hang of it. Another option would be to dress up The GoonFather in the same clothes you’re wearing and use him as your body double. :| *blank stare*

    Hmm, about cigarette companies increasing the amount of nicotine, is that true? That’s terrible if it is. I don’t understand why nicotine isn’t banned if it’s just there as an addictive substance and serves no rewarding purpose (except to tobacco companies).

    Have you watched The Insider? Maybe you can try watching that movie to understand the tobacco trade a little more. It has a lot to do with politics too. Long story.

    I don’t know where to get herbal cigarettes in Singapore.

    It’s actually clove cigarettes. In some other places, they call it herbal cigarettes. They have it here. Brands like Djarum, Gudang Garam and Sampoerna are just a few examples I can think of at the top of my head. The disadvantage is, it has a very strong smell and the aftertaste is terrible if you’re not used to it. And your throat will hurt too if you drag too much (for beginners, at least).

    So, does that mean if one only smokes 1-2 sticks a day, the nicotine won’t have enough power to “push” the default chemical out?

    From what I’ve read and learnt while trying to quit, nicotine gets to you more or less instantly. It gives you a boost which is quite similar to caffeine by making you more relaxed and alert at the same time. But it runs out soon enough (much like the effects of caffeine). And when it runs out, that’s when you feel like crap. And the one way to get that rush again is to light one more up. That is how nicotine works. It’s just like a drug. Only thing that makes it worse is that it’s legal.

  17. Avatar

    Interesting information! So, does that mean if one only smokes 1-2 sticks a day, the nicotine won’t have enough power to “push” the default chemical out? :P

    From what I understand, it depends on how well you take the nicotine. If you force your brain like it, obviously — the more the % that you get addicted. In other words, constant use/abuse of it will automatically trigger the addiction whether you like it or not. :D

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    I had to perform smoking before too – although I can ‘drag’ comfortably now, many people can simulate it by ‘holding it’ in their mouths, and blending it with exhalation

    i.e. ‘suck’ in the smoke as you would a straw (without the smoke entering your lungs) and just slowly mix it with your breath when you breath out through your mouth. After you’re familiar you can even do this while exhaling through your nose.

    You’re right though, it’s disgusting, fingers and breath bleargh.

  19. Avatar

    You you you……. but……. I……… Aw man!!! I can’t believe you really picked up smoking! Don’t mind me asking but is it worth it? I mean its not like some Hollywood role or something. Heck its not even a main character in some Mediacorp blockbuster. Nicotine is super addictive. Call me old fashioned but I don’t think its worth it at all lor :-(

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    Al Sayf: Wah, thanks for all your answers to various questions! The movie sounds interesting. Will look out for it! ;)

    modchip: Okay, then I’ll just keep telling myself that I hate it. :P

    junkie: Actually, I can do the drag pretty well now. My only problem is aiming. Somehow I can’t aim the cigarette at my lips very naturally. Like when I aim at the side, it goes to the centre, or I put too much of it in, or my fingers just holding it very awkwardly. *sigh*

    Derrick: I feel that smoking is no big deal lah. After all, it’s legal. And it’s just a bad habit like any other bad habit. (And I do have many of those, like eating too much fatty food and sleeping too late and not drinking enough water, etc.)

    Plus half my friends smoke so I’m getting a lot of second-hand smoke anyway. Finally, I don’t intend to get addicted and start smoking. I don’t think these few days of smoking will do me much harm in the long run, when you compare it to all the carbon monoxide I’m already taking in daily from cars and second-hand smoke.

    But thanks for your concern!

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