John Cheng

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John Cheng Yeow Nam (1961 - 22 January 2013) was a Singaporean actor and getai compere.

Biography

Career

Cheng's first screen appearance was in the 1990 Channel 8 drama When Dawn Breaks, and he continued to appear in Channel 8 dramas throughout his career. But he became known for his role as an Ah Long in Jack Neo's 1998 movie Money No Enough, and the following year he was cast in Liang Po Po as a gang boss.

Many of the roles he was known for - Ah Longs, criminals, and violent figures - were based on his past career as an Ah Long himself. That One Not Enough was was the first reversal of this stereotypical role, where he played a supporting role as a provision shop worker, and without his trademark beard. In a more notable instance, he had a cameo in I Not Stupid as a hostage rescue officer. Other such instances included his portrayal of an effeminate hairdresser in 2004's I Do, I Do, and his last film role as a medium in the 2013 film Judgement Day.

Cheng was also active in the getai scene as a host, along with fellow hosts Lin Ruping, Liu Lee Lyne and Wang Lei who similarly dabbled in acting on the side.

Cheng was usually credited as Zhong Yaonan or John Cheng. Within the entertainment industry and to fans, he was known as Ah Nan or Ah Nam.

Personal life

In a 1996 interview, Cheng opened up on his past as a hooligan. As one of five children with both parents working to support the family, Cheng was neglected and turned to smoking, violence and acts of gangsterism, under the influence of friends. He later joined an Ah Long syndicate and became a runner. Cheng worked several menial jobs before entering showbiz in 1987. He received his secondary education in Chai Chee Secondary School.

He was arrested on charges of using Ecstasy in 2006, and was jailed for a year. Cheng maintained the drug was slipped into his drink unknowingly.

Cheng courted controversy when he shouted at journalists during Jack Neo's 2010 press conference on his extramarital affairs. Netizens were divided over his behaviour, with some criticising him for passing off Neo's affair as a norm.

Cheng married twice, first to an unknown woman and later Lung Yoke Ching, with whom he had three daughters.

Death

In the early hours of 22 January 2013, Cheng collapsed backstage following a performance in Club Cleopatra, in Parklane Shopping Mall. He died shortly thereafter from a heart attack.

Reports later emerged that Cheng had an unhealthy habit of guzzling 10 bottles of Coca-Cola daily, to sustain energy levels for his long working hours. He was also suffering from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and was on medication for these conditions.

Filmography

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1995 Lady Investigators Ah Long Episode 10
Credited as Zhang Yaonan
Voice dubbed over.
2001 Return of the Condor Heroes
2007 Folks Jump Over the Wall Ah Long
2008 Pulau Hantu Frankie Low TV movie
Film
Year Title Role Notes
1998 Money No Enough Ah Long
Hitman in the City Crow
1999 Liang Po Po: The Movie Big Boss
The Mirror Roman (Lor Meng)
That One No Enough Tan Beng Soon
2002 I Not Stupid Police officer
2003 Homerun Rioter
2004 The Best Bet 4D King
I Do, I Do Jojo Chee
2008 Money No Enough 2 Chen Guan Sai
Missing You Wu Cheng Shan Fangfang's husband
2009 Where Got Ghost Nan
2011 The Ghosts Must Be Crazy Nan
2013 Judgement Day Uncle Jiu