If you grew up watching Mediacorp shows on Channel 8, Zheng Geping’s probably no stranger to you.
With well-known local shows such as On The Fringe, Air Force and Tofu Street featuring the 58-year-old actor, it’s no secret that many of us grew up watching him on our televisions.
However, it seems like his star-studded career in television is coming to an end for now.
As one of the most recognisable faces in the local entertainment industry, Zheng announced on his Instagram account today (12 January) that he will be leaving Mediacorp.
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In his caption, he wrote, “SBC, TCS, MediaCorp will always be my 2nd home in memories from 5 Jan 1987 to 31 Jan 2023.”
Yup, he’s been with Mediacorp for 36 years. (Which also means that those who grew up watching his shows from the start aren’t young already, OK.)
He recounted how he has had “many good experiences, memories, friends and colleagues” over the past 36 years and expressed his gratitude towards them, saying, “Always grateful to those who guided me, taught me, shared with me different perspectives and [for] encountering very interesting human relationships.”
He then wished his colleagues well and mentioned how he hopes they “continue to excel and be blessed”.
Zheng, whose birth name is Zheng Guoping, also posted a Chinese version of his post.
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Made the Decision at the Start of 2022, Didn’t Tell Family
When speaking to CNA Lifestyle regarding his decision to leave Mediacorp, Zheng revealed that it wasn’t a decision that he made in the spur of the moment.
In fact, he actually made it at least one year ago, and revealed that he settled on his decision “at the beginning of 2022 or even earlier”.
He also referenced his speech at the Star Awards ceremony last year when accepting his All-time Favourite Artiste award, where he said, “We’ll meet again on the road”.
Regarding his speech, he recounted how only a few people from production understood, while most of those who heard his speech didn’t think much of it.
As for his official resignation, he handed his resignation letter to Mediacorp “by July”.
And here’s something else you probably didn’t expect.
Zheng didn’t tell his family, including his wife, Hong Huifang, and his children, Tay Ying and Calvert Tay, that he was resigning.
Just like him, his wife and both his children are Mediacorp artistes as well.
As to why he kept it a secret, he said that it was his decision to make and added humorously that “it’s not illegal”.
After he announced his departure from Mediacorp, which Zheng called his “second home”, was announced, Ivy Low, the head of The Celebrity Agency (TCA), issued a statement which paid tribute to Zheng’s contributions to the local entertainment scene.
“A household name, Geping has portrayed some of the most iconic characters onscreen… We would like to thank him for his creative contributions, both as an actor and a producer. While we will miss him greatly, we wish him all the best,” she wrote.
Why He’s Leaving: To Find Himself
In his Instagram post, Zheng also explained why he chose to leave his workplace of 36 years.
“It was a very painful decision, but at certain junctions in life, we have to decide if we should cross them or stay foot. I decided to take a break, pray, empty my mind in my own space and [make] the move to achieve those I longed to do. My intuition will always show me the positive paths,” he wrote.
He echoed these sentiments when talking to CNA Lifestyle as well, saying that he lost his sense of self and direction to some extent.
Ultimately, he concluded that even though it was a “painful decision” to make, he had to leave Mediacorp in order to seek new ventures and try out new things in life.
He also pointed out that age is a factor and that he wants to accomplish his new goals before he gets “too old” and loses his stamina.
Additionally, Zheng also touched on how he feels like he has “given the best” that he can to the Singapore entertainment scene, especially after he started working behind the scenes as part of a production team member.
He added that working in production was more challenging for him, but the work left him fulfilled and satisfied.
Plans for the Future
However, despite leaving Mediacorp for now, Zheng shared that he is not ruling out any possibilities of appearing on our television screens in the future.
In particular, he said that he is still open to participating in projects as an actor or producer if suitable opportunities arise.
For now, though, he hopes to take a break to refocus on his new goals and calm himself down, especially since he has many aspirations for the future.
One of those is fitness, which he predicts he might dive even deeper into.
And most Singaporeans probably are no strangers to the 58-year-old’s impressively chiselled physique, as well as Star Fitness, his fitness book that he published in 2013.
He even attained a sports science degree during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s clear that he has no intentions to stop there.
He added that he still has many things that he is keen on learning, especially in his areas of interest, such as acting, producing and fitness.
Beyond that, he also revealed that he is interested in learning more about meditation, especially since he has started trying it out for himself.
He added that he sometimes falls asleep after five minutes of meditating but hopes to gradually improve so that he can meditate for 45 minutes in one session.
Regarding his new habit, he explained that it helps improve one’s “inner peace and clarity”, which positively impacts how we work since we get to “see things differently”.
For Zheng, he believes that self-improvement will allow him to “do better” and “contribute more”.
He also pointed out that many people nowadays scroll social media to fill the void, which causes them to “miss out on communication” with themselves. On the other hand, meditation can help individuals connect with themselves.
Will Continue to Update Fans on Social Media
And while Zheng does not have any acting endeavours lined up for the next two years, he mentioned that he will still be posting on social media to let his fans know what he’s up to.
He added jokingly that his social media posts will remind his fans that he is “still alive” and does not have dementia.
When speaking about his fans, he said that he should fulfil his responsibility to his fans by posting positive content, especially since many of his fans have supported him for many years in the past.
Achievements in the Entertainment Industry
Zheng, who adopted the name Geping in 1998, first joined Mediacorp (known as SBC back then) in 1987.
Before joining Mediacorp, he worked various jobs, including as a staff member of a hotel’s French restaurant and as a police officer.
He decided to try acting for two years, but we all know that the “two years” eventually turned into 36.
Since joining Mediacorp, he has not only attained success in his career but also love, as he got to know his wife, fellow artiste Hong Huifang. The pair married each other in the early 90s, and both their children have also entered the entertainment industry.
Throughout his acting career, he attained the Best Actor award at the 2007 Star Awards. He also received 10 Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes awards, allowing him to receive the All-time Favourite Artiste award as well.
In his Instagram post, he revealed that he has acted in “125 drama series, telemovies [and] 9 movies”.
Apart from that, he also transitioned to work as a director, writer and executive producer.
In particular, he wrote, directed and acted in Unconditional Love, a 2012 project of his.
He was also the executive producer for other shows such as Close Your Eyes, How Are You 2, I Want to be a Towkay and most recently, Soul Detective.
He was also an executive producer and actor in DELETED, an independent film featured on Netflix.
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Featured Image: Instagram (@zhenggeping)