Fatherhood seems to suit actor Terence Cao.
At the press conference for his latest drama, Beyond Words, he opened up about his relationship with his five-year-old daughter, who lives in Shanghai with her mother, Miss Shi.
“We talk online whenever we can and she is old enough to ask me for hongbao and presents now,” Cao, 48, said with a laugh. “One thing she likes to ask for is new shoes.”
He added: “My schedule is pretty busy, but I am always available if she wants to call me.”
Cao said he and his daughter did not meet over the Chinese New Year period and do not visit each other “as often as I would want to”.
Although Cao has been involved in his daughter’s life only since 2012 – when Miss Shi revealed that he had fathered their child in a one-night stand – he said he was getting used to parenthood.
“Being a dad is really cool. You have this sudden authority over someone. It’s a big responsibility and it fosters a sense of maturity… It is really a blessing,” he said.
Cao’s paternal instincts have also extended to the cast and crew of Beyond Words, a drama about the Liang family who struggle between the pursuit of material comforts and family togetherness.
It premieres on Channel 8 on March 17 and will air on weekdays at 9pm.
Cao plays Liang Lekun, a man in his 50s who resolves to spend more time with his family after quitting his job.
At the press conference, fellow actors Tong Bing Yu and Jayley Woo affectionately called him “papa.”
Cao said: “I don’t know how I became the papa. I guess it’s because I’m older than all of them.
“Some people have told me that because I am a veteran, they need to respect me and I should keep my distance, but I believe in building a bridge (with) young people.”
Because they spend seven days a week filming in Malaysia and have gruelling 16-hour days on set, Cao would cheer up the cast and crew by buying meals for them and driving them out for movies or massages.
“I had driven my car up to Kuala Lumpur, so I volunteered to do these things.
“When you are (so) tired, a massage suddenly becomes the best thing ever.”
Cao, who is single, said he is not hopeful about getting married in the future and has even told his concerned mother to stop trying to set him up.
“I told her not to waste her time,” he said.
“I lead a very interesting life now and I am very happy to have my own space. Like everyone else, I am eager to see what happens to me in future.”
This article was first published on March 3, 2016.
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