John Cheng

John Cheng

One of Singapore's finest actors has passed away after John Cheng collapsed at the back of a Chinese nightclub. He had been performing on the stage a few hours earlier but had what looks like a heart attack. He was age 52. Cheng's life was a real rags to riches story, and can prove that anyone with talent and ambition has got half a chance of getting to the very top and turning their luck around. He was the archetypal anti-hero, but was loved and adored as the ‘bad guy' in his movies. You could even draw comparisons between him and Vinnie Jones, who also often plays the gangster tough guy in films.

It is not right to dwell on his death without looking back at his life and celebrating the man that he was. He came from a tough background and admitted in interviews he had been a loan shark when he was younger. But the movie business offered him salvation, and perhaps because of his upbringing he often portrayed thuggish characters.

One thing he had the power to do was to engage an audience and make them believe in his performance. That is all any actor or actress can achieve at the end of the day, an authentic portrayal that brings the audience into the story. Singapore getai singer and actor John Cheng You Nam, also known as "Ah Nan" or "Ah Nam", stared his career in the highly successful “Money No Enough”. This was his breakthrough role and his tough talking appearance enamoured him to the Singaporean people immediately.

Cheng was a great friend of Singapore director Jack Neo who he collaborated with on numerous occasions, including "I Not Stupid" and "Where Got Ghost". However, the film that he is truly remembered for and which propelled him onto the red carpet in his home country was Liang Po Po.

His great friend Neo was obviously devastated by the loss and tweeted, "My old friend Ah Nan has gone."