Text and Photos: Tan Thiam Peng
Video: Ang Peiyi

An artist drawing a tattoo on Ong Ai Leng's forearm.

If your best impression of actress Ong Ai Leng recently is of her D-cup assets, we don't blame you.

Popular in her birth country of Malaysia, the artiste has been fleeting at most on local TV in recent months.

She had a minor role as a down-on-her-luck masseuse in the Chinese New Year drama Happy Family, then a rural single mum in Best Things In Life, which was another small role. In her new dramas Unriddle and The Family Court, she would only cameo in a few episodes.

Before this run, Ai Leng had been absent from our goggle boxes for a whole seven months, with the exception of bust enhancement commercials for a beauty chain.

Is being neither here nor there all part of some big plan?

Chatting chirpily with xinmsn on the set of Unriddle in which she plays the cancer-stricken lover of a mob boss (Zheng Geping), the 31-year-old was quick to dismiss apparent signs she is making a quiet exit, in fact saying she is as much in love with acting as ever.

Ong Ai Leng all smiles despite her "frightening" makeup.

"Artistes have to be very persistent, even if nothing comes out of it," emphasizing she is happy with her roles even if they're minor, although the actress betrayed a slight regret she seems to be going nowhere.

"Many actors in Hong Kong are given only small roles for many years. But eventually they get a big break."

She sounded earnest when discussing her passion for acting, calling it an "addiction".
"If I don't like acting, I wouldn't have stayed so long," she said.

Her contract will be up in October, but the former MediaWorks artiste is sure for now she'll be staying on. She seconded the departing MediaCorp star Nat Ho's recent comment that "an entertainer never really leaves the industry."

But what set the beautiful actress apart during the interview was her frankness and pragmatism. With all said, she still playfully screamed, "Acting doesn't earn much!"

"My passion for acting isn't rational. But I'm rational! (Laughs) That's why I have a sideline!"

Ong Ai Leng