Singapore

Zheng Geping brought his son to the gym at 17 after an overweight childhood

Singapore — It is no secret that father-and-son Zheng Geping and Calvert Tay share a close bond. Tay knows exactly what type of coffee his father enjoys, and he orders the cappuccino for him.

During a recent interview, the interviewer asked who does the 21-year-old feel closer to, mum or dad. Tay then replied carefully that it depended on the situation. 57-year-old Zheng then shared that the pair have a mutual love for collecting replica swords and katanas.

“We have a whole collection of ‘The Lord of The Rings’ swords. That’s our prized possession,” Tay chimed in. According to Zheng, Zheng’s wife, fellow actress Hong Hui Fang’s reaction towards this hobby is: ‘These two ah…’.

Zheng and Tay also bond over fitness, martial arts and sports besides their niche hobby. The whole family supports Manchester United. Zheng used to be a taekwondo instructor. But it was only in 2009 that he became serious with fitness when one of his projects needed him to go shirtless at 45 years old.

“To put it bluntly, either I [decide to] look like sh*t or look good. There’s no half-half. I wanted to look good so I started training in 2009,” the father of two said. Zheng appears to have consistently kept his fitness level up, as seen on his Instagram posts and current physique. Tay seems to have followed his father in his footsteps.

The young man was overweight during his childhood and only started becoming fit in secondary school after joining his school’s basketball team. When Tay turned 17, Zheng started bringing him to the gym.

“My dad brought me to the gym and advised me to get into a regular routine to maintain a healthy lifestyle. After which, I began to explore a lot of sports including martial arts,” he said.

The father-son duo talked more about the activities they do together to stay healthy at home on Channel 5‘s “Body & Soul”. In 2020, when the circuit breaker started, Tay learned that the family could take a break for a short while. “Wah, we were snacking a lot and watching a lot of Netflix,” he recounted. In two weeks time, they started to feel restless again.

Tay added: “This guy [points to Zheng] started picking up the dumbbells two weeks later. Then my sister and I followed suit, and eventually my mother as well.”

The positive influence in the family, Zheng, reasoned that he just got restless after two weeks of being cooped at home.

“It was fun for the family to get together. Never have we had this kind of experience where it was just every day wake up and sleep, no place to go or things to do,” he said.

Tay added: “You will feel pain together. When you feel pain together, you’d bond more and push each other more for that last rep.”

Calvert Tay and Zheng Geping. Picture: Instagram

As reported on Mothership.sg, it was not just a family for Tay and his sister, 25-year-old actress Tay Ying. At that time, Tay shared that they would do two workout sessions a day. “It was crazy. We have a big group of friends, about 50 to 100 people, and we’d work out together over Zoom. Each day, someone would lead a workout, it was interesting.”

Working out is not the only thing that the family does together. Tay decided to pursue acting when he was 16, following his parents and sister are also actors.

He made his debut in Channel 8 series “While We Are Young” alongside Zoe Tay and other second-generation actors, Chantalle Ng, Chen Yixin and Marcus Guo. Zheng neither encouraged nor discouraged his kids to follow in their footsteps but he said that he will always support them as long as they have passion for what they do.

“From young, they know what the job is like. They know that it’s not easy with the long hours on set and in terms of privacy, there isn’t [one]. Actually, my wife and I don’t encourage or discourage them, it’s their choice. It’s an industry that they must like and have the passion to pursue it.”

So what’s one of the many pieces of advice Tay has received from his father?

“You can’t make everybody like you, and you don’t have to.”

However, if given the opportunity, both of them agreed that they would not want to play the role of father and son.

Zheng quipped: “Maybe we can act as enemies or villains. Father and daughter, father and son… like that not fun. If we can whack or fight each other, that’s better.”

Acting is just one of the several spectrums of the entertainment industry that Tay is exploring.

In July 2021, Tay released his first English single “Right Side”.

Even his father was surprised that he got into music.

“All of a sudden, he is very into music. This is a talent that my wife and I, and even his sister, don’t have,” he said.

Tay explained that he has always enjoyed music but began to question a lot about how music is made during the many pockets of time he had during the circuit breaker.

“I decided to use my diary and write down my feelings and think back about my past experiences to see what I can draft out. Obviously, it wasn’t very good at first.”

With a lot of hard work and the guidance of music school Academy of Rock, Tay produced “Right Side”, with two more songs in the pipeline.

So how did his parents react when they heard his music?

“I looked at him and said ‘This is you? This is your voice?’ It’s something I’ve never imagined, we were really amazed.”

Season 9 of “Body and Soul” is now available on MeWatch, with a new episode every Wednesday at 9:30pm. /TISG

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