Which Noose star was a scammer in primary school?
Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Vina Chia, Genice Ooi
There will never be a dull moment when you gather the main cast of The Noose & Kakis 2 together for a video interview, as we learned (the hard way) when we dropped by rehearsals for the upcoming stage show at the Mediacorp dance studio.
From randomly bursting out into song to – gulp – wanting to pick a fight with us for calling them thorns (we asked Kayly Loh, the only female cast member, how it feels to be the rose among the thorns, prompting the men to protest at the “insult”), trying to get a serious answer from the quirky quartet was somewhat of an arduous task.
However, Kayly reassured us that the atmosphere is usually like that. “There is no proper time during rehearsals,” she deadpanned with a sigh and rolled eyes.
Not that there is a strict need for “proper” behaviour for The Noose & Kakis 2: My PSLE Is Better Than Yours, the sequel to last year’s successful 11 Months of Fresh Air. Next weekend, our favourite madcap reporters and characters from Channel 5’s The Noose will hit the stage for four live shows at the MES Theatre, and, as one can deduce from the title, a major theme will be education.
“I play student, student, student, student…” shared Alaric Tay, rattling off his list of roles. That won’t be all, of course. “There will be some characters from The Noose and entirely new ones you’ve never heard of before,” added Chua Enlai.
But why the focus on education? “It’s something you can’t get rid of – like the haze,” said Enlai, referring to one of the topics in last year’s show. “We hope to introduce some new elements to the educational system, and we also want to pay tribute to the schools that will be disappearing,” Suhaimi Yusof continued, referring to the recent announcement of eight Junior Colleges to be merged in 2019.
Despite the name of the show, not all of the cast members can boast that their PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) results are indeed better than the rest of ours – because only three out of the four of them actually passed.
That’s because Enlai, who moved to New Zealand from Singapore when he was 7, never actually sat for it. “This will be my first time taking PSLE,” he quipped. “But I don’t think it really matters whether I did or not because kids all around the world are the same: they hate exams.” Word.
Read on to find out what the cast of The Noose & Kakis 2 was like in primary school (before they play primary school students).
Enlai, who claimed that he was “a very good boy in primary school” (prompting groans of disbelief from his co-stars), has a pretty strange memory – or rather, a lack of it – from his childhood days.
“Because we’re acting as primary school kids [in The Noose & Kakis 2] and our voices are quite low, we have to keep reminding ourselves that young kids have a higher voice,” said the 38-year-old. “But when I think back to my days in primary school, I don’t remember having a high voice at all! I think when I came out of my mum I was already like (makes low-pitched wailing noises).”
“I don’t remember my voice breaking at all,” he continued. “As that’s quite traumatic for a guy, you know!”
Poor Enlai. But it’s better than not having a kiddy voice break at all, right?
Alaric amazed everyone when he reported that he was a class monitor in primary school.
However, he was a rather corrupt one. “When I was in power, I would make people do my bidding,” he admitted.
He was also a scammer. “There was once I, as instructed, caught a couple of guys playing with rubber erasers, so I helped the teacher to confiscate the erasers. Then, I took the erasers to the next class and sold them off.”
“That’s not evil – that’s just being a businessman!” he defended himself.
Whatever you say, Mr. Power Abuser.
Suhaimi proudly declared that he managed to ace his primary school exams…without even studying.
“I was living in the last remaining kampong in Singapore, and if you ask any kampong boy, we never studied! We’re born geniuses!” exclaimed the 47-year-old. “We would come home on a Friday, throw our bag in one corner, and only see it again on Monday morning. I don’t know how I managed to pass.”
Even harder to believe is the fact that the veteran entertainer was so shy, he didn’t dare to put up his hands to ask permission to go to the toilet.
“I remember peeing in my pants and waiting for my friends to leave the classroom before dragging myself out, leaving a trail of chemical stuff behind me,” he recalled.
We’re glad those days are far behind him as well.
“I was the goody two-shoes of all shoes,” said Kayly. “I was a prefect, a class monitor and an overachiever. I was basically your typical Singaporean kid, but ironically, my parents never forced me to study – I was the one who forced myself to study! But look at me, I grew up like this. (laughs)”
Well, it seems this typical Singaporean goody two-shoes was destined for comedic stardom (specifically, Noose-related comedic stardom). When we caught up with Kayly the 28-year-old for a brief one-on-one, she shared that she was offered a role in the show after her impressive performance as fictional Indonesian tai tai Marthalia Suharto-No Gudman for a The Noose-themed acting challenge on The 5 Search.
However, that episode wasn’t the first time she attempted a skit in the style of the mockumentary. When she auditioned for The 5 Search (which she went on to win), she also delivered a Noose-like number. In fact, she showed a knack for doing comedic impersonations even before she considered joining showbiz – which played a part in getting her to join the talent show in the first place.
“Felicia Chin is a personal friend of mine, and when we hung out I would imitate characters like Lulu,” shared Kayly. “One day she told me, ‘Hey, there’s this competition [you should join], I think you can be the next Michelle Chong.’ At first I was apprehensive, but she dragged me down to Mediacorp and helped me rehearse for my audition piece.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
“When I got confirmed for The Noose, I [told Felicia], ‘I have to thank you for doing this to me, for pushing me and telling me that maybe I have a thing for comedy.”
The two of them got to know each other when Kayly, then the owner of her own display advertising business, was engaged for some design work for The Mama Shop, a café set up by Felicia and Sora Ma. Although the eatery closed down in 2015, their friendship remained.
“It’s so amazing how one conversation led one thing to another; [Kayly]’s very talented!” gushed Felicia when we texted her for her thoughts. When asked if she will be supporting her gal pal at one of the gigs, she said, “I would love to! I feel very happy for her.”
Photos: Kayly Loh
Click through for more photos from the rehearsal of The Noose & Kakis 2!
Rehearsals - we mean, class is in session!
Three parents compete for a spot in a prestigious school, 'Hunger Games' style
Kayly as the dictator-like headmaster of a school
Alaric Tay, as Nicholas Le Fong, delivers a passionate Cantonese song performance
Enlai, playing a primary school student, raises his hand to ask "teacher" Kayly a question
Suhaimi Yusof's student character sobs after a scolding by "teacher" Kayly
Kayly reads through her script before rehearsals begin