Tan Kheng Hua

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Tan Kheng Hua
Headshots by Sung Lingun.jpg
Kheng in 2013
Background information
Chinese name陈琼华
Chinese name陳瓊華 (traditional)
Chinese name陈琼华 (simplified)
Pinyinchén qióng huá (Mandarin)
Pe̍h-ōe-jīTân Khêng-hôa (Hokkien)
BornTan Kheng Hua
(1963-01-17) 17 January 1963 (age 55)
Singapore
Alma materIndiana University
OccupationActress
NationalitySingaporean
Spouse(s)Lim Yu-Beng
ChildrenLim Shi-An (daughter)

Tan Kheng Hua (simplified Chinese: 陈琼华; traditional Chinese: 陳瓊華; pinyin: Chén Qióng Huá; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tân Khêng-hôa; born 17 January 1963) is a Singaporean actress best known for her role as Margaret Phua in MediaCorp TV Channel 5's longest-running hit television sitcom Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd.

Career[edit]

Kheng took an interest in acting when she took a theatre elective, Acting 101, while in university in the US. After returning to Singapore, Kheng took up a job in public affairs and acted in her spare time.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science Magna Cum Laude degree from Indiana University.

The first stage play she performed in was John Bowen's The Waiting Room directed by her cousin Ivan Heng. It took almost a decade before Tan became a full-time actress.

In the theatre, she is in the original casts of landmark plays such as Beauty World, Lao Jiu, Descendants of the Admiral Eunuch, Animal Farm, Cooling Off Day and recently, Falling, for which she won her second Life! Theatre Best Actress Award.

In television, Kheng is best known for her role as Margaret in Singapore’s longest running and most successful sitcom, Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd, for which she won an Asian Television Award for Best Actress (Comedy). Her first foray into Mandarin-language television, Beautiful Connection, earned her a nomination at the Star Awards.

On the international scene, Kheng is seen in The Philanthropist (NBC, Lead Supporting, Actor) The Patriarch (UFA, Lead Supporting, Actor), Serangoon Road (HBO Asia Original Series, Lead Guest), The Empress Dowager in Netflix Original Series, Marco Polo and Kerry Chu in the Warner Bros. film Crazy Rich Asians, which premiered in 2018.

Kheng also creates and produces for stage and television in Singapore including the critically acclaimed cabaret act, The Dim Sum Dollies; the dramas 9 Lives and Do Not Disturb, the latter being the first local TV series to receive the maximum 5-star rating from Straits Times Life!, the Mandarin serial, Mr & Mrs Kok and lifestyle infotainment on The Asian Food Channel.

She also creates and produces theatre and festivals outside of Singapore including No.7, an original theatre piece commissioned by the Georgetown Festival 2011 in Penang. No.7 was sold out with a waiting list. In 2014, she brought 64 Singaporean and Malaysian artists together in The SIN-PEN Colony to Penang’s Georgetown Festival celebrating the cities’ shared heritage of food, visual art, music, theatre and design. The theatre segment within The SIN-PEN Colony, 2 Houses, sold-out within four days. She conceptualized and produced The Twenty-Something Theatre Festival 2016 and Tropicana The Musical which opened to rave reviews on April 2017.

For her contributions to the arts, Kheng was one of fifty local stage personalities in an exhibition celebrating 50 years of Singapore theatre and part of twenty contemporary artists chosen to represent Singapore in Singapore: Inside Out, a showcase presented by the Singapore Tourism Board in Beijing, London and New York City to celebrate Singapore's fiftieth anniversary.

Personal life[edit]

Tan has a daughter named Shi-An with Singaporean actor Lim Yu-Beng.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role
1996 Army Daze Cavewoman
1999 That One Not Enough (那个不够)
2005 Cages Ali Tan
2018 Crazy Rich Asians Kerry Chu

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1994–1995 Masters of the Sea
1995 Dick Lee with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra Herself, as host variety show
1997–2007 Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd Margaret Phua 7 seasons
1999 AlterAsians – Iris’ Rice Bowl Iris Miniseries
2000 A War Diary
2002 Beautiful Connection Mo Lan Ying
2003 The New Home
2008–2009 Sayang Sayang Nellie Tan 2 seasons
2013 Serangoon Road Artik 1 episode
2014 Marco Polo Xie Daoqing 8 episodes
2017 BRA Gloria Yap 2 episodes

Theatre[edit]

Drama[edit]

  • Invitation To Treat – The Eleanor Wong Trilogy by Eleanor Wong (2003)
  • Luna-Id: The Lover by Harold Pinter (Sarah, 2004)
  • Wild Rice: Animal Farm adapted by Ian Wooldridge (Clover, 2002)
  • Action Theatre: Autumn Tomyam by Desmond Sim (Marge Lerner, 2001)
  • TheatreWorks: Trojan Women by Euripedes (Andromeda, 1991)
  • Mad Forest by Caryl Churchill (Lucia, Dog, 1990)
  • Mergers & Accusations/Wills & Secession by Eleanor Wong (Ellen Toh, 2001)
  • Fiction Farm: The Blue Room by David Hare (Au Pair, Model, 1999)
  • Closer by Patrick Marber (Anna, 2000)
  • Practice Performing Arts: The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertold Brecht (emsemble, 1989)
  • Theatreworks: Descendants of the Admiral Eunuch by Kuo Pao Kun (ensemble, winner Critics Award Best Acting Ensemble Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre, 1996)
  • Lao Jiu by Kuo Pao Kun (ensemble, Perth Festival 1994)
  • Longing (ensemble, outdoor performance)
  • Broken Birds (ensemble, outdoor performance, 1995)

Musicals[edit]

  • Toy Factory: Guys & Dolls by Damon Runyon (Sarah Brown, 1999)
  • TheatreWorks: Beauty World (Lulu, lead, South East Asian Theatre Festival and Tokyo International Theatre Festival in Japan)
  • Music & Movement: Kampong Amber by Catherine Lim (May, lead, opening show Singapore Arts Festival 1994)

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Art Nation Best Actress Award (2003)
  • DBS Life! Theatre Award, Best Actress (2002),
  • Asian Television Award, Best Comedic Performance by an Actress (2002),
  • Asian Television Award Highly Commended Performance by an Actress (2003),
  • Star Awards (Mandarin) Nominated Best Supporting Actress (2002),
  • Asian Television Award Runner-up Best Current Affairs & Magazine Presenter (2000),
  • JCCI Singapore Foundation Culture Awards for Contributions to Singapore (1998),
  • Critics Choice for Best Actor Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre (1997), *Indiana University Founders Day Award for High Scholastic Achievement (1984, 1985, 1986), *National Colours Awards for Gymnastics (1977) (Noteworthy Selections: 21 Remarkable Women of *Singapore by the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware))

External links[edit]