Er Gu the tour guide
4. Cai Pingkai, 70, tour guide
Even as a tour guide, Cai Pingkai is called Er Gu (left) all the time, after a character from a Channel 8 series that has become synonymous with her. Images: Zaobao file, Alphonsus Chern
Best known for: Playing coffee shop owner Er Gu in the long-running Singapore Broadcasting Corporation series Neighbours (1986 to 1988)
Till this day, tour guide Cai Pingkai gets called Er Gu. The endearing epithet is a reference to her iconic character Er Gu (which means second aunt in Mandarin) in the popular 1980s sitcom Neighbours.
The well-meaning “kaypoh” (Hokkien for busybody) character was such a standout in the 510 episode drama that the name became synonymous to being a nag or nosy parker.
Cai, who is divorced with a 31- year-old computer engineer son, has embraced all aspects of her most famous role.
She has incorporated the name Er Gu into her e-mail address and for her role in the current Channel 8 drama 118, the producer granted her request for her character to be called Er Gu.
Before joining the television station full time in 1986, she took up dance and piano lessons, joined a drama society and was a voice actor for children radio dramas.
She left Singapore Broadcasting Corporation in 1990, shortly after Neighbours ended, to take on other jobs while continuing as a part- time actress.
She has been a tour guide for more than a decade, taking groups to countries such as the United States, China and Japan. Her other gigs are emceeing jobs at getai and grassroot events at community clubs. She also conducts acting and hosting classes.
With age catching up, she plans to retire in a few years and travel the world on her own terms.