The Private Life of Jien
WORDS: Grace Kang-Ong
He is the face of ESPN-Star Sports, Malaysian Idol and Asian Idol, among many others. Ever since he hosted the Disney Channel back in 1997, Soo Kui Jien, fondly known as Jien, has not looked back. Thanks to his stunning good looks and on-screen charisma, this talented Malaysian has cut a career for himself in regional and international television. Jien shares his private life – career, health and family – with Editor Grace Kang-Ong.
Grace Kang-Ong (GK): Tell us more about yourself.
Soo Kui Jien (Jien): I’m a pretty laid-back guy, or so I’d like to think. All my dreams and hopes are with my family, and I just want to do my very best to take care of them.
GK: Your breakthrough as a TV personality came with the Disney Channel. Has that always been your dream?
Jien: I started with the Disney Channel way back in November 1997. It was right after I graduated from university in Perth. I never wanted to be on television; it just dropped in my lap. But I have no regrets and it continues to be a great career.
GK: What are your current projects?
Jien: All my TV work is now in Singapore, where I’ve been based for the last five years. I just finished a variety talkshow called Entertainment on 5. I hosted the Singapore F1 Grand Prix, a sports magazine show called Sports@Sg, The President’s Star Charity – all produced by Mediacorp Channel 5. I will also be back presenting English football again after a two-year break. The show is called Tiger Passport to the Premier and it will air on a new cable network called Singtel Mio Stadium.
GK: Where do you see yourself in five years? Will you be exploring the international scene?
Jien: I’m really happy with where I am at the moment and wherever my work takes me next, I’m fine with it. International scene? I think that ship set sail a while ago.
GK: How has your life as a celebrity – with its busy schedule – affected your health?
Jien: I have to be a little more diligent these days. I’m so busy with work and family that sometimes getting enough sleep is a luxury. Also, I’m always eating on the go or whatever the production crews are serving.
GK: Lack of sleep? How do you maintain your good looks and radiant skin?
Jien: I try to catch up on sleep whenever I can. I also try to drink lots of water. I don’t know if any of these will eventually help me look good. But, hey I do! So, what can I say!
GK: What’s your eating pattern?
Jien: I pretty much eat anything, but I try to eat as healthy as I can – lots of fruits and vegetables!
GK: Do you have any concern about your nutrition intake? How do you overcome that?
Jien: I do! I try to take vitamin supplements, according to my dad’s recommendations. He started us on vitamins when we were little and way before it was trendy. I have hardly ever gotten ill in the past 30-odd years, so I guess it's working.
GK: How do you ensure that you are eating out healthily? Do you have any restaurant/café guidelines?
Jien: I don’t, actually. I feel that if you are going to dine out, you might as well enjoy it. I think moderation is the key. People tend to over-eat when they are out. One thing I do, I never eat at buffets.
GK: What are the ground rules you have set with your wife, in terms of food and health?
Jien: To eat as healthy as we can. Cut down on processed foods and sugar; eat a healthy serving of fruits and vegetables every day; and, lots of fruit juices as well.
GK: What do you do when you are stressed-out? How do you unwind?
Jien: My son is just so wonderful. Simply spending time with him is a great stress-buster. However, it also sometimes adds to the stress. I watch a lot of sports on TV and that helps me relax. A glass of wine helps, too.
GK: Do you go for annual health screenings? Do you know your lipid profile and glucose level?
Jien: I actually don't know. I've only had health screenings for my insurance policies or work permit applications. I need to beef up on this. I will have a full health screening soon and intend to do it every year. I now have a family and I must be a little more diligent with my health.
GK: What are the 10 do’s and 10 don’ts to nurture and educate your child?
Jien: WOW! That’s a lot of do’s and don’ts! I think when you become a parent you realise that you have to work as a team with your wife. There are no hard-and-fast rules. It’s best to understand your child’s personality and do your very best. We just want to bring up our son the best way we can.
GK: What are the five things that make a good dad? Are you close to becoming one?
Jien: Five things? Hahaha …. Just pay, pay, pay, pay and pay. That’s five, right?
GK: What are your hopes and aspirations for your little boy, Dylan Robert Soo? What are the endearing terms both of you use to call him?
Jien: I just want him to be happy and to realise whatever potential he has. I call him D most of the time.
GK: What are the seven things about Dylan that you love most?
Jien: I’ll be honest – there are way more than seven things I love about my son. I think he is the sweetest boy, with the loveliest smile. He has such a good heart and he is gentle as well. I’d just wish he would stop saying ‘NO!’ to everything.
GK: What are the seven things about your wife Sarah that you love most?
Jien: Seven? That is too many! Seriously, I couldn’t have given Dylan a better mother. She is so devoted to him and I’d be lost without her. I love her with all my heart.
GK: When you are busy travelling, what do you miss most?
Jien: My family, of course, which includes Charlie, our golden retriever. My bed, cooking, reading the papers in the morning, walks with my family, the smell of my son and big hugs from my wife.
GK: What is your slogan on life?
Jien: I don’t have one fixed slogan, but I think everyone should just do the very best and give it all they’ve got.
GK: What is your message to the readers of HealthToday?
Jien: Live life the best way you can. Try to stay happy and healthy.