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Aniu ushers in Lunar New Year with new teeth, new film

Malaysian singer-actor Aniu opens up about how he lost 16 teeth in one day, and why he feels sad when he watches his new movie, the Lunar New Year comedy "Huat Ah! Huat Ah! Huat!".

SINGAPORE: It was a very different Aniu who met Singapore reporters at a media conference for his new film “Huat Ah! Huat Ah! Huat!” on Wednesday.

Gone were his crooked teeth, which have become his most recognisable feature over the years.

“I didn’t get my teeth fixed just because I wanted to look handsome!” said Aniu.

The Malaysian singer-actor explained that he recently visited a dentist for the first time in a about a decade, after one of his front teeth became loose.

The dentist later found that his gums are badly damaged, some of his teeth were rotten and infection had set in, so Aniu decided to get his teeth fixed.

“I got 16 teeth removed in just one day,” said Aniu.

“I was in the dentist’s chair for six hours. The dentist could quickly extract my teeth because of the condition of my gums. But it took him some time to remove all the infected tissue.”

“It was really, really painful. I was anaesthetised but it wore off midway through the procedure. My upper gum felt like it was a piece of barbequed pork being pierced by metal hooks.”

“The next day, my face was so swollen I looked like Snoopy!”

Aniu had a set of artificial teeth fitted in their place, and lived on porridge as well as finely diced fruit for two weeks while recovering from the dental procedure, which cost him “tens of thousands of dollars” even though he got a discount as the dentist was a friend of a friend.

“It is really difficult to eat anything, and I have to brush my teeth after I eat. I lost about 1-2kg because of that.

“I think I’ll start working out since I already lost some weight, and quickly get a photo book done while I still have the goods,” joked Aniu.

Missing his teeth

“Huat Ah! Huat Ah! Huat!” is Aniu’s final film before he got his teeth fixed.

The film revolves around Ah Huat (Aniu), a kind-hearted, autistic young man from a Malaysian village who discovers he has a knack for making an amazing cup of coffee.

Ah Huat goes to Kuala Lumpur to work for a wealthy businesswoman, in order to earn enough money to afford the treatment for his grandfather Da Chai’s (Marcus Chin) medical condition.

But things get complicated when his employer attempts to cheat him and tragedy strikes at home.

“I always feel a little sad when I watch the film. The film reminds of my crooked teeth.

"They are everywhere in the film! It’s sad to lose a part of me that has followed me through the years,” said Aniu, noting that there is even a close-up of his crooked teeth in a scene at the beginning of the film.

“So those who want to see the old me should come watch it!”

“Huat Ah! Huat Ah! Huat!”, which also stars veteran radio host Marcus Chin, and Hong Kong singer actor Joyce Cheng, will be released on January 30, to cash in on the annual Lunar New Year season surge in cinema attendances.

Aniu said he hopes the film will bring in S$1.88 million and promised to hold a concert here if it actually does happen.

For now, he just wants to spend the Lunar New Year with his 13-year-old daughter, whom he seldom saw in the past two years, because he had been busy with work.

“I sometimes feel bad about not spending more time with her.

“Suddenly, I find that my daughter is now a teenager. Suddenly, I find my daughter is almost as tall as me now,” said Aniu.

“It’s scary!”

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