Brian Chen, or more fondly known as Abang Brian, never liked celebrating his birthday.
“When I was young, I was fat, I was round. I didn’t have confidence. When you talk about birthday, I didn’t want to celebrate it, even-though my parents encouraged me,” the Suria FM deejay shares candidly with Star2 at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya.
“When I went on to become a teenager and adult, I didn’t want to celebrate it, not because I didn’t have confidence anymore, but because every single year that passed by, I asked myself ‘What have I done for my life?’”
But Chen, who turned 30 on Feb 3, is seeing things from a different perspective this year.
“Instead of making it about me, sulking in my own corner, let’s make it about other people,” he says.
“There are people who want to celebrate their birthdays but they are not able to because they don’t have money or they’re not well or just they never had a birthday cake, so I thought since I’m 30, why not I give away 30 birthday cakes to celebrate with others?”
His new project, “30 Keceriaan Bersama Abang Brian”, is aimed at appreciating kids who have never gotten the chance to celebrate their birthdays, kids who are undergoing medical treatment, kids who excel in school and kids who are an inspiration to others.
Members of the public can nominate the kids at suriafm.com.my by Feb 29.
The former MasterChef Malaysia contestant, with the help of some friends, will bake and deliver the cakes to the selected children in March.
And get this, Chen hopes to tailor make each cake that goes out, taking into account the child’s favourite cartoons and interests as well as his or her allergies.
On top of that, Chen is partnering with Make-A- Wish foundation to organise an event later in March where kids who are critically-ill will be treated to a cooking session and receive their very own cakes.
“It’s not about the cakes, it’s about bringing joy to people’s lives,” says Chen who is forking out his own money for the initiative. The response has been encouraging so far and Chen welcomes anyone who wants to come onboard and contribute in any way.
It has been around six months since Chen took on the job as a radio announcer on Suria FM’s Ceria Suria (weekdays, 10am to 1pm).
The show, which is skewed towards topics like family, fitness and food, has just introduced a new initiative, Jom Makan, to give back to its listeners.
Every Saturday, Chen will treat a family to lunch. And that’s not it – they will be joined by a celebrity guest too!
The affable guy shares he feels more comfortable now with helming the show. And the radio station seems to agree.
Besides helming Ceria Suria, Chen has been recently entrusted with the weekend chart show Suria 30 (Saturdays, 1pm to 4pm, repeats on Sundays, 3pm to 6pm) previously hosted by Linda Onn and Halim Othman which counts down 30 of the day’s most popular songs chosen by listeners.
“On Suria 30, we have celebrities every week. I’m supposed to interview and count down songs with them. It’s a different content altogether (compared to Ceria Suria), I talk about different things and I handle different people.
“They are from the entertainment industry, they do radio interviews all the time,” he shares about the challenges of hosting the show. He also admits he was afraid having to step inside Linda and Halim’s shoes at first.
Chen also appears on the reality baking series, Semanis Fondant, on Astro Ria which sees him working with other bakers to make the most extravagant cakes.
He reveals the most difficult task on the show so far was making a seven-tier cake where only the cake on the third tier could rotate.
“Why is so exciting is because in the industry, when we make wedding cakes that has six tiers, we make it in one week,” he says. “The challenge here is we have to do all that in one day.”
Catch Brian Chen on Suria FM’s Ceria Suria and Suria 30. For more information, visit suriafm.com.my. Semanis Fondant airs every Monday at 9.30pm on Astro Ria (Ch 104).