By Amelia Tan
WHEN Shawn Lee acts in a movie, what matters most to him is how the audience reacts when the film makes it to the big screen.
The 19-year-old adopted the same attitude when preparing for his A levels: He pictured his parents' applause.
The actor of I Not Stupid and Homerun fame scored As in Maths, Economics, Physics and General Paper. He scored Bs in Chemistry, Project Work and Higher Chinese.
The first thing his mother said was: 'You have done well, mummy is so touched.'
But the good grades have come with some sacrifice on the part of the Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) student.
He has been missing from the big screen in the last two years, a decision he made to concentrate on his studies.
Shawn had to reject a couple of roles in movies such as Jack Neo's Love Matters.
There were also his cross-country and basketball practices - co-curricular activities that kept him in school till 8pm on most days.
But he could not stay away from acting. Last year, he played the lead role in a Mandarin play, Choice, which was staged by ACJC's Chinese Cultural Society. The play won a gold with honours at last year's Singapore Youth Festival.
His mother, housewife Stella Tan, 50, said: 'He has been acting in TV dramas since he was nine...I know he would study till 2am or 3am on many days, but he knows he has to stay up late if he wants to take part in so many activities.'
Shawn's father, Mr Lee Wai Lung, 58, owns a transport company. They live in a three-room flat in Jurong West. He has two older siblings who are married.
With the A levels over, Shawn, who is doing his national service, wants to apply for a scholarship to study film at New York University.
He said: 'I want to act and produce movies. I am filled with a sense of satisfaction when I watch myself in movies and see people laughing and clapping. I like being able to touch people.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times.