WHEN Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee chose May Chin to be the female protagonist of his award-winning film The Wedding Banquet, little did he know this was the offer the popular Taiwanese singer and television actress had been waiting for, for eight years. It was Chin's first film - and it catapulted the 28-year-old into the hot property list for the big screen in Taiwan. The Wedding Banquet, by winning the Berlin Film Festival's Great Bear and the American Chinese Media Award, has further reinforced Chin's ambition to make a splash in her new direction. Chin was in Hong Kong recently to promote The Wedding Banquet, which opened here four days ago. She proved to be a woman with ideals, and persistent about them. ''I am very choosy about offers. In the past, many producers had asked me to play doll-like characters that demanded only a pretty face but not acting skills. I rejected them all,'' Chin said. That is why she has stuck with television since 1985, because, with television, she gets to play flesh and blood characters that tap her acting talent. Chin was nominated best actress in Taiwan's prestigious Golden Bell Award last year. Chin's real interest, however, is in singing. In 1984, she took first prize in Taiwan's Star Search television show, and has since produced four top-selling albums. ''I always have a drive to sing. To act is just something that follows that career,'' shesaid. Like Winston Chao, who played the homosexual Wei-tung in Banquet, Chin also was drawn to Ang Lee by his debut film, Pushing Hand. ''The film is very touching and inspired my confidence in the director. Moreover, Lee emphasises acting over gorgeous costumes or spectacular scenes.'' Playing Wei-wei, the mainland abstract artist who fakes a marriage with Chao for a US green card in The Wedding Banquet, seems natural. ''I'm like her. I'm also very independent and confident about my own ways,'' Chin told Young Post in Mandarin. Chin's fluent English in the film was the result of memorising every line, and a talent for language that had earned her numerous awards in speech contests in high school. She was eager to appear in Ang Lee's next film Eat Drink Man Woman, also starring Chao, but she had to give up the offer because of a television contract. (Another Taiwanese, Ng Chian-lien, will take the role.) Chin, meanwhile, is the star in another film, Evil Sword, tentatively set for release later this year. ''I'm very aggressive and ambitious. Banquet is only the beginning, I want to become better and will concentrate on film in the next two years.''