PERFORMING artist - for want of a better phrase - Sandra Ng Kwan-yue has assumed so many identities that part of the thrill of getting an interview with her was in guessing which one would come to the fore. Would she be Ng, the congenial Enjoy Yourself Tonight host? The pudgy madcap comedienne from Stephen Chiau Sing-chi movies? The svelte singer? Or the glib radio talk show host? Although she does not quite qualify as a Grade One star yet, Ng has had reasonably successful runs in the first three genres, and on Friday she finishes a three-month stint as co-host of Commercial Radio's late night talk show The Show Must Go On Harassing. So is there anything Ng wouldn't try just once? 'Not much,' comes the candid reply from a wary but genial Ng as she prepares for the night's segment at the CR studios. At least, not when it comes to furthering her experience in the performing arts. 'I have to try everything. If you choose to enter this line of work, then you have to try everything,' said Ng, who spent her childhood on the fringes of the showbiz world - her father is ATV's former 'Mr Mark Six' Har Chun-chow. 'If I get the chance, I would try anything.' Such as this guest stint on Commercial Radio? 'Actually this was something I had been interested in doing for some time. In fact, the Soft and Hardcore Kids asked me to co-host 10 segments with them but my movie schedules kept me from it. 'When Winnie [Yu] asked me if I wanted to try this new programme, I was all for it. Coincidentally, most of my filming work was just about wrapped up by then and I had no other commitments to stop me this time. I was actually dying to do this,' she says with exaggerated yearning in her voice. But after hosting the programme with resident DJ Wyman Wong Wai-man five nights a week over three months, Ng reckons she will be able to take away a lot with her - not so much financially, but in terms of experience. 'I've gained an understanding of the radio broadcasting business and I've sharpened my reflexes and talking skills. In radio, you cannot say the wrong things; there are no second chances,' she says. 'You have to think on your feet and be decisive. While you're asking one question, you already have to think of the next one. If you can't think fast enough, your guests might lead you down the garden path.' Being in showbusiness has helped her with her turn at the microphone, she believes. For starters, she is on friendly terms with most of the territory's stars, and has even been successful at coaxing out of hiding certain individuals known to be elusive. Ng can now boast of hosting the only programme on which Maggie Cheung Man-yuk agreed to appear since news broke of her romance with a real-estate tycoon. She also managed to get Canto-pop's 'big big sister' Paula Tsui Siu-fung into the studio, not to mention Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing - who had not set foot in a radio station for seven years. There was a telephone interview with Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia immediately after her honeymoon, and Cherrie Chung - aka Mrs Mike Chu - to talk about some secret recipes. 'I've been quite happy with what I've done. Especially when the Chinese newspapers often report on who my special guests were and what they said the next day. It means that people have been paying attention,' Ng says. BUT most of all, she likes the warm and friendly atmosphere which has pervaded most of the segments. The secret, she believes, lies in not starting off with an 'I'm-out-to-get-you' attitude. 'It's important being able to make your guests feel comfortable so that they will relax and speak. They're not that difficult to handle. I've never tried to project myself as this sharp interviewer who drags embarrassing confessions out of them. 'Actually everyone likes to talk and have feelings they'd like to share. If you don't make them feel that you are just waiting for a chance to out-talk them or dig out that unquotable quote, they will speak up. 'Ours is an entertainment programme and our policy is to entertain. Why make things difficult? These artists are under enough pressure without having to worry later about whether they said the wrong thing on the show.' The one thing that Ng found difficult was living her life to a strict schedule. 'It has been like taking on a full-time job with a rigid schedule,' she declares. 'In movies it is so different because you're not in every scene, so you can have a few days' work, and a few days' holiday. And then, there's the weather - you get the day off if there's a typhoon or if it's too wet. 'But this . . . I have to turn up during typhoons. I could be in the middle of my own birthday party and I would still have to come back to the studios. 'I have never worked to rigid schedules before. I entered TVB's training class right after school and I'm used to flexible time. Now I look at the clock all the time!' It was under the encouragement of her father that Ng signed up to try for the artist training class in 1985. 'It was a choice between that and leaving home and going overseas for further studies, something which scared me. But I found it fun and discovered that I did have some talent.' It was not long after graduation that Ng was cast as one of the hosts of Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Her years on the programme honed her speaking skills, and her madcap behaviour made her a familiar face in Hong Kong households. WHEN she decided to go it alone in films, she was quickly embraced by the industry, which had been hungering for a comedienne who could bring in the laughs and, frankly, could take being portrayed as an unattractive wallflower. 'There are so many beautiful women in Hong Kong. Just take my training-class colleagues - Carina Lau Kar-ling, Margie Tsang Wah-sin and Yammie Lam Kit-ying - they're all beautiful. That's why I opted for comedy.' Although Ng rose very quickly to become a comedy actress in great demand, and became the frequent sidekick to mo lei tau king Stephen Chiau, the sting of being labelled a noisy, unwanted woman did not lessen and Ng decided that she had to do something - and quickly. She turned down film scripts and went into hiding for several months, during which she lost more than 30lb in weight and emerged with a new svelte image and a recording contract with BMG Records (HK). 'The recording contract was something I never dreamt of. But the company wanted to try something new; it was a concept thing - a gimmick - which they tried to see if it would work. But it was quite fun once I got into it,' she says. The gimmick worked: she made Hong Kong Canto-pop fans sit up and take notice with her cover version of Bobby Brown's Humpin' Around. But Ng also began to realise that singing was not just standing on stage belting out a number. 'In movies, all you have to do is turn up for work and act. There's an image director, lighting men, the director, even the ah sum [woman helper] to pass you tea. And you do one round of promotion when the movie is released,' she says. 'But with singing, there are endless interviews, and then you have to worry about what clothes to wear for which picture shoot, and what you have to sing. I never knew it was so tough.' Ultimately, Ng's dream is to be a director, but she quickly adds: 'That is not a target I'm setting for the near future. It's too difficult telling people what to do when I don't even know what I want.' But before that, Ng hopes that her broadcasting stint will lay the foundation for her to go back to television work and be a talk-show host - not the sort that we see on local television nowadays, but more along the lines of Oprah Winfrey. Isn't Ng worried that she might turn out to be a Jack of all trades? 'No, that won't happen,' she says confidently. 'I'm quite satisfied with what I have achieved with comedies. Even Miss Hong Kongs are making the kind of movies I used to do, but I still have the satisfaction of being a step ahead.' Film work will remain Ng's priority although she will be more picky about the roles she takes on. 'I want roles that allow me to act. I'm not just looking for heavy dramas but I just want a change from being the noisy madcap one,' she says. 'If you want to try something new in Hong Kong, you always have to wait for a chance to slip in. I think Hong Kong lacks real actors; Anita Yuen and Leslie Cheung are stars.