There’s no denying that the Gen Z is constantly making waves, steering and shaping the next big thing in popular culture. Here’s how you can identify one – constant usage of social media, using slang words like ‘slay’ and ‘situationship’ in daily conversations, and adventure-seeking travel itinerary. And thanks to Tiktok’s viral short-form videos, the world discovered talents like David Eung Hao and Raynold Tan within seconds.
Known to be digital natives who can easily adapt with the ever-changing tech landscape, Gen Zers often use social media as a tool to raise their profiles while showcasing their genuine self. Eung and Tan’s engaging content on TikTok led them to be noticed, resulting in acting and commercial gig offers. Both of them amassed about 325,000 together on TikTok as of September 2023 and are currently represented by artiste management company TCP Media Group.
Born in Cambodia and based in Singapore since the age of 9, Eung, who studied Business at Republic Polytechnic, got his start in modelling by fronting campaigns for The Authority. He then transitioned to acting in 2021, appearing in projects like the Boys’ Love (BL) genre Summerdaze (2018), VIU Original’s Heartbeat 100 (2021), and Singapore action drama Third Rail (2022). Eung can also effectively communicate in three languages – English, Khmer and Mandarin – and is also a singer.
Fellow actor Tan, a psychology major graduate from the National University of Singapore, also starred in commercials and had a lead role in the hit Filipino BL series, The Day I Loved You as Eli, which aired earlier this year. Tan also walked the Lifestyle Asia x Samsung ‘Experience the Flip’ fashion show, featuring the hottest Gen Zs in Singapore on the runway.
Both are Samsung #TeamGalaxy members, a global community who live by Samsung’s philosophy of ‘Do What You Can’t’. Armed with the latest Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5, Eung and Tan document their lives through trend-driven content #GRWM (Get Ready With Me) and behind-the-scenes clips on the set of projects. Recently, both actors even put together a light-hearted short clip of the viral ‘woxingshi’ dance.
With their fearless attitude in navigating the Gen Z landscape, Eung and Tan carved their entertainment career with nothing but talent, good looks, and a smartphone, creating digital content that resonated with their Gen Z peers and the wider demographic.
On the shooting set for this cover story, Eung and Tan’s cheeky banter enlivened the studio, reflecting their close rapport with each other. The fresh-faced duo were also seemingly able to complete each other’s sentences, which revealed their chummy camaraderie.
We had a chat with the duo about their thoughts on being a Gen Z and how they stay woke and up-to-date in the ever-changing fast-paced Gen Z environment.
Lifestyle Asia (LSA): Tell us what it means to be a Gen Z and your thoughts on being a voice for this post-millennial generation, given both your careers as content creators and assuming roles that are public-facing.
Raynold: I don’t think being a Gen Z really means being any different from any other generation. Neither do I think I am a voice for this generation. However, I do feel some pressure for being a public figure. I feel that I have certain standards I have to uphold. I try my best to be me and work hard at my job.
Hopefully, I can inspire others to pursue their passion in their own way.
David: I feel that many Gen-Zs have just started entering the workforce in the past few years, including myself. To be honest, it is a little scary as I work a lot with many people who are more experienced and older. Sometimes it is like walking on eggshells. I try my best to stay true to who I am which means being more expressive and working on projects that I believe in.
I do not think I am a voice for Gen Zs but I would like to create a platform where I can inspire people in my generation to be fearless and confident. To never just do what you’re told, but to find your own thoughts and make mistakes along the way as well.
LSA: What do you think sets apart Gen Z from the other generations?
Raynold: We’re more willing to speak our mind and stand up for the things we believe in.
David: More expressive. We are not rigid. I try my best to only participate and act on things that I believe in.
LSA: From your experience, what do you think are the pros and cons of being a Gen Z? Are there any characteristics you embrace or identify with?
Raynold: The fact that we grew up in the digital age probably led to Gen Zs tending to have better aptitude for technology. Which is certainly advantageous considering we’re only going to make greater strides in terms of technological advancement. One downside to being a Gen Z would probably be being stereotyped as entitled and/or spoiled.
The one stereotypical Gen Z characteristic I most identify with is being an avid gamer. I love to play video games… maybe a bit too much….
David: We are in the phase where there are many advanced features, and technologies that are accessible to us and this helps my creative mind to execute what could not be done before.
Since secondary school till now, age 20 years old, I think we are a lot more privileged compared to the other generations in terms of how society hears us. I think growing up as Gen Zs, our voice is heard more. People actually care more than before.
I definitely believe that our generation raised awareness of how important mental health problems are in society.
LSA: What is the most Gen Z characteristic of yourself and you’ve seen in each other?
Raynold: He’s a social media buff (; He’s always on social media, and he loves creating content, he does it so well. If we’re hanging out in a group, you can put your money on David being the first one to whip out his phone for a picture.
David: I think that I’m outspoken and as I mentioned above, I try my best to only participate in things that I truly believe in. And, we both lip-sync to songs on TikTok.
LSA: How has smart technology, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5, helped Gen Zs like yourself to obtain the necessary tools/information to achieve your goals and dreams?
Raynold: Apart from being an actor, I also find joy in creating content. The Galaxy Z Flip5 has helped me with creating content on the go. I love that I am still able to record videos and take photos with a high-quality camera even in its compact state.
David: As a content creator and actor, I record my daily activities. It has been super handy as it stands on its own now. The ease of recording and editing encourages me to produce more content. A compact size which really helps when our generation loves mini-bags.
LSA: Flip phones existed in the early 2000s, but returned as an upgraded innovation currently as seen with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5. Do you think embracing nostalgia is a novelty or there’s a chance to uncover value from heritage?
Raynold: There is always value we can uncover from heritage. Even if we do not agree with ideas from the past, it could still provide us with a starting point, something we can adapt to better fit the current state of our world.
LSA: Gen Zs are never seen without a smartphone. What can a multi-functional device like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 do to improve the quality of life for Gen Zs besides constantly staying connected?
Raynold: It has allowed me to improve my productivity. I edit videos on my phone and there are times when I’d search online for a way to create an effect or to use a particular function on the video editor.
In the past, I’d have to switch between applications to check if I’m following the right steps, but with a multi-functional device, I can open two windows at the same time to ensure I’m doing it right.
David: It has helped me in terms of work and studies. The multi-screen function has allowed me to work on different items at once.
I recently went on a trip to Bangkok with my family. I think we have never taken as many selfies as this before (the phone being able to flip and stand on its own). It definitely created and captured many core memories for me.
LSA: Tell us more about the rapport and synergy between both of you.
Raynold: It’s always a pleasure spending time with David, be it for work or just for fun. We understand each other pretty well. Sure, there are times when we might not be on the same page, but overall, we tend to share similar thoughts on things.
There are many instances of David shooting me ‘the look’ and me instantly understanding what he wants to say, and of course vice versa.
David: We were put to work together. It was not a choice. But it turned out really well. He is energetic and daring while I am a little more laid back so I guess the opposites attract.
Behind the cameras, we do discuss quite a bit about our future, career and problems too. I rant to him a lot so he is like my punching bag.
LSA: What is the best thing that was ever introduced or invented in the Gen Z era?
Raynold: Social media…. How Gen Z of me. It’s a huge part of my life. I use it for entertainment, to learn different things like food recipes and different ‘like hacks’. We can even keep up with the news on social media.
David: I definitely believe that it is Tiktok. I love the platform. I learn, laugh, watch and I absorb a lot of information from it. Be it cooking, cleaning, shopping, styling, dancing and film recap. The platform has everything.
LSA: How do you think Zoomers (Gen Zs) can find common ground with Boomers (Gen Xs)?
Raynold: I don’t like the perception of there being this exceptionally hard-to-bridge gap between Zoomers and Boomers. How we can find common ground between Gen Zs and Gen Xs is exactly how we can find common ground between any two people – empathy.
Of course, it may be easier to find common ground with someone from the same generation as you as you are more likely to share the same interests and have a similar outlook on the world. But with a little more empathy, it shouldn’t be difficult to find common ground with almost anyone.
David: Compromising is important. Also trying to see from their POV. For me, I have a grandma that is a boomer. I have learnt that whatever she says or does or scolds is just coming from a place of care and love.
It is just that they do not know how to deliver such a message the way we want. I guess that mindset helps me find a common ground with her.
LSA: What do people misunderstand or get wrong about Gen Zs?
Raynold: We’re weak and easily bruised.
David: We are overly sensitive.
LSA: Having been born in an Internet-ready and digital-savvy era, what do you wish to experience from pre-millennium when streaming and smartphones have yet to exist?
Raynold: Walking with the dinosaurs sounds fun.
David: I want to know what they do when they are taking a poop with no handphones in their hands.
LSA: How do you constantly stay woke and keep up with your Gen Z peers?
Raynold: I don’t try to. Exposure to different social issues comes naturally with being online.
David: Me being active on social media such as Instagram and TikTok.
LSA: Y2K style has also seen a resurgence among Gen Z. How do you think thoughts and ideas from different generations can fuse into something better moving forward?
Raynold: This is already happening. We are always building and rebuilding on what others have done before. Technology, policies, trends and fashion. It’s all about revisiting what we currently have and trying to improve or make it a better fit for tomorrow.
David: I think that life and innovation are like a cycle. We just remake or re-innovate ideas and concepts that have been done before. We see it in many areas such as films, clothing and gadgets. Hence, we need to always make use of past or existing information and see if we can improve on it.
LSA: Any tips or hacks to communicate with Gen Zs and understand their school of thought?
Raynold: Same as how you’d communicate with anyone. Just listen with respect, and I’m sure we’ll do the same.
David: I think we want to experience all there is to experience. So maybe just let us fail, cry and then learn from our mistakes rather than prevent us from not knowing at all.
LSA: How does a Gen Z like yourself adapt and approach tradition?
Raynold: As the world is moving forward, a lot of traditions are slowly being phased out. Personally, I don’t believe in adapting or changing traditions too much. I have to admit, there are some that I do not believe in or see the necessity of, but I still think it’s important to respect them.
David: I don’t think it is difficult. Culture is everywhere, we learn it in school and we watch it on our screens.
LSA: What are your hopes for Generation Z and what do you think you can offer to achieve that?
David: I hope that we can learn, improve and give more voice to those areas that were not well-heard before, such as environmental issues, the LGBTQ+IA community, animal welfare and the importance of mental health issues.
Raynold: I hope that we can continue giving voices to those who aren’t heard.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 is now available to purchase at all Samsung retail stores and online.
Photography by Joel Low (@joellowphotography)
Photography Assistant, Eddie Teo (@etstudiosg)
Fashion Direction and Styling by Josiah Chua (@josiahchua)
Styling Assistants, Alexandria Chen and Jet Soo
Creative Production by Jasmine Ho / Seven of Hearts Studio (sevenofhearts_studio)
David’s Grooming by Zoel Tee using Dior Beauty (@zoel.makeup)
David’s Hair by Ken from AIR Salon
Raynold’s Grooming by Zoel Tee using Armani Beauty (@zoel.makeup)
Raynold’s Hair by Sam Chok from PASSION
Videography by Harpi Sim