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Nominees For Star Awards' Top 10 Most Popular Artistes Sound Off

24 Apr

SINGAPORE: There’s nothing like a popularity contest to make you feel like you’re back in school.

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when an artiste’s worth is determined by whether or not they get a coveted Star Award – Singapore’s handy-dandy three-in-one version of the Emmys, Golden Globes and People’s Choice. It’s all very well to be nominated for Best Actor – but wouldn’t you rather be popular?

Most of our actors and actresses would never come right out and admit that they’d love a spot on the Top 10 Most Popular Artistes list, but there are sweet perks that come with being on that list that are worth fighting for – plum roles and endorsement deals not least among them.

So what did some of the nominees have to say about being top of the pops? Qi Yuwu said it’s all about the fans, Adrian Pang’s fleeing to London to heal the pain, and Fiona Xie… Well, Fiona’s getting naked.

Channel News Asia

MediaCorp's Ch 5 To Hold Auditions For Leading Roles In New Drama "Polo Boys"

20 Feb

SINGAPORE: If you have the pecs and personality, MediaCorp Channel 5’s latest drama series might just be your big break.

For the first time, the entertainment channel is looking for attractive and talented alpha-males to cast for lead roles in “Polo Boys”, on top of extras.

To qualify, you will have to be between 18 and 25 years old and be able to float on water!

“Polo Boys” is about a group of young men brought together by their love for the sport of water polo.

Tempers flare and things do not go swimmingly when teamwork has to come first.

The show features stars like Adrian Pang, Aaron Aziz and Nathaniel Ho. It is set to hit screens in the middle of this year.

If you have no acting experience, do not fret. You can still make a splash at the auditions at the Education Ministry’s Co-Curricular Activities Branch at Evans Road this Saturday. But do remember to go there in your swimming trunks.

More details can be found on Channel 5’s

Channel News Asia

Two New Free-To-Air Channels Launch In Singapore

21 Oct

SINGAPORE: Sunday was a beautiful day for TV junkies in Singapore.

That’s because it saw the launch of not one but two brand new MediaCorp channels: Okto and Vasantham.

At the Launch Extravaganza held at the MediaCorp TV Theatre on Sunday, the new Vasantham was unveiled in a show that celebrated the history and evolution of Indian broadcasting in Singapore together with more than 100 local artistes and award-winning Kollywood playback singers Krish and Neha Bhasin.

Vasantham is Singapore’s first full-fledged free-to-air Indian channel.

Viewers can now enjoy nine hours of programming daily instead of the previous two-and-a-half hours’ worth.

What’s more, the number of locally produced and acquired programmes has also doubled. There will be food programmes, infotainment series, daily long-form drama serials, four live programmes a week and five movies a week.

Okto is the bigger, better, newly improved Kids and Arts Central rolled into one dynamic channel.

Its new features include interactive programmes catered to all demographics, such as oktoLIVE! at 8.30pm every Tuesday. This is a youth magazine programme produced, scripted and run by the students of Singapore Polytechnic, and gives viewers their say on live television.

For the first time, kids’ programmes will be on prime time (7pm to 9pm). Kids can also look forward to watching the “oktoriginals” (locally-produced programmes) My Classmate, Dad (starring Mark Lee) and Cosmo & George (starring Gurmit Singh and Andrea De Cruz).

Connoisseurs of art here will appreciate that FilmArt is now shown on Saturdays as well as Sundays, at 10pm.

Oktoriginal film art productions include Pulau Hantu, which stars Adrian Pang and Hong Kong father-and-son team Richard and Carl Ng, and Squirks, a magazine programme hosted by Hossan Leong.

There’s more jolly good news: On Mondays at 11pm, okto has a “Retro Belt” featuring favourites such as Mind Your Language and ‘Allo ‘Allo.

“It’s an exciting moment for many of us”, said Lim Suat Jien, Managing Director of TV12, of the launch of the two new channels. “Our viewers can look forward to more choices and variety.”

She added: “These channels will strengthen our connections with the Indian, kids and arts communities.”

For more information about tuning into okto, visit

Channel News Asia

The Singapore Brand Of Humour

8 Sep

SINGAPORE: If sitcoms are a reflection of our society, how would we define the Singapore brand of humour?

In “Parental Guidance” star Adrian Pang’s unminced words: “Crass, infantile, and reliant on the lamest forms of colloquial linguistic exaggerations. I love it!”

Alaric Tay, who stars in “The Noose”, which is returning for a second season on Tuesday, agreed. “Singapore humour revolves around our language. We like to laugh at the way we sound – whether it’s dialects or minority groups. And there’s slapstick, of course.”

Jade Seah, who plays a nerdy teacher in new sitcom “First Class”, likes the way that our sitcoms generally address “our idiosyncrasies”.

She added: “You can say, ‘Yeah, I’m like that, and it’s quite funny, what.'”

Indeed. But is this what Singaporeans really want on their TV sets? Are we satisfied with seeing repeated parodies of our shallowest attributes?

One of the creative minds who worked on our first and most successful sitcoms – “Under One Roof” and “PCK Pte Ltd” – had a few suggestions as to why our local sitcoms haven’t progressed terribly far since Gurmit Singh hung up his yellow rubber booties.

This person declined to be named because of continuing working relations with MediaCorp, and shall hereafter be referred to as “The Truth Fairy”.

The Truth Fairy offered some constructive criticism. Perhaps we’re over-relying on stereotypical characters, hammy performances, and “a tendency to stick to family sitcoms, which are safe and middle ground”.

Oh, dear. That’s not funny.

Channel News Asia

A Traffic Jam For A Private, Rousing Party

31 Jul

SINGAPORE: The usually quiet lanes of Armenian Street were transformed into a rousing street party last Sunday evening with a 2,200 strong crowd letting their hair down at the second Traffic Jam Party.

Although the gates only opened at 7pm, excited concert goers from all walks of life formed a long queue as early as 4.30pm to join the street party jointly organised by Sony Ericsson and SingTel.

Keeping with the name of the party, Armenian Street was littered with broken-down cars with only the Traffic Jam Street Party logos on them hinting that they were part of the party’s visual delight.

Just for those who were sluggish or hot, there was a tow-truck and imitation car-wash area right in the middle of the standing area!

To provide ‘fuel’ to last through the night, organisers had a makeshift diner offering jumbo hotdogs, fajitas, popcorn and nachos.

All this was side-dressing to the main course helmed by local DJ personality Glenn Ong.

Local act Strikeforce set the mood with a mix of climatic pyrotechnics and lighting effects while Sambiesta, a percussion group beat up a cacophony to get the crowd drummed up and moving to their dynamic rhythms.

More local flavour was injected by home-grown bands like The Great Spy Experiment and EIC, both of whom seemed very thrilled to be performing even though the crowd didn’t respond likewise.

The change came when Jack and Rai of EIC did a cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You”, and drew the crowd in to gamely sing along with them.

DJ Aldrin, easily one of the most sought-after DJs in Singapore to date, was next to rule. Commanding the turntables that night, he seamlessly wove his remixed tracks that got everyone jiving.

The crowd which included actor Adrian Pang, Class 95 DJ Jean Danker and local footballer Rafi Ali, finally upped the meter for Daughtry.

After a seemingly endless wait, the American Music Award-winning and Grammy-nominated rock band finally took the stage. Led by “American Idol” finalist Chris Daughtry, the band opened the electrifying set with a new single, “You Don’t Belong”.

The enthusiasm of the crowd grew ten-fold as Daughtry went on to give a rocking delivery of their chart-topping hits such as “Over You” and “Feels Like Tonight”, in addition to three new songs from their upcoming album.

Many girls also swooned to Chris Daughtry’s crisp and emotive vocals as his band gave an intimate acoustic of “Home” and adrenaline pumping number “There and Back Again”.

Finally, all the anticipation and waiting around seemed worth it!

– CNA/jk

Channel News Asia

Weekend Watch: Alam Shares His Dream

31 Jul

Aishwarya Rai stars in Kuch Na Kaho on RTM2, tomorrow, 12.30pm.
Aishwarya Rai stars in Kuch Na Kaho on RTM2, tomorrow, 12.30pm.

Want to know how to become Malaysia’s favourite dancer? Watch Alam’s Story, writes SHARMILA BILLOT.

Julia Roberts stars in The Mona Lisa Smile on RTM2, Sunday, 3pm
Julia Roberts stars in The Mona Lisa Smile on RTM2, Sunday, 3pm

WHAT does it take to be Malaysia’s favourite dancer? Tune in to Alam’s Story on 8TV this Sunday at 10pm.

Winner of the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Malaysia, Muhammad Haslam a.k.a. Alam from Johor, will share his experiences in the reality dance show with viewers.

Corporate reality show The Firm 2 is premiering tomorrow on ntv7 at 8.30pm.

The show follows the struggles of 14 contestants in their exhilarating journey to the top of the corporate ladder.

Each episode depicts a discipline in business that is imperative to the success of a corporate high-flier.

These include branding, promotions, positioning and catering.

For movie buffs, 8TV is airing The Making Of… 21 tomorrow at 10.30am.

Directed by Robert Luketic, this action drama is about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting. They subsequently took millions in winnings at Vegas casinos.

The movie stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira and Jacob Pitts.

On Sunday, 8TV is also airing The Making Of… Dark Knight (10.30am).

Directed by Christopher Nolan, this action/crime movie is a sequel to Batman Begins.

It follows the caped crusader’s mission as he joins forces with Gotham City’s police Commissioner James Gordon and district attorney Harvey Dent to take on a psychotic bank robber known as The Joker.

The movie stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart.


Panggung Sabtu (Hindi movie) (TV3, 2pm) – Hadh Kardi Aapne
Anjali suspects that her husband, Sanjay, is cheating on her. She asks her friend and namesake Anjali to go abroad and spy on her husband. Starring Govinda and Rani Mukherjee.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (English movie) (TV3, 12.30am)
Joel Barish is heartbroken after finding out that his girlfriend Clementine underwent a procedure to erase him from her memory and decides to do the same. However, as he watches his memories of her fade away, he realises that he still loves her, and that it may be too late to correct his mistake. Starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Gerry Robert Byme, Elijah Wood and Thomas Jay Ryan.

Bollygood Time On 2 – Kuch Na Kaho (Hindi movie) (RTM2, 12.30pm)
Raj is not interested in marriage. However, his uncle, Rakesh, has other plans for him. Rakesh enlists the help of his secretary, Namrata, to find a suitable bride for Raj. Starring Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Satish Shah and Suhasini Mulay.

I Do I Do (Chinese movie) (8TV, 8.30pm)
Driver Ah Peng falls in love with Wen, who works as a manager in the same company. However, Wen does not feel the same about him. She meets a handsome stranger and is attracted to him. Starring Adrian Pang, Sharon Au, Marcus Chin, Allen Wu and Margaret Lee.

Secret Window (English movie) (RTM2, 9pm)
Famed mystery writer Mort Rainey is confronted by a stranger outside his house. The man, who calls himself John Shooter, claims that Mort stole an idea for a story from him. Mort declares his innocence but Shooter starts to become violent. Starring Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello and Timothy Hutton.


Raden Mas (Malay movie) (TV3, 3pm)
Prince Pengiran falls in love with dancer Mas Ayu and marries her against his parents’ wishes. One day, the queen commands her son to go on a hunting trip. Upon his return, Pangiran finds his home ablaze and his wife killed. He escapes to another village with his baby daughter. Starring Nordin Ahmad, Latifah Omar, M.Amin and Siput Sarawak.

The Mona Lisa Smile (English movie) (RTM2, 3pm)
Katherine Watson is a free-spirited graduate of UCLA who accepts a teaching post at Wellesley College, a women’s-only school where the students are torn between their repressive culture and their longing for intellectual freedom. Starring Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal.


New Straits Times

Catch Him If You Can

28 Jul

SINGAPORE : You’ve been watching a lot of Chua Enlai on TV recently. Only, you might not have realised it.

“Chua Enlai, who?” asked a few people when this reporter did a straw poll – despite them living on a diet of TV and fizzy drinks.

You know, that obnoxious kueh chang (rice dumpling) shop manager, Dennis, who brown-noses Tan Kheng Hua’s Tow Kay Neo character in “Sayang Sayang”? And Al, that gossipy colleague of Adrian Pang’s James in “Parental Guidance 2”?

“Ohhh! That guy! He’s quite funny.”

Yes, that would be Enlai. He also played multiple characters in “The Noose” with Michelle Chong and Gurmit Singh, appeared in three seasons of “My Sassy Neighbour” with Patricia Mok and hosted two seasons of “Heartland Getaways”.

He can currently be seen on MediaCorp TV’s Channel 5 in “Parental Guidance 2”, “Sayang Sayang”, and in the second season of “The Noose” when it returns next month – this time, replacing Gurmit as the news anchor.

But if you’re still scratching your head, go ask your kids. They’ll know Enlai as Science Guy PI and as that fun guy on “Hobby TV and Jobs for Juniors” on Kids Central.

The 29-year-old actor is a lot of fun off-screen, too.

When he met TODAY for this interview at the Pan Pacific hotel, the slight Fly Entertainment artiste gamely climbed up a runged wooden partition and wedged himself into a cranny for the photo shoot. Mind you, he pulled these stunts with a braced back, which he injured earlier in the year, and he’s still seeing a physiotherapist.

As we found out during our very long chat, Enlai has a tendency to digress into his random little anecdotes and comically forgets the original questions (“The Red House pepper crab is damn good!”; “I’m a complete champagne brunch lover!”; “I’m a very good squatter – I’ve never had a squat toilet, but I can squat very well and for a long time.”)

But when it comes to acting, Enlai, who lived and studied in New Zealand for 12 years, is dead serious.

“Acting is about imitating life. The human condition really interests me,” said the thespian who is recognised for his theatre works such as “Shopping and F***ing”, “Landmarks: Asian Boys Vol 2”, and “Fundamentally Happy”. He’s also in the cast of “Superhero Diaries” which has been postponed till March next year.

“(Whether you see yourself as a) star or an actor, I think if you get too much up your own a*se, when it becomes about you so much, it’s not very interesting, is it? It should never be about Chua Enlai; it should always be about the character and that world,” he said.

Maybe he’d be okay with you knowing his face, but not his name, after all.

Channel News Asia