SINGAPORE — Here are the local male celebrities that Yahoo users in Singapore searched for most in 2019. (Check out the list of female celebs here.)
10) Dennis Chew
Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew wore brownface in an advertising campaign for NETS’s cashless payment system E-Pay, causing a storm of controversy. Chew’s skin was darkened in advertisements to portray an Indian man. Broadcaster Mediacorp and advertising firm Havas, which had managed the ad campaign, were primarily blamed for the racially insensitive move. The backlash led to the racially charged rap music video by Preetipls and her brother Subhas Nair, in which they called out Singaporean Chinese for perceived racism against minorities.
9) Tay Ping Hui
Tay Ping Hui may be one of the “Ah Ge” (big brother in Chinese) of Mediacorp, but like many Singaporean actors, he has set his sights on the China market. He has been acting in various China-produced dramas in recent years, and signed with Chinese entertainment company Perfect World Pictures last year.
8) Benjamin Kheng
Actor-singer Ben Kheng is the most popular member of local band The Sam Willows, which announced a hiatus this year. Kheng also started a comedy web series with Hirzi, calling it the Benzi Project. The heartthrob revealed his girlfriend Naomi Yeo in September, and is set to release his first solo album soon. He got a bit of negative publicity when he seemingly made light of suicide after being criticised for a magazine photo shoot in which he posed as the late Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain.
7) Elvin Ng
Elvin Ng is another “Ah Ge” of local entertainment, appearing this year in the Channel 8 dramas Heart To Heart, Hello Miss Driver and All Is Well. Ng and his fellow star and good friend, Romeo Tan, were caught in a car accident in Taiwan while promoting All Is Well but luckily, they escaped with slight injuries.
6) Dasmond Koh
Former DJ Dasmond Koh was thrust into the limelight this year as he was the manager of the late actor Aloysius Pang, who died in a military training incident in New Zealand. Koh, the founder of management agency NoonTalk Media, was overcome by emotion when he represented Pang’s family in speaking to reporters after he came back from New Zealand to make arrangements for Pang’s funeral.
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5) Desmond Tan
Desmond Tan is one of the top local actors, and he’s bilingual too, so he straddles both Channel 8 and Channel 5. His serial murderer character in Channel 5 crime drama Code Of Law was so popular that he got a spin-off series, Derek.
4) Ian Fang
Channel 8 actors Carrie Wong and Ian Fang were caught in a sexting scandal when an anonymous person leaked sexually explicit text messages exchanged between them. At the time of the incident, the two actors were said to be dating other people – Wong had a boyfriend, and Fang was rumoured to be seeing actress Rebecca Lim. Wong and Fang eventually apologised to the public for what they called their “vulgar”, “coarse” and “inappropriate” private conversation.
3) Lawrence Wong
Actor Lawrence Wong (not the cabinet minister) is still riding on a wave of popularity ever since shooting to fame in China and elsewhere for his role in the popular drama serial Story Of Yanxi Palace. He replaced Aloysius Pang in Mediacorp drama My One In A Million after Pang’s untimely death in a military training accident.
Wong received an apology from Carrie Wong after the latter dissed him in leaked texts for replacing Pang in the drama.
2) JJ Lin
Arguably Singapore’s greatest cultural export, Mandopop singer JJ Lin has been holding his Sanctuary 2.0 World Tour this year, and he just held two concerts on Singapore homeground last weekend at the National Stadium. He had a health scare in October after contracting hand, foot and mouth disease while in China, but appears to have recovered. Even hospital staff in China tried to exploit his fame and sell his used medical items online.
1) Aloysius Pang
The top celebrity headline of the year in Singapore was undoubtedly the tragic death of 28-year-old actor Aloysius Pang during a military training incident in New Zealand in January. Pang died in hospital after suffering a serious injury when he was crushed between the gun barrel of a howitzer and its cabin.
His death caused a huge outpouring of grief, as well as concerns over the general safety of NS men. The Ministry of Defence launched an inquiry into Pang’s death, and eventually two Singapore Armed Forces servicemen were charged for causing death by negligence, and were fined by the military court last month.