Can Singapore’s most well known directors Jack Neo, Eric Khoo and Kelvin Tong agree with 8 Days magazine Editor-in-chief Lau Kuan Wei and MediaCorp’s Vice President of Branding and Promotions Serene Choo on who Singapore’s Most Deserving A-Lister is?

The answer to this question would win 1 of the 4 awards UrbanWire gave out at Zouk to celebrate our e-zine’s 10th birthday.

The award presented on Aug 18, nearly fell into the hands of familiar names like Christopher Lee and Rui En but comfortably went to veteran actor, comedian, host and sometimes interior decorator to home viewers, Mark Lee.

In a bilingual interview on stage with former UrbanWire editors Ronald Wan, a seasoned freelance magazine journalist, and MediaCorp TV assistant producer Janelle Li, Mark Lee admits to being more proud to win this than even the Star Awards that are due to popularity.

“If I have enough friends and relatives calling in, I could possibly win the Star Awards. But this… I can’t even begin to influence the outcome of this, and seeing the judges who nominated us. It’s a tremendous honour,” he said in Mandarin.

Eric Khoo, who runs Zhao Wei Films, had told UrbanWire earlier when nominating Mark Lee: “He’s super imaginative, smart, versatile and is an utterly talented individual. He always cracks me up but beyond his quick comic timing he could easily slip into any dramatic role. He’s here to stay and to eventually go very far.”

8 Days’  Lau Kuan Wei, whose magazine celebrates weekly the talents that entertain us, had this to say of him: “Mark works very hard, crosses genres and channels, has a wide appeal despite his language handicap and is a pretty funny guy.”

Even guest-goers only had praises to sing for the MediaCorp artist—among them Melissa Yeo, 19.

“He’s the funnyman everyone loves—I’ll never forget his performance in I Not Stupid where he played a kidnapper. He’s one of the best local actors around, in my opinion.”

UrbanWire alumna, Vanessa Fernandez, was the curtain raiser for the party, which also celebrates the 20th birthday of Singapore’s first campus radio station Radio Heatwave. This is why the joint event is dubbed 10-20.

The recording artiste who has performed in America and Europe, and who is now half of Octover, performed 3 songs: “LSF”, “Brown Sugar”, and “Breathe”, as well as recounted her experience writing for UrbanWire during her final year in the Mass Communication course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Following her performance came Radio Heatwave (RHW) Alumni Recognition Awards, with radio lecturer, Mr Yokanathan giving out awards to:

  • Justin Ang (98.7FM),
  • Gerald Koh a.k.a. Boy Thunder (91.3FM),
  • Vernetta Lopez (Class 95),
  • Tim Oh from Gold 90.5FM and
  • Michael Tan from Power 98

2 other DJs who couldn’t be present- Jean Danker from Class 95FM and Power 98’s Shareen Wong delivered their thank yous via video to the station where they started learning their craft.

To celebrate UrbanWire’s milestone, supervisor Robin Yee said they decided to honour local entertainers in 4 categories, representing “all the amazing talent that our e-zine has been chronicling and celebrating over the past 10 years”. To make the inaugural awards doubly significant, it approached acknowledged experts in the nominees’ fields to choose the winners.

“This is not a popularity contest, although all our winners are popular. This is a shout out from the pros who have worked with lots of local talent and can’t stop singing praises of tonight’s winners,” he added to set the context for the awards he was going to present.

  Sixx, which narrowly beat Shigga Shay to become Singapore’s Best Local Music Act, couldn’t appear as they had a conflicting performance, so they too said their thanks in a video.

Guest Isabelle Koh, 20, raved about the star-studded line-up and expressed her love for both Sixx and Shigga Shay: “I’m a big supporter of local music, and I think [both Sixx and Shigga Shay] are amazing.”

This category’s  judges ranged from local deejays such as Rozz from 98.7FM, and Chew Soo Wei who started arguably Singapore’s first radio show to showcase local bands in a big way. Local music festival Baybeats producer Kevin Matthews, renowned music producer Leonard Soosay from Snakeweed Studios and Vanessa Fernandez also cast their votes.

Rozz described SIXX as such a class act – they have to win. As a band, they represented Singapore in France and were the only Singapore band to perform on the runway at the Audi Fashion Fest 2011 AND rocked the main stage at the regional Music Matters event at Clarke Quay. I don’t know any band that’s more consistent or talented than these guys.”

Acknowledging that youths spend lots of time online, the next award was for Singapore’s Most Engaging Online Personality Award. Experts in the local online space who were consulted came from Razor TV, Clicknetwork and Today newspaper to name a few, and gave the prize to Munah and Hirzi, who beat out faves such as Dr Jia Jia and Xiaxue. Hirzi gamely acceded to interviewer Tan Ding Xiang’s request that he reprise his role as alter ego Corporal Hassen, a strict yet over-the-top NS man.

While the audience laughed at this and many of funnyman Mark Lee’s responses, the biggest belly shaking guffaws were reserved for the winner of Singapore’s Most Hilarious- Kumar.

“Kumar is the undisputed Queen of Singapore Comedy. He has done more to foster freedom of speech and the ability to laugh at adversity than just about anyone in the Republic. Most important of all, he is hilarious,” was the tribute of one of the expert judges Jonathan Atherton, who owns Singapore Comedy Club Asia, and has seen more than his share of professional comedians. Other judges in this category included the writers of Singapore’s most beloved Channel 5 comedy series The Noose, and Selena Tan, owner of Dream Academy and one third of the Dim Sum Dollies.

After fielding a couple of questions from UW alum Yuen Yiying, who is Assistant Editor of Teenage Magazine, Singapore’s most versatile cross-dresser slash stand-up act revealed that he had recently won an award in New York and that the thing he most wanted to accomplish next was to meet Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Having himself just celebrated his 44th birthday 8 days earlier, Kumar gave the audience a beautiful birthday present for the next quarter of a hour, cracking jokes involving National Service, the Hungry Ghost Festival and foreign talent. His long experience in the entertainment line—including regular shows for Comedy Masala—was apparent in the one-liners he delivered. “Friendship is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel its warmth,” he declared, completely deadpan.

He thanked UrbanWire for the award before leaving the stage to rush off to another performance to cheers and the loudest applause.

Wrapping up UrbanWire’s award ceremony was the rapper and singer collaboration, Trick, who made their debut performance at 10.20, performing “BPM”, “Hit and Run”, and a cover of Flo-Rida’s “Whistle”. Their energetic and spirited tunes and vocals brought the club alive that night with people grooving along to the music.

Marc Lian of Trick charms the crowd with his smooth vocals

In between the entertainment, guests to the party won lucky draw prizes worth about $8,000, including a trip to Hong Kong, an Android phone and even a Dell Inspiron 14Z Ultrabook.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and to bring the celebrations to a fitting close, we had the all-important birthday cake-cutting ceremony, graced by Guest of Honour, Mrs Choo Cheh Hoon, Senior Director of Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Mrs Choo has a long-time association with the School of Film & Media Studies as its former Deputy Director. She also taught a number of the RHW award recipients Professional Preparation, a final-year module that helped them transition to the working world. Joining her were supervisors, of the 2 media platforms Robin Yee, and Melanie Oliveiro.

Here’s to the next 10 years, UrbanWire!