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Thu, Jan 22, 2009
The New Paper
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Cool looks, great attitudes
by Mareen Koh, Tan Kee Yun & Charlene Chua

GOOD looks aren't just IT anymore.

And even 'bad' boys can win the fair lady - as long as they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Awww.

Throw in the boyish charm, a good pair of hardworking hands and hey, he can be the Dude of the Year.

1. Christopher Lee, actor, 37

Claim to F(l)ame: Caldecott Hill's leading man shows that one can steal hearts by just cleaning toilet bowls for poor families. It helps too that Christopher has other handy skills tto. All for the show, Life Transformers. And all on top of the boyish charm and humble demeanour.

The Story So Far: It's the second time that Christopher's nominated for Dude of the Year - he lost it to Chew Chor Meng in 1997.

That and another nomination (for the infamous drink-driving incident) for Shocker of the Year, which went to Mavis Hee in 2006.

And for the ones he won - they were not exactly very positive ones. Like the Misguided Fashion Slave Award in 2000 for the bloodied skin-cow suit he wore to the Star Awards that year.

Or, Denial of the Year which he and girlfriend Fann Wong clinched a year later - though they redeemed themselves in 2005 when they were voted Couple of the Year.

He said: 'It feels wonderful to be voted in a positive category this time.'

But what's more important, he added: 'I'm comforted by the thought that the audience had a chance to know what Christopher Lee is really like.'

As a host of the reality-variety show, he was not just playing a mere role. 'The tears, the sweat, the work - they were all real. (Co-host) Quan Yifeng and I were not faking it,' he said.

Next Change: Art imitating real life or...? In the run-up to their real-life big event - touted as the wedding of the year - Christopher and Fann offer a peek into the truth behind the year's most-anticipated celebrity wedding.

The Wedding Game, which opens on 25 Jan, opens with Jack (Christopher) publicly proposing to Vikki (Fann) during the live telecast of a regional awards show.

2. Dai Yang Tian, actor, 24

Claim to F(l)ame: The newcomer catapulted overnight into viewers' hearts with his suave, charismatic portrayal of a young Japanese photographer in The Little Nyonya.

The Story So Far: It's been a while since any actor from MediaCorp has successfully generated so much buzz in such a short span of time.

And while Yousuke falls head over heels in love with Jeanette Aw's Ju Xiang, folks at home and especially the women were also falling in love with this chap.

Yang Tian bagged two out of eight 'Most Likeable Male Lead Characters' awards at Channel 8's Countdown Party - one for The Little Nyonya and the other for his role in Taste Of Love, which aired in January last year.

He said: When we told Yang Tian of his nomination, the China-born actor said: 'Wow, I wasn't expecting this, I'm very happy.'

But he harbours no illusions about winning Dude of the Year. He added: 'I'm just a newcomer compared to (contenders) Christopher and Ping Hui, who are Ah Ge (meaning big brothers) in the industry and have scores of die-hard fans supporting them, rain or shine.'

Next Change: He is now filming the Channel 8 drama series Table Of Glory, a drama which focuses on the table-tennis scene.

He plays a rebelious, angst-ridden man who bears a grudge against his father.

3. Tay Ping Hui, actor, 39

Claim to F(l)ame: It's refreshing to hear an artiste talk openly about his private life, especially in an industry where such topics are shunned.

The Story So Far: The actor opened up to Lianhe Wanbao last year and admitted to having one-night stands in the past, and that he lost his virginity during his university days.

But he insisted in the same report that he's no longer a player - he claimed he doesn't go clubbing any more and he'd only sleep with the woman he loves.

Ping Hui then told The New Paper last May that he did not feel that the disclosure had dented his image.

'I don't think people look at me differently. People will think whatever they want to. I'll just let my work do the talking.'

He said: When told that he was nominated, Ping Hui was pleased about it. 'It's pretty cool, it's always fun to be nominated,' he said.

Even the reason for his nomination did not faze him.

He said, with a chuckle: 'It's okay, everyone has a good laugh at such things.'

So has the self-confessed 'boring guy' kept to his promise of only bedding the love of his life? 'I try my best,' was his cheeky reply.

Next Change:
Ping Hui, who has just finished filming The Dream Catchers, will soon start on his next drama, The Ultimatum.

He plays a professional thief who also manages to steal the heart of Fann Wong's character.

This article was first published in The New Paper on Jan 20, 2009.

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