National Service drama When Duty Calls wins big at the Star Awards 2018

National Service drama When Duty Calls wins big at the Star Awards 2018

It brought home four trophies, including Best Drama, Best Actor (Desmond Tan) and Best Supporting Actress (Kym Ng). Meanwhile, The Lead went home with three, including Best Actress (Rebecca Lim).

Star Awards 2018 Desmond Tan Rebecca Lim winners
Desmond Tan (left) bagged the Best Actor Award for When Duty Calls while Rebecca Lim won for Best Actress for The Lead. (Photo: Jeremy Long, Channel 8)

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SINGAPORE: The military drama When Duty Calls won big at this year’s Star Awards 2018 with four awards, including Best Drama Serial.

The series, which commemorates 50 years of National Service, also saw Desmond Tan bagging his first Best Actor trophy and gave funny woman Kym Ng the win for Best Supporting Actress. The series also won for Best Theme Song. When Duty Calls had eight nominations, the most this year, for six categories.

Meanwhile, last year’s blockbuster show The Lead, which celebrates 35 years of TV dramas, took home three awards: Best Actress for Rebecca Lim, Best Supporting Actor for Chen Hanwei and the Young Talent Award for Isabel Yamada.

Kym Ng Chen Hanwei Star Awards 2018
Kym Ng (When Duty Calls) and Chen Hanwei (The Lead) win for Best Supporting Actress and Actor at the Star Awards 2018. (Photo: Genevieve Loh)

The 24th edition of the annual event celebrating the best in the local Mandarin entertainment industry was held on Sunday (Apr 22) at the MES Theatre.

Tan, who played 1st Sergeant (NS) Loke Jun Guang in the series, struck gold by winning his first Best Actor award – with his very first nomination in the category. “Our families and friend make a lot of sacrifices for us. I dedicate this to them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lim won for playing the wardrobe assistant-turned-director Ah Zhen in The Lead – fellow winner Yamada played the same character at a young age.

She told CNA Lifestyle she didn't expect to win – and in fact had been chatting with fellow nominee Zoe Tay about being there to make up the numbers. "Both of us weren’t the hot favourites, we weren’t even the dark horses. Both of us were just watching the show and taking selfies!"

Star Awards Isabel Yamada
The Lead's Isabel Yamada wins the Young Talent Award. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

The Lead colleague Chen Hanwei quipped after winning his Best Supporting Award that he’ll be too busy catching a flight to celebrate: “I have to get to the airport later at 4am so there’s no time to celebrate!”

As for his Best Supporting counterpart, Kym Ng joked upon winning an acting – and not a hosting – award: “I have to do my homework and focus on acting now!”

Among the new elements featured in this year's edition of the Star Awards was a special hologram projection segment featuring past recipients of the All Time Favourite Artistes awards to kick off the show, which was hosted by veteran artistes Guo Liang and Quan Yifeng.

Earlier, at a specially-constructed dome outside the theatre, the stars walked on a catwalk amidst a light show that employed 360-degree projection mapping, as a select group of fans watched on.

Aside from the who’s who of Singapore’s entertainment industry, prominent overseas personalities were also present, including actors Simon Yam and Charmaine Sheh from Hong Kong, and Taiwan’s Prince Chiu, Mickey Huang, Joanne Tseng and Lin Mei Xiu.

Among the night’s performers was singer, actor and Sing! China finalist Nathan Hartono, who re-arranged and re-interpreted the five songs nominated for this year’s Best Theme Song.

Star Awards 2018 Chantalle Ng Lin Meijiao
Best Newcomer Award recipient Chantalle Ng with her mother, actress Lin Meijiao. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

Other awardees included While We Are Young’s Chantalle Ng for Best Newcomer Award. Referring to her mother, veteran actress Lin Meijiao, Ng said: Mum told me to just enjoy the awards. But she didn’t say much about what to do if I won so I’m at a loss now that I’ve won… I’m probably heading home for steamboat at home with my mum.”

Meanwhile, Chen Shucheng bagged the Best Evergreen Artiste award and Quan Yifeng bagged her fifth Best Programme Host Award – and the third in a row – for Unique Lodging.

Marcus Chin was also feted with a Special Achievement Award, to which he quipped: “My only regret in life is my lack of height. This award elevated me tonight.”

The Top 10 Most Popular Male and Female Artistes lists were also announced. The results were based on a poll as well as telepoll and online voting results.

Star Awards 2018 Jin Yinji
Veteran actress Jin Yinji (centre) gets her first Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes award. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

The female artistes list included two first timers: Veteran actors Jin Yinji and Pan Ling Ling. The former, who was visibly moved to tears, said: “Life truly starts at 70.” Meanwhile, Pan quipped: “My son is already 19. Mummy finally won.”

Catch up on the Star Awards 2018 show at



Best Drama Serial: When Duty Calls

Best Actor: Desmond Tan – When Duty Calls

Best Actress: Rebecca Lim – The Lead

Best Supporting Actor: Chen Hanwei – The Lead

Best Supporting Actress: Kym Ng – When Duty Calls

Best Newcomer Award: Chantalle Ng – While We Are Young

Best Evergreen Artiste Award: Chen Shucheng

Special Achievement Award: Marcus Chin

Best Programme Host: Quan Yifeng – Unique Lodging

Young Talent Award: Isabel Yamada – The Lead

Best Variety Programme: Ah Ma Can Cook

Best Info-Ed Programme: Little Maestros

Best Theme Song: When Duty Calls – ‘Yi Gang Ke Gang’ performed by Desmond Ng and Kenny Khoo

Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes: Paige Chua, Rebecca Lim, Pan Ling Ling, Felicia Chin, Carrie Wong, Belinda Lee, Ya Hui, Kym Ng, Sheila Sim, Jin Yinji

Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes: Dennis Chew, Romeo Tan, Pornsak, Dasmond Koh, Shaun Chen, Zheng Geping, Desmond Tan, Thomas Ong, Pierre Png, Guo Liang

Source: CNA/mm