Two tragic deaths bookended the year: Singaporean actor Aloysius Pang in January and Taiwanese actor Godfrey Gao in November.
In-between, Hong Kong celebrity couples got embroiled in a scandal, two stars got married, and Steve Harvey was once again caught in the middle of an embarrassing Miss Universe situation. Read the stories below.
ACTOR ALOYSIUS PANG DIES AFTER SAF TRAINING ACCIDENT
The death of the 28-year-old actor on Jan 24 after sustaining serious injuries during a Singapore Armed Forces training exercise in New Zealand shook Singaporeans, who followed the developments from the initial news of the accident to the wake and funeral that followed. In the entertainment world, stories about celebrities bidding their final goodbyes and our own obituary were CNA Lifestyle’s most read pieces – and in particular, Pang’s girlfriend, actress Jayley Woo’s heartbreakingly touching tribute.
SAMMI CHENG, JACQUELINE WONG AND DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN COUPLE DRAMAS
Celebrity couple scandals were also high up on stories Singaporeans loved to read this year. The most popular of which was the Hong Kong love quadrangle scandal involving singer Sammi Cheng and her husband actor Andy Hui – who was caught getting lovey-dovey with starlet Jacqueline Wong, who in turn was dating actor Kenneth Ma. Still able to follow? Good, because it got all tangled up when the drama unfolded back in April.
On a less scandalous but equally disheartening note, Korean power couple Song-Song (aka Song Joon-ki and Song Hye-kyo) of the hit K-drama series Descendants Of The Sun also had a very public split, which unfolded in June and July.
TAY PING HUI HAS FOUND HIS NEW CALLING IN CHINA: AS A MIDDLE-AGED ALPHA MALE TV STAR
Our story about one of Singapore’s most respected actors reinventing himself in China was one that made many Singaporeans proud – and who wouldn’t be, with Tay sharing his experiences playing Genghis Khan and acting in Huo Yuanjia, and loving every minute of his time there (except when Christmas comes).
WEDDING BELLS FOR BELINDA LEE AND LIN CHI-LING (WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE PARTNERS)
You’d think romance was dead in 2019, after the Song-Song saga and the Hong Kong celebrity quadrangle scandal, but that wasn’t true at all. Back in June, Taiwanese supermodel Lin Chi-ling tied the knot with Japanese actor and Jpop group Exile’s Akira. The two first met during a Japanese stage adaptation of the epic movie Red Cliff, where Akira played onstage husband to Lin, who reprised her role in the movie.
And then, closer to home, Singaporean actress and TV host Belinda Lee “finally found love” in October, marrying American architect David Moore on Deepavali (Oct 27).
FAMOUS NASI LEMAK EATERY THE COCONUT CLUB'S CHEF AND CO-FOUNDER DIES IN HIS SLEEP AT 40
The death of The Coconut Club’s co-founder, Lee Eng Su, was another shocking one Singaporeans read over one weekend in September. The 40-year-old had died at home – even those who hadn’t yet eaten at his popular (and Michelin-approved) restaurant felt the local culinary scene had lost one of its innovators.
POKEMON CENTER SINGAPORE A MONSTER HIT AT JEWEL CHANGI AIRPORT
Jewel Changi Airport was the hottest mall of the year, and this was one of its main draws – the first official Pokemon merchandise store outside of Japan, which officially opened on Apr 17. But five days earlier, hundreds queued up to have a first look at the store during its preview.
MALAYSIA, PHILIPPINES, STEVE HARVEY AND MISS UNIVERSE 2019
This time, it wasn’t Steve Harvey’s fault. But for a few hours, everyone thought it was yet another facepalm moment for the Miss Universe host – announcing Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados as the winner for Best National Costume before Miss Malaysia Shweta Sekhon corrected him. Or so everyone thought – turned out, he was correct. And for the record, South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi is the new Miss Universe 2019.
CHRIS HEMSWORTH, SIMON YAM, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER AND JASON MOMOA
Stories about male celebrities in unfortunate circumstances was an odd favourite among readers – and they ranged from serious incidents to head-scratching ones.
Hong Kong actor Simon Yam’s touch-and-go situation after being stabbed in the stomach in China in July and Arnold Schwarzenegger also being attacked at a South Africa sports event in May counted among the former. Elsewhere, Jason Momoa was reportedly “run over by a bulldozer” in Hawaii in August (he later said he wasn’t).
And who could forget Chris Hemsworth's hilarious situation at Marina Bay Sands in September during Formula One, where he slowly but surely navigated one fan after the other asking for selfies.
TAIWANESE-CANADIAN MODEL-ACTOR GODFREY GAO DIES AT 35 AFTER COLLAPSING ON TV SHOW
Taiwanese-Canadian actor Godfrey Gao's sudden death on Nov 27 stunned everyone that day. The 35-year-old was shooting the Chinese reality show Chase Me when he suddenly collapsed – and later died of cardiac arrest. He had been in the middle of a late-night shoot. Later, celebrities paid tribute, but fans were expressing their outrage over the whole situation, calling for an outright ban of the show where it was later revealed that other celebrity contestants had also struggled previously.
ZOE, STAR SEARCH, ALOYSIUS: WHAT WENT DOWN AT THE STAR AWARDS’ 25TH ANNIVERSARY
Wrapping up our list was the special anniversary show of the Star Awards in April – a night where the veterans ruled (Zoe Tay, Chen Hanwei, Chen Shu Cheng, Lin Mei Jiao all won), the return of Star Search was announced (and old winners paraded), Chew Chor Meng gave an emotional speech, and a tribute to the late Aloysius Pang left everyone in tears.