Eye opener for lucky reader

For full-time national serviceman Marcus Lee, spending an afternoon in the company of the who's who of the Singapore theatre scene was an eye-opening experience.

"Frankly speaking, I'm not really into theatre," says the 22-year-old. "So for me, it was really an eye-opener, as I didn't know that much about theatre until I came here.

"I learnt that actually there are many shows which are locally produced, when before I thought that most came from overseas."

Mr Lee was the Life! reader who won the lucky draw for a night's stay at The St. Regis Singapore, as well as dinner for two at the hotel's restaurant, Brasserie Les Saveurs. The total value of the experience is $1,330.

He entered the draw by taking part in an online vote for the Production of the Year (Readers' Choice) award, sponsored by OCBC Bank. Mr Lee voted for the Pangdemonium musical Next To Normal, which emerged the winner.

He plans to use the prize to celebrate reaching his operationally ready date in July. "I'll probably have a small party in the room and invite my friends and family over," he says.

He attended the invite-only award luncheon at The St. Regis Singapore with his cousin, Mr Benedict Leong.

Unlike Mr Lee, Mr Leong is a theatre buff. He says: "I love the theatre and I'm quite heavily involved in it. When Marcus told me he had tickets, I was like, 'Oh my god, you won, you have to take me along.'

The 21-year-old project executive at the Singapore International Festival of Arts' public engagement initiative The O.P.E.N. adds that he was hoping to catch a glimpse of Best Actress nominee Janice Koh in the flesh.

"I love Janice a lot, I'm a big fan. She's very intelligent, very classy, she's a wonderful actress, and these are qualities that I look up to," he gushes.

But when she did not turn up for the ceremony - the actress is also Nominated MP for the arts and was in Parliament that day - Mr Leong was not disappointed.

"It's okay, I can still see everybody else here, so it's fine," he says with a grin.