First-time winners steal limelight at Star Awards

SHAUN Chen and Rebecca Lim were crowned Best Actor and Best Actress on Sunday night at the Star Awards, MediaCorp's annual event celebrating the best of local Chinese-language television.

It was the first time that Chen, 36, has won the award in his 13 years in show business.

"I was so stressed over the past week that I grew three pimples," said the Malaysia-born Chen. "Now my pimples will go away."

He received the accolade for his role as a kind-hearted gangster in the period drama The Journey: Tumultuous Times.

The top acting award was also a first for Lim, 28. She was surprised to win the award for her performance as a goofball in the family drama Yes We Can.

"I've been in show business for 10 years, but many people think that I'm still a rookie.

"I'm usually cast in more serious roles. I'm glad that the judges felt that my lively role was refreshing," she said.

Both Chen and Lim were also voted by fans into the Top 10 Most Popular Male and Female Artistes lists.

The Star Awards, in its 21st edition, was held at the TV station's long-time home on Caldecott Hill for the last time before the broadcaster moves to Buona Vista.

Another long-awaited win went to Thai-born host Pornsak Prajakwit, 33.

After many nominations in the last five years for Best Variety Show Host, he nabbed it for the first time, for The Joy Truck 2, a heartwarming programme about volunteers helping the underprivileged.

He said that he was very pleased to have finally received "professional recognition".

The stars of epic drama The Journey: The Tumultuous Times swept the awards for Best Drama and supporting cast - seasoned actor Chen Hanwei took Best Supporting Actor, while yummy mummy-to-be Joanne Peh collected Best Supporting Actress.

Aloysius Pang, 24, won the Best Newcomer award.

One of eight young male stars MediaCorp promotes as the Eight Dukes, he said: "I've never really done anything to make my parents proud. During my school days, whenever I went onstage was to reprimanded by my teachers, or punished. I hope I can make them proud now."

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