The 1st Star Awards show will be on air tomorrow! I will round off my pre-show coverage with the Favourite Female Character 最喜爱女角色 award.
Like for their male counterparts, instead of making predictions on such a popularity contest – which can be really obvious – I will look to decide which of the 5 characters portrayed is most worthy of our adulation. With heavyweight presence, this promises to be a keener contest!
1. Jeanette Aw 欧萱 — Zhao Fei’er 赵非儿 (The Dream Makers 志在四方)
Appeal: Character development
非儿 was a C-list actress who had to bear all sorts of mistreatment. Finally, her big break comes with a variety show, on which she plays the pity card to great effect. Catapulted to A-list status after years of unseen struggles, she gradually becomes pretentious and chooses to hide unglamorous details of her personal life. She ditches long-time boyfriend Jason (Qi Yuwu) and accepts rich man 高建 (Desmond Tan). However, due to family disapproval, 高建 decides to break off with her. This coincides with missing her grandfather’s death and funeral for a movie audition, which nearly led her to betray herself. She crumbles, realizes her follies and eventually picks herself up again. While she (unsurprisingly) lost the fan poll that decided the romantic ending with Jason, Jeanette’s role is so filled with twists and crossroads that it is arguably the most developed character of the lot, hence the most delightful. She delivered it with great precision. Of course, there’s also the lingering regret that she failed to pair up with Qi Yuwu in The Little Nyonya 小娘惹…
2. Rebecca Lim 林慧玲 — Guo Weiqian 郭玮茜 / Huang Yixin 黄逸欣 (Sudden 骤变)
This is a difficult one, because Rebecca plays 2 characters in this mystery drama. 玮茜 is likeable for obvious reasons – her innocence. She captivates both Zhong Wentai (Ian Fang) and Sun Dalun (Zhang Zhen Huan). She was headed for a happy ending with the latter, until her twin sister, 逸欣, clearly succeeded in misleading Dalun to leave 玮茜 for dead in the plotted fire. 逸欣 is simply reprehensible, but together, the sisters form the crux of the mystery that enthralls, up till the point when it ended in gross injustice. That sours everything.
3. Joanne Peh 白薇秀 — Zhang Huiniang 张蕙娘 (The Journey: A Voyage 信约：唐山到南洋)
Appeal: Compassion/Sibling romance
There’s nothing to dislike about this character. Throughout the show, 蕙娘 stands up to injustices for others. She is a benefactor to 洪石 (Desmond Tan), 张天鹰 (Allen Chen) and 白明珠 (Chris Tong). Her resistance against the stereotyped roles of women, while drawing ire from her mother, inspires 明珠, who eventually decides to fight her fate and stand up against tyrant husband 张广达 (Terence Cao). Her “sibling” romance with 张东恩 (Elvin Ng) provided the light-hearted segments of this otherwise hardship-filled drama. While not a challenging role, Joanne’s character easily draws affection.
4. Rui En 瑞恩 — Fang Tonglin 方彤琳 (The Dream Makers 志在四方)
In contrast to 非儿, 彤琳 is the one everyone is bound to root for. She rises, unintentionally, from aspiring director to beloved host and actress. She does so reluctantly, but is eventually convinced by 薇芸 (Zoe Tay), Head of Variety Unit. She avoids the pitfalls 非儿 fell into, probably because she never harboured ambitions or suffered frequent grievances. She manages to stay true to herself throughout the show, and eventually pairs up with male lead Jason (Qi Yuwu). Such a character will always be welcomed by those deeply sceptical of the murky waters of showbiz. Rui En has once again netted a role – following 杨小冬 in 过好年, 章雅乐 in 乐在双城 and 刘言之 in 微笑正义 – that truly deserves viewers’ adulation.
5. Zoe Tay 郑惠玉 — Zhou Weiyun 周薇芸 (The Dream Makers 志在四方)
A surprising entrant, given that the other candidates are all princesses. It is not too difficult, though, to view 薇芸 in a positive light. A filial daughter, she tolerates the antics of her sister-in-law and treats them generously. She is committed to her lover, but is crushed when he admits to being married. She eventually overcomes her feelings of loss with the help of 余凡, confidant and eventual lover. It was not to be, as 余凡 dies for unclear reasons in peace and bliss. Thankfully, she has the emotional help of 姚朱康莉 (Chen Liping), the work rival she helped navigate difficulties earlier on. A more subtle character who draws viewers with her kindness, even to those who treated her badly.
Everyone has their own tastes, but I would give my vote to Joanne Peh 白薇秀, just ahead of Rui En. But we all know that in the actual contest Jeanette Aw is Rui En’s hurdle. Tune in to Channel 8 tomorrow night, from 1900h onwards to find out who wins!