Bryan Wong says he was most disliked artiste on TV for 3 years
Bryan Wong, who was named local TV’s All-Time Favourite Artiste in 2014, also had a period early in his career when for three years he was voted the "most disliked".
It made him cry and he tried to quit, Wong, 50, who was among the first batch of hosts for the variety show City Beat in the 1990s, revealed on the latest episode of Quan Yi Fong's talk show Hear U Out.
He was not like - and nowhere near as popular as - fellow hosts Pan Lingling, Chew Chor Meng and Shirley Ho. They were polite and well-spoken while he was often blunt, a style that did not apparently go down well with audiences then.
"I felt small whenever we were filming on location. Everyone knew the three of them wherever we went,” he said. “That time, fans loved to ask for autographs. They'd approach Shirley, Chor Meng and Lingling. Then, they'd ask me to take photos for them."
The marketing communications division of what was then known as the Television Corporation of Singapore told him that their polls showed he was the "most disliked artiste in the whole of TCS".
"I was so hurt,” he said, “I cried my eyes out all night."
He then typed out a resignation letter to media industry veteran Man Shu Sum, who rejected it and advised him to "let the audience get to know you and get used to you".
But his polling figures remained poor over another two years. And then, by the late 1990s, he felt he no longer had the option of quitting.
His father, to whom he was very close, died after a heart attack.
In hospital, Wong said his father told him he “can’t hold on much longer” and added “you have to look after your mum and older sister”.
The memory remains vivid. “Suddenly, the machine started beeping again and the doctor told me to leave the room,” Wong said. “That was the last time I saw him.”
But then his career started turning around, and in 1998, he won a Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes Award. And eventually, he made it to the top.
Wong said he has felt his father’s continuing presence many times and also described some instances of this.
Watch the show in two parts here: