SINGAPORE - There were three strong contenders in our new Surprise! Of The Year category.
But TNP readers voted Xie Shaoguang's ordainment as a monk the biggest secret uncovered in 2013.
The former MediaCorp actor stunned everyone when TNP reported in September that he had become a monk after quitting showbiz and studying Buddhism in Malaysia for the past eight years.
Now, Xie, who is known to his peers as Shaoguang shi xiong (Mandarin for brother), practises Buddhism at Golden Citizen Welfare Organisation (or Ji Le Yuan) in Pontian, Johor, where he was ordained.
The 51-year-old garnered 240 votes, overpowering MediaCorp couple Andie Chen and Kate Pang (119 votes), and local veteran getai singer Liu Lingling (65 votes).
Chen, 28, and Pang, 30, surprised last month when they revealed that they had secretly married, with a baby on the way.
As for Liu, she secretly gave birth to a baby boy at the age of 50 in late September, with most not even knowing that she was pregnant.
It's a pity we couldn't give Xie his award in person to add to his impressive record-breaking list of 19 Star Awards over his 16-year career in showbiz.
The experience of being chased out of the premises by him in a deserted part of Johor wasn't something we cared to relive.
Perhaps, we'll try mailing the trophy to him.
But then again, accolades are probably no longer his priority these days.
Local director Anthony Chen, who had received help from Xie with his casting call for his much-feted movie Ilo Ilo, had told Lianhe Wanbao: "The Xie Shaoguang whom I saw seemed to have entered another realm altogether. He has been through the entire entertainment industry and does not miss it. He'll never look back."
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