They may have begun as Ah Boys but Tosh Zhang wants people to know they're "human too".
"We have a limit," the Singaporean actor said this week in responding to a comment on Instagram that implied his band of co-stars are not popular enough to hold fan meets.
Tosh recorded a video that straddled between being aggressive and inspirational on Wednesday (April 10), captioned, "Sometimes you gotta remind people of your accomplishments to shut their hating a** up. It ain't bragging if you can back it up."
According to the 29-year-old, someone had mocked an upcoming fan meet for him, Maxi Lim, Joshua Tan and Ryan Lian - all actors who shot to fame for the Ah Boys To Men movie series - sarcastically asking whether they are Korean celebrities.
Describing himself to Shin Min Daily News as "quiet" and someone who "usually doesn't respond to online haters", Tosh was triggered enough to push back.
"Basically bringing up a bunch of Korean names and basically using these Korean celebrities to put us down and insinuate that we are not big enough to be stars," he said in the post on Instagram and Facebook.
Calling the unidentified commenter a "random-a** hater", Tosh sought to justify their star status.
"Go and do your damned research. We are stars in our own right. Have you ever been to any of our fan meet-and-greets? Thousands of people come.
"How many box-office records we have broken in the past six, seven years since we made our debut. We have smashed everything in our way. We have beat Jackie Chan movies. In my career I have amassed over $30 million at the box office, alright?"
The one-time YouTube star also called out the commenter with this woke point.
"You are probably from Singapore or Malaysia and that's where we are from as well. Why would you use a foreigner to put down your own fellow countrymen?
"I know Korean celebrities are big. Now is their time, but let me tell you something: someday I will get there, my boys will get there. Stop hating on your own!
"Let us do our thing, let us shine in our own way. Don't use some freaking foreigner to put us down," he added.
When probed by Shin Min on whether he thought twice about his tone, Tosh said, "He was not comparing us to Korean artistes, but looking down on and insulting us. His point was we have no right to be stars.
"His words felt very condescending. If he steps on us first, I have no need to be nice. The rest of the Ah Boys support me."
Ryan agreed, telling Lianhe Zaobao that Tosh merely said what the rest of the crew were feeling.
Other local celebrities have seemingly backed Tosh's video.
Actor Andie Chen and Ah Boys To Men 4 star Apple Chan were among them, while actress Cynthia Koh wrote, "Yes please support local!"
Jack Neo's four Ah Boys To Men films, released between 2012 and 2017, were regular box-office champions and launched the careers of several actors such as Tosh and Wang Weiliang.