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Famous Local Singaporeans You Need to Know

Mr Lee Kwan Yew

LKY_Time magazineOur Minister Mentor (MM) Lee Kwan Yew (born 1923) has to be number one in this list. He’s well respected and loved among the people and is known to be the one who transformed Singapore from a fishing island to a developed nation. He was a key person who formed the current government party, the People’s Action Party (PAP). Mr Lee was appointed as the first Prime Minister in 1959, and served till 1990. Despite the surmounting challenges within the island when Singapore was segregated from Malaysia in 1965, including the lack natural resources, housing, defence and national unity, Mr Lee led the country to not only overcome these, but built a stable prosperous home for the citizens. His son, Lee Hsien Loong, is the current Prime Minister of Singapore.

(Photo source: Tim Magazine, Thinkers – Lee Kwan Yew)

Zoe Tay

ZoetayKnown as the Queen of Caldecott (where the local broadcasting centre is located), Zoe Tay (born 1968), has held the lead role in countless Mandarin television drams on free to air Channel 8 (local Mandarin TV channel). She started off as a model and went on to a successful career in acting gaining multiple endorsements. Her most memorable roles were in gambling themed drama The Unbeatables, and as Bobo in the drama series Pretty Faces.

(Photo source:


Jack Neo

JackneoWhen people think of Jack Neo (born 1960), they think of local comedy. Liang Po Po (meaning Granny Liang) and Liang Si Mei, were 2 famous comedic roles where Jack Neo cross-dressed to play. Jack Neo later moved more into film making and successfully directed and produced films that have made their way outside of Singapore. His films are largely comedy surrounding local culture and current issues, the most popular one being Ah Boys to Men. Despite a scandal affair that was uncovered in 2010, Jack Neo is a strong pillar to the local media and film industry.

(Photo source:

Gurmit Singh

GurmitEverybody knows Phua Chu Kang, the Singlish speaking contractor with yellow boots, curly hair and a huge mole on his face. Phua Chu Kang is the lead character in the local comedy series Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd, played by Gurmit Singh. The character is so famous that even our Malaysian friends love him too. Gurmit Singh can be said to be the face of Channel 5 (English free to air channel) and he is also almost always engaged as the emcee for many English variety shows and events.

(Photo source:


Fann Wong and Christopher Lee

Fannwong Christopher_Catwalk agencyLocal TV’s golden couple collaborated many times on screen before getting together for real. Their relationship was kept under wraps till they went public about it in 2006 and eventually got married in 2009. They have stellar careers both locally and overseas and Fann Wong was the first Singaporean to have a role in a Hollywood movie, playing Chon Lin in Shanghai Knights. They are expecting their first child this year.

(Photo source: The Catwalk Agency)


Dick Lee

DickleeDick Lee is known for composing countless songs not only for staged musicals, but also for pop stars in the region. His songs locally carry a lot of Singapore flavour. He is also known as the judge on the singing talent show, Singapore Idol.

(Photo source:



LiJiaWeiLi Jiawei

In the sports world, probably Li Jiawei is the name to know. Hailing from China, she played table tennis for Singapore through the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme. In 2008, she and the women’s table tennis team won the team silver medal at the Olympics. The last Olympics medal won by Singapore was in 1960 in weightlifting. Individually, her world ranking peaked at 3rd during her career. Apart from the Olympics, she has had also a stellar performance throughout her career in international tournaments.

(Photo source: user: Gerhard Palnstorfer)

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