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Friday November 27, 2009

Singing star from Cameron Highlands

CAMERON Highlands girl Chen Keat Yoke has brought further recognition to her idyllic hometown in Pahang by winning the TVB8 International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship 2009 in Hong Kong.

“Cameron Highlands is known for its vegetables, flowers and tea. People used to know me as vegetable wholesaler Ah Kong’s daughter but these days, they actually know me by my name,” Keat Yoke said of her newfound fame.

She described her win as most unexpected.

She beat 15 other finalists from various north American, Australian, European and Asian cities to bag the Golden Mike Award and the subsidiary title of Perfect Vocalist.

She was previously second runner-up in the Astro Star Quest 2009.

Animated: Chen belting out a song during the contest.

The TVB8 International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship is a prestigious Hong Kong-based singing competition that has spun out big names like Anita Mui (1982) Alex To (1985) and Eason Chan (1995).

Former contestants who went on to carve successful singing careers include William So, Hacken Lee, Leon Lai, Sammi Cheng and Coco Lee.

“From the beginning, people expressed on blogs and Internet portals that I was undeserving of a Top Five spot in the Astro Star Quest 2009. As a representative of Malaysia in Hong Kong, I was considered an underdog who was lucky to be there by virtue of winning the second runner-up spot,” she said.

But the 20-year-old songbird, who prefers singing slow ballads, was unperturbed by such sentiments about her.

“I was not bothered. I joined for fun and it was a bonus to be able to compete in Hong Kong,” she said.

New talent: Chen accepting her trophy as winner of the TVB8 International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship 2009 in Hong Kong.

Keat Yoke, who has since recorded a Chinese New Year album with her fellow Astro artistes, did however admit that it was only after her win in the Astro Star Quest 2009 that made her believe she could make a career out of singing.

Keat Yoke is now concentrating on her job commitments with Astro including an acting stint as Ah Lian, the salted fish seller girlfriend to MyFM deejay Jack Lim in the upcoming movie ‘Woohoo!’.

“I’m not sure what happens next. Of course, I’ll be glad to accept offers from recording companies but I still wish to pursue a degree in bioinformatics,” said Keat Yoke, who due o her love of singing, has ut her studies on hold for awhile.

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