Image: Nadiah M. Din / Instagram

The good:

ZOE TAY, actress, 48

Instagram @zoetay10: 70,700 followers

The fiercely private actress chooses to flood her Instagram account with pictures related to work, but they are not just regurgitations of official promotional material. She sometimes gives fans a bit of extra goss, such as a video of herself casually chatting about a phone app with Hong Kong star Damian Lau on the set of The Dream Makers 2.

Then, there are her nostalgic photo posts, such as one of veteran actor Wang Yuqing which she dug up from more than 25 years ago to mark their long friendship. Bonus: her charming and – dare we say it – cheery weakness for cutesy frames.

Most recently, she shared a picture of herself with Rebecca Lim to show her support for the younger actress, together with a caption in Chinese encouraging Lim to ride through the storm. Two weeks ago, Lim was slammed online for posting a fake post about retiring.

While most other stars preferred not to comment and get embroiled in the mess, at least we know whose side the Ah Jie of Caldecott stands on.

MICHELLE CHONG, director and actress, 38

Instagram @immichellechong: 81,600 followers

Facebook page: 190,338 likes

Unlike many Singapore celebrities, most of Chong’s social media posts are not of herself, but of food. Which begs the question: How does she stay so slim?

Genetic advantages aside, she injects plenty of personality into her posts. Many of the feasts she has, for example, are apparently cooked by her father. We also learn that she loves chilli padi so much that she takes it out in Ziploc bags so she can add it to her meals when she eats out.

When the posts are not of food, she shares hilarious behind-the-scenes video clips of herself playing characters from parody TV show The Noose, including Chinese karaoke girl Lulu, who will star in her own film, Lulu The Movie, later this year.

KUMAR, comedian, 47

Twitter @AmazingKumar: 11,900 followers

Straight-talking Kumar is probably one of the few Singaporean celebrities who is truly comfortable with shooting his mouth off on social media.

His Twitter feed is filled with rib-tickling one-liners, such as his response last year to the news that a number of John Little and Marks & Spencer department stores were set to close: “Just change name to Mustafa lah.”

If he were to make a movie, he would make it “an action one called Indian Jones & The Tamil of Doom” and he thinks that “the top civil servant in charge of population growth should be called the Sperm Sec”.

NADIAH M. DIN, singer and actress, 25

Instagram @nadiahmdin: 88,900 followers

Twitter @NadiahMdin: 15,000 followers

This is a class act from a digital maverick, striking a good balance between envy-inducing glam shots and silly and candid videos from a girl next door.

On Instagram, witness Nadiah and her modelesque French fiance lounging in the sand, which is just one of many magazine-shoot- worthy pre-wedding pictures she released, or flailing her arms and dancing on a hotel-room bed to trashy techno, which is clearly what one needs to do on holiday. Like.

TAUFIK BATISAH, singer, 34

Instagram @taufikbatisah: 353,000 followers

Facebook page: 227,255 likes

Twitter @TaufikBatisah: 116,000 followers

Taufik has always been known to be fiercely private, but ever since he tied the knot with his production manager wife Sheena Akbal in April last year, he has unleashed more of his personal life on social media.

On Instagram, he has posted pictures of his wife (who debuted bleached blonde hair on his account a month ago) and goofy videos of the two of them lip-syncing to songs in the car, such as Adele’s Hello and Do You Want To Build A Snowman from the Disney film Frozen (2013).

Keep them coming, Taufik, and drive safely.

FANN WONG, actress, 45

Instagram @fannaiaiwong: 248,000 followers

Facebook page: 997,202 likes

Some will find Wong and her actor husband Christopher Lee’s mushy declarations of love for each other in every television and print interview they do a little too saccharine, but at least they are consistent online.

While Lee gushes intermittently about his wife and adorable son Zed on his Instagram account, Fann is the more active user, sharing snippets of family life almost every other day. Like any parent, she shows off her son in cute outfits, but is also unafraid to express her concerns about her boy falling ill and growing up a little too quickly. Cue the awws.

ZHENG GEPING, actor, 51

Instagram @zhenggeping: 61,300 followers

Singapore’s No. 1 hunkle has worked hard for that body and has no qualms showing it off. His busy Instagram account often features pictures of him working out in the gym or climbing mountains in tight tank-tops.

But the macho man also regularly shows off his softer side, sharing sweet photos of him hanging out with his actress wife Hong Huifang, as well as with their teenage son and daughter.

…and the blah:

JEANETTE AW, actress, 36

Instagram @jeanetteaw_xuan: 261,000 followers

Is she really human or is she just one very pretty mannequin? Going by her social media posts, she never has a single hair out of place or any pores on her face. She has certainly mastered the art of the head side-tilt, though.

Some credit should be given to her for taking the time to respond to her fans’ questions in the comments section whenever she can. She also remembers to credit her fan club Jeanius for sending her flowers and gifts. Perhaps that is why even though she appears blander than oatmeal at times, she has nabbed the Social Media Award two years in a row in 2014 and last year at the annual Star Awards.

XU BIN, actor, 27

Instagram @xubin_: 177,000 followers

Facebook page: 77,423 likes

All we really know about China-born actor Xu from his Instagram posts is that he has beautiful, flawless skin. Oh, and lovely straight teeth.

It does not help that his captions are eye-wateringly unprofound: One picture of him posing next to a lake comes with the words, “Some people say I’ve changed, but I have to say, I’ve found myself.” Erm, what?

Perhaps the actor, who is marketed as one of Mediacorp’s 8 Dukes, is still a little scarred from the time when he riled cat lovers online after he said in a magazine interview last year that he would try to persuade his future girlfriend to give her cat away as he prefers dogs.

SHAUN CHEN, actor, 37

Instagram @shaunchenhongyu: 63,900 followers

Facebook page: 116,742 likes

Chen is very good at taking selfies. So good, in fact, that they all look almost identical: All handsome, but with very little context of where he is or what he is up to.

Going by the captions, all we know is that it is a selfie at “supper time” or a selfie asking fans to “have a good weekend”.

Still, he has improved his social media game ever so slightly after he announced he had secretly gotten remarried and is also a first-time father to a baby girl late last year.

Finally, there is a picture of him pushing a pram with the heartfelt caption: “I miss shopping with them.”

So, he does have feelings after all.


A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on February 28, 2016. For more stories like this, head to