Like fine wine, some entertainers get better with age.
At least this is the case for veteran getai artiste Xu Qiongfang, who has held her ground against a pool of rising young contenders to take home the Best Female Host accolade at the Stomp Getai Awards.
The annual heartland award show, organised by citizen journalism website Stomp, was held on Wednesday evening at the Toa Payoh Amphitheatre.
Xu, 63, was the oldest among the 10 recipients of the Special Awards handed out that night. Flamboyant cross-dresser Hao Hao (Best Male Host) is 31, singer-host Li Peifen (Most Popular Online Artiste) is 24 and Lim Ziyee (Stomp Choice: Most Entertaining Act), best known for her pole-dancing segments, is only 21.
'All in the mind'
In an interview with The New Paper, Xu said: "Actually, I don't feel old at all. It's all in the mind...
"I've devoted my whole life to the stage, and I think when it comes to energy level, experienced performers like myself do not lose out to the young ones.
"Being old has its benefits too... We get more respect from the younger getai artistes."
Older artistes fared better in the Top 10 Popular Artistes category, which was based entirely on an online poll.
While Xu failed to make the Top 10, veteran host Anna Lim Ruping, 62, and singers Michelle Choo, 45, and Zhong Jin Ling, 43, did.
Xu said it was inevitable that younger artistes have an advantage when it comes to online voting because of their familiarity with the Internet.
"I don't even know how to use Facebook," she said.
Another getai houshold name, Wang Lei, 51, backed out of this year's awards to allow the newer faces to shine.
But he turned up for the event, bantering cheerfully with his friends.
Stomp editor Azhar Kasman told TNP: "It has always been Stomp's aim to extend the reach of getai to our non-Chinese speaking audience and more importantly, the younger generation.
"But, of course, we do not neglect the older getai artistes."
This article was first published in The New Paper.