Love 972 DJ Kenneth Kong, AKA Chew Chor Meng's Nephew, Was "Very Happy" To Be Nominated For Star Awards Top 10 'Cos He Thought There Were Only 20 Nominees
On Thursday (Mar 9), Chew Chor Meng, 54, surprised everyone when he revealed on his Instagram that he and Love 972 DJ Kenneth Kong, 42, are actually related.
"I'm so happy that my nephew [Kenneth] started his own business Cumulo Kidz," wrote the actor in his post to promote the former's new student centre for primary school kids.
Chew Chor Meng is Uncle Chor Meng to Kenneth?
Hong Ling, who acted as Chor Meng's daughter in three seasons of the 118 series, was so stunned that she commented: "Omg he's your nephew!!!??"
Kenneth then replied to the actress, saying: "My uncle [is] still so youthful, it's rather unbelievable [that he has] such a big nephew. LOL."
When 8days.sg reached out to Kenneth, who's now in Japan for a holiday, he shared with us that Chor Meng is his mother's younger cousin.
Did they deliberately keep this relationship under wraps?
Kenneth explained that when he joined Mediacorp as a radio presenter in 2013, Chor Meng, who was diagnosed with a rare muscle-wasting genetic disorder known as Kennedy’s Disease in 2008, was already "more relaxed [with his workload]" and they "didn't meet each other in the office often."
The DJ, however, disclosed that he did casually mention during his radio shows that he and Chor Meng are related.
"I wanted to tell a story about Chor Meng and I said that we’re relatives. But it wasn't like an announcement or anything so listeners picked it up but they didn’t really react much," he recalled.
Kenneth also shared with us that he and Chor Meng are "not that close" as their families were geographically apart when he was young.
"When my mother was a child, most of my relatives on her side were Singaporeans but my grandparents chose to be Malaysians when Singapore and Malaysia separated," he explained. "They had their business in Johor Bahru so they became Malaysians, and so my grandparents' family was sort of isolated while Chor Meng and the other relatives were in Singapore. We only met during Chinese New Year lor."
The jock was actually surprised when Chor Meng gave his new student centre a shoutout on Instagram.
Kenneth told us that he's been patronising Chor Meng's F&B businesses, from his Mookata chain to his porridge stall, and even his latest Thai Bistro, which prompted the latter to suggest: "Why don’t I pay a visit to your centre too?"
"We took a picture [when he visited] but I didn't expect him to share it on his own social media," he said gleefully.
And despite not being particularly close, Kenneth really looks up to his uncle.
"I see him as a mentor, especially in showbiz,” said Kenneth. “Whenever I'm unsure of what to do, I will seek his advice. And he's kind of a role model. He might not act as much as he used to, but he goes to his outlets every day and says hello to all his fans and customers. I think it's a great way to reconnect with people," he effused.
So why did Kenneth decide to start his own student centre?
Kenneth, who has three kids — Kyler, seven, and twins, Kobey and Karys, three — with statistician wife Wei Ni, divulged that he wants to share his experience of how he guides his children through their studies, and also how he helps them “pick up Mandarin instead of hating it (laughs)”.
His oldest son Kyler currently enrols in the student centre.
The jock, who's also the headmaster of the school, added that "the school is bilingual because of [his] involvement". He teaches public speaking classes, which are conducted mostly in Chinese, at the centre every Monday.
And it looks like it has really been a fruitful year for him, 'cos apart from becoming his own boss, Kenneth just received his first Star Awards nomination earlier this week. The DJ is up for the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste award this year.
When asked if he'd do anything special to garner votes, like how Marcus Chin gave out free grilled fish meals last year and intends to give away free trips to two lucky winners, Kenneth quipped: "I don't know what I can offer 'cos he has a restaurant, it's easy to give out a dish or a meal. But a student care is an area-specific business, I can't offer someone living in Jurong a student care [spot] in Tampines, that's not practical (laughs)."
The only thing he can promise is that he "will keep trying new things and producing good content".
In the past year, he had "participated in many programmes across multiple platforms", such as his podcast True Crime, which was turned into animation series Singapore True Crimes, as well as his cameo in When Duty Calls 2.
"Last year I also won Best Voice Artist at the Asian Academy Creative Awards 2022, and that encouraged me to really master voice-acting," he added.
What does Kenneth have to say about the number of DJs vying for the Top 10 Most Popular Artiste award this year?
"Wah it shocked every one of us," confessed Kenneth. "When my friend screenshot [the nomination post] and sent it to me, I told him: "Wah bro, effort leh, you bothered to Photoshop this just to please me". But he insisted: "No bro, it's for real", and so I went to check," he jested.
The most hilarious part is that Kenneth, who didn't know that there was a change in nomination criteria, was over the moon 'cos he thought there were only 20 nominees, like before.
"I was very happy because the old rule was that they'll shortlist 20 nominees, then pick 10 right? So I thought: "Wow I'm one of the 20!" Then I went through the list and realised: "Oh, everyone's in"," he chuckled. Yes, sorry to burst your bubble, Kenneth, there are 39 nominees in this category this year...
"The realisation was the funny part lah. At first I was like: "Wow man, I must have done really well this past year, what have I done [to deserve this]?" But apparently, it has nothing to do with what I've done (laughs)."
Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself, Kenneth.
To prove Kenneth wrong, you can vote for him in the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes category on meWATCH here.
For more information on the nominee list and voting, visit the Mediacorp Star Awards 2023 site.
Catch the Backstage LIVE event of Star Awards 2023 from 3.30pm - 10.30pm on meWATCH or Mediacorp Entertainment YouTube Channel on April 9 (Sunday).
The Walk Of Fame will be from 5pm - 6.30pm, on meWATCH, Ch 8, Ch U, and Mediacorp Entertainment YouTube Channel on the same day.
It will be followed by the Star Awards 2023 Live Show from 7pm - 10pm on meWATCH, Ch 8, Ch U, and Mediacorp Entertainment YouTube Channel.
The repeat telecast for the Walk of Fame and Award Ceremony will air on Ch 8 from 2pm - 6.30pm on April 16 (Sunday).
Photos: Kenneth Kong/Instagram, Chew Chor Meng/Instagram
Catch Kenneth in When Duty Calls 2 on meWATCH below: