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In case you haven’t heard — the stakes are way higher for this year’s Star Awards, with a total of 60 contenders for the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes and Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes awards. But even though the number of nominees has increased by 20, there were still some surprise upsets.

And on March 11, Thomas Ong, whose name was noticeably absent from the list of nominees, took to his Instagram to explain why. The 52-year-old is a four-time Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes winner, with his most recent win being in 2018. Back in January 2020, Thomas also announced that he would be retiring from showbiz

“These few days, there were some friends who privately messaged me to ask why I was not nominated for [the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes award] at the Star Awards. Last week, the production team did call me to let me know that I made it into the Top 30, or something like that. But this year, I, Lao Wang, wish to watch the competition quietly as an ordinary spectator, so I withdrew from the competition. Thank you for your generosity and love. Here’s wishing that the Star Awards will be a success, [and that] my former colleagues will be happy and receive their awards well, and that us audience members will have a great time watching [the ceremony]. As for me… I’ll continue to eat and eat.” he wrote in his caption.

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