While the nation was swept up in the news of Mr Lee Kuan Yew‘s passing last week, local singer-songwriter Reuby brought home Singapore’s first award at the Hong Kong Asian Pop Music Festival (HKAMF) last Friday. Held at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Hall, this is the first time a Singaporean representative has won an award at the festival – now in its fifth year and counting.

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19-year-old Reuby (born Reuben Tan) captured 37% of the total votes cast online to win the Viewers Popularity Award – titled “LeTV’s Top Pick Award” (sponsors, you know). Hong Kong representative Jay Fung came in second with 30% of the votes.

The only other award of the night, the “Super NovaNew Artiste Award, went to Japanese artiste Gille.

This is Reuby’s first award since his debut just six months ago with the single “My Sunshine”. Also featuring earcandy gems like “Because You Love Her” and “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That“, you can listen to his self-titled debut album on his personal YouTube channel here. Side note: we were there at his first press conference too!

In the competition, Reuby sang his original composition “Fifty”, inspired by the best-selling novel and film adaptation, “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Hmm ;)

Speaking after the event, Reuby gushes, “It’s crazy, crazy, crazy! Singapore has never gotten an award in this competition before, so I’m super proud to have gotten something back for us!”

Each year, the official committee panel of HKAMF selects each country’s representative for the competition. The other competitors selected were Koala Liu from Mainland China, Sun Shi Shi from Taiwan, Gille from Japan, The Barberettes from Korea, Poova from Malaysia, King Kong and the Chum from Thailand, and Jay Fung from Hong Kong.

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Unfortunately, Reuby’s first trip to Hong Kong was cut short as he rushed back home on Saturday night to join the nation’s mourning of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew the following day. As part of Singapore’s youngest generation, Reuby dedicated his award to the memory of the late Mr Lee.

“I never knew much about Mr Lee Kuan Yew, but he built our country and it was all he lived to do. That was all I need to know to realise my bond to him as a Singaporean. So in Hong Kong, I was constantly updated about him in the news, and that made me really aware of my identity – that I was there in Hong Kong, representing Singapore. The countless things Singapore achieved was made possible through Mr Lee, and all in all, this award I brought back was also in many ways made possible through what he had done for Singapore. I hope I would have made our founding father proud. I hope I made Singapore proud.”

You sure did, Reuby.

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Photos courtesy of Warner Music