Huang Biren

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Huang Biren
Chinese name 黃碧仁 (traditional)
Chinese name 黄碧仁 (simplified)
Pinyin Huáng Bìrén (Mandarin)
Born (1969-03-07) 7 March 1969 (age 48)
Occupation Actress
Label(s) Mediacorp (2005-2008)
SPH MediaWorks (1988 - 2005)
Years active 1988-2008
Spouse(s) Adrian Quek (m. 1996)
Children 3 - Janelle Biren (Daughter), Janessa Biren (Daughter) & Justin Quek (Son)

Huang Biren (born 7 March 1969) is a Singaporean actress best known for appearing in numerous MediaCorp Channel 8 television dramas.


Huang joined the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (now MediaCorp) in 1988 after completing its Professional Drama Performers' Training course. She was due to study at Hawaii Pacific University in the United States but chose to go into acting when SBC offered her a contract, much to the initial disappointment of her parents.[1]

Having been in the industry for 10 years, Huang won her first Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes award in Star Awards 1997. In 1998, Huang went on to star in the hit Chinese drama series Stand By Me, which recorded rocketing viewership ratings (defeating the high-profile series Return of the Condor Heroes), despite very little promotion done prior to the drama's telecast. She played a patient and caring wife of a paraplegic (played by Xie Shaoguang), which won her the Best Actress Award at the 1998 Star Awards. She was also the first Singaporean actress to receive a Best Actress nomination in the 1998 Asian Television Awards for Stand By Me. Her performance in this drama had touched the hearts of many audience - since then, she has become a household name for numerous Singaporeans.

Other award-winning lead roles other than the one in Stand By Me include Kelian, where she played an old-fashioned and cowardly woman who was always being abused by her mother in Beautiful Connection (2002), and Lucky, where she played a gambling addict in My Lucky Charm (2005).[2] She, Ivy Lee and Chen Liping are the only actresses to be crowned Best Actress three times at the in-house Star Awards.

In 2003, Biren was nominated for the Best Drama Performance by an Actress award in the Asian Television Awards for her role in A Child's Hope. In the same year, Huang was listed in People at The Peak – The Who's Who of Singapore. Her name was once again listed in the second edition of the book, which was published in 2006. The books were sold globally.

Since 2005, Biren has filmed an average of only one serial per year, compared to three drama series per year between 2002 and 2004. Rumours circulated that she feigned illness so that she need not take up roles that did not cast her in good light. Biren came out strongly against these rumours and attributed the drop in drama serials filmed to an asthma attack she suffered after filming The Undisclosed, granting her medical leave for a period of a year.[3][4] Another reason cited by the local media was the media merger which took place in December 2004, which led to less dramas produced as competition from SPH MediaWorks ceased to exist.

Biren did not film any serials in Year 2006. The suspense thriller The Undisclosed, which was telecast in 2006, was filmed in 2005. Instead, she ventured into hosting or appeared as a guest in various variety shows. Though her drama serials reduced significantly, Biren was still able to maintain her popularity levels, as attested by her popularity award wins at the Star Awards ceremonies.

In June 2007, Biren was chosen as one of the 10 TV mentors for the Star Search 2007 Reality Talent Show contestants.[5] In the same year, she was again nominated for the Best Actress award in the Asian Television Awards (ATA) and Star Awards 2007 for her role as a fat, naggy and fierce housewife in Mars VS Venus. Though she did not manage to clinch both of the awards, she was tipped the hot favourite to win by many media, audience and industry watchers. After she lost the ATA Best Actress award to Filipino actress Gina Pareño, Biren spoke to reporters from Channel News Asia:

A nomination out of so many countries - you're talking about the whole of Asia - is already something to be proud of. So, I think it's already something that I feel is a great achievement.

In the Star Awards 25th Anniversary Show, Biren won the coveted My Favourite Actress Award, defeating hot favourites Zoe Tay and Fann Wong. She was the first female artiste to win this prestigious award, which was given out in commemoration of 25 Years of drama productions.[6]

An interview conducted by 8 Days magazine in November 2007 stated that Huang had been the lead actress in seven of the eleven dramas with the annual highest viewership since 1997. (8 Days reference: Nov 07)

Departure from MediaCorp[edit]

On 4 August 2008, MediaCorp released news that Huang has left the TV station on 30 June 2008. The main reasons for her leaving were disagreements with MediaCorp over the new contract terms offered to her; and she also wanted to spend more time with her family, especially her 5 month old infant girl. She was last seen on television as a MediaCorp artiste on 11 July 2008, when she co-hosted an episode of Glamour Mum and the Dude alongside Bryan Wong. Huang was quoted as saying this to reporters,

I thought about it (whether to renew her contract) even when I was (about to sleep) in bed... But when the time came to make the decision, I had to be firm. (Reference: The New Paper)

Her decision to leave this industry was seen as a huge loss to MediaCorp Channel 8 by both the audience and the TV station, as her drama serials have consistently achieved high viewership ratings and her acting skills were recognised by many. After the news was released, forums were abuzz with numerous discussions about this issue, and many questioned if Biren would still be able to receive the coveted All Time Favourite Award (an award given out in accumulation for winning the Top 10 award 10 times).[7][8][9][10][11][12] Paul Chan, MediaCorp's Vice-President for Branding and Promotions, answered the query by saying that the company has not decided if Biren will be awarded as meetings with the Star Awards 2009 Committee have not been held yet. MediaCorp does not rule out future collaborations with her on a project basis.

Huang was initially offered a role in the 2008 MediaCorp mega-blockbuster drama series, The Little Nyonya. As she decided not to renew her contract, the role was offered to Xiang Yun instead.

On 31 October 2008, MediaCorp confirmed Huang would be receiving the coveted All Time Favourite Artiste Award at the Star Awards 2009.

On 1 November 2008, Huang answered her supporters' queries if she would make a comeback, through telling reporters she has rejected some invitations from the TV Station to film dramas on a project basis. Biren was quoted as telling Shin Min Daily,

If I were to come back, the most important conditions are (quality of) the script, role, how much time is needed for filming, and my husband's support. Money isn't a problem.

Huang was featured in the Straits Times Life! Monday Interview published on 3 November 2008. In the interview, she talked about life in her younger days, career, family and chances of making a comeback.[13] In the interview, she mentioned that she is "already fielding offers from production houses as well as theatre companies, though she has not accepted any yet", as she has to take care of her two children.

On 20 January 2009, Huang made a public appearance where she attended the gala premiere of local movie Love Matters.

Huang was awarded the All Time Favourite Artiste Award at the Star Awards 2009 ceremony held on 26 April 2009. The award was presented to her by Singapore's President, Sellapan Ramanathan.[14] (Click on the reference link to see her receiving the coveted award at the ceremony)

After leaving the industry, Huang continued to take up numerous endorsement engagements. These include being a spokesperson for OCBC Bank's SmartSenior Programme. She filmed a TV advertisement for the bank, which also featured her mother.[15]

In January 2010, she filmed a one-minute TV advertisement for L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Face Cream.[16] In the same year, she also endorsed Ginvera Grorich Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. A television commercial was filmed and advertisements were also published in numerous print media. Biren was then appointed ambassador of slimming company BeauteHub in February 2011.

Huang made a public appearance at the annual Star Awards 2011 ceremony (Show 1) as guest presenter on 17 April 2011.[17]

In June 2011, Huang was interviewed by LiveWell magazine. She said it was her dream to film a movie and she has plans to do so in the future if there is a chance.[18]

Huang announced plans to return to television when she attended the Star Awards 2012 award ceremony as award presenter alongside Member of Parliament Baey Yam Keng. She revealed that discussions with MediaCorp are underway and she might star in a drama in 2013.[19]

Return to Entertainment Industry[edit]

In an interview with local magazine i-Weekly in March 2013, Huang revealed that MediaCorp will continue to represent her in terms of artiste management and sourcing for ad hoc jobs which are of a more flexible nature.

After a six-year hiatus, she was slated to star in the TV station's 2013 mega-blockbuster year end series The Journey: A Voyage alongside Li Nanxing, Jeanette Aw and Elvin Ng. Her return to drama was much anticipated by the audience, but she had to turn down the lead role just weeks before filming commenced because a painful 10 cm cyst had grown in her kidney. She underwent surgery in April 2013 and required time to recuperate. She described her decision to pull out of the series as "regrettable" but she felt her state of health was most important, and filming in Malaysia and Tangshan, China might affect her scheduled medical follow-ups.[20][21] Carole Lin has since took on the role.

On 23 March 2014, Huang mentioned she has since made a full recovery from the surgery and will be making a television comeback in the second half of the year. However, she declined to provide details as discussions with the TV station were still ongoing.[22] On 31 March 2014, MediaCorp TV Channel 8 announced on its official Facebook page that Biren will be making a comeback with two dramas in the works. Huang will star as a supportive wife of a down-and-out man opposite Thomas Ong in the serial Three Wishes which is slated to air in October 2014.[23][24] She will then play the titular character in 2015 drama Tiger Mum, a disciplinarian figure who gels the family together.[25]

Audience response to Huang's comeback has been largely favourable, with the viewership of her comeback drama Three Wishes breaking the 1 million mark on its debut episode, a phenomenon rarely seen for local dramas.[26] The captivating storyline, coupled with audience strong anticipation towards Huang's return, were cited as contributory factors towards the drama's strong showing. The finale episode attracted more than 1.1 million viewers, with ratings peaking at a record-breaking high of 1,134,000 viewers - propelling the drama to clinch Top Rated Drama for Year 2014.[27]

On 30 December 2014, it was revealed that she will star alongside Zoe Tay, Rui En, Jeanette Aw, Li Nanxing and Qi Yuwu in MediaCorp Channel 8's 2015 year-end mega blockbuster series, The Dream Makers II.[28] The serial would be her first collaboration with Tay in 27 years.

Both of Huang's 2015 drama serials, Tiger Mum and The Dream Makers ll clinched the Top Rated Drama and Best Drama Serial awards respectively at the Star Awards 2016 ceremony held on 24 April 2016.

Huang left MediaCorp on 30 June 2008 but returned to the entertainment industry in 2014 and continues to take on television projects on an ad hoc basis. Huang's performances in her recent drama serials, Three Wishes and Tiger Mum, garnered favourable responses from viewers. Both dramas had the highest viewership count for 2014.

As a freelance actress without an artiste management contract with the TV station, Huang has been disqualified from contesting in the annual Star Awards in recent years. This has drawn much controversy from the public.

Personal life[edit]


Often nicknamed Ling by relatives, Huang has one older sister and one younger brother. She was educated at Mayflower Primary School and Mayflower Secondary School, where she developed a keen interest in oratorical and storytelling contests. She then completed her GCE Advanced Level examinations at Ang Mo Kio Secondary School (Pre-U Centre).

In 1996, Huang married Adrian Quek, currently the Assistant Commissioner of the Singapore Police Force, after dating him for two years. The couple have a son named Justin, born on 10 March 2000. On 30 July 2007, Huang announced that she was two months pregnant with her second child, a girl due in March 2008.[29][30][31][32] On 6 March 2008 10:08 am, Huang gave birth to her second child, one day before her own birthday at Thomson Medical Centre. The birth of her newborn, Janessa, was described by Huang as extremely smooth.[33]

On 9 February 2009, which was also the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, Huang's father died at the age of 67. Her father's departure was described by Huang as extremely sudden as he had been healthy all along. His cause of death was cited as a viral infection.

On 29 September 2009, Huang was interviewed by reporters at the wedding ceremony of MediaCorp artistes Fann Wong and Christopher Lee where she was one of the invited guests at Shangri-La Hotel. She admitted she was two-and-a-half months pregnant with her third child. The pregnancy was unplanned and the newborn would be a girl. The baby is expected to be born in April 2010.

In February 2010, Huang commented that her third pregnancy was a tough one when she was interviewed by The New Paper. She had an extreme case of severe morning sickness where she had to take medication to prevent herself from throwing up in the first trimester. Huang also feels more tired compared to her second pregnancy mainly because taking care of Janessa (her second child) takes up a lot of her energy.[34] She gave birth to her baby girl, Janelle, on 29 April 2010.

Huang is the aunt of Singapore fencing prodigy, Jet Ng who is the 5th-ranked Cadet fencer in the world.


Huang lists Chen Hanwei, Zoe Tay, Pan Lingling and ex-actress Magdeline Chu as her closest friends in the industry. She also revealed she feels most at ease while working with ex-actor Xie Shaoguang because they have very good chemistry on screen, though they seldom keep in contact in private.[35]

Addressed affectionately as ‘‘Biren-jie’’ (碧仁姐) by numerous artistes of the younger generation, Huang is also widely seen as a role model to artistes such as Jeanette Aw, Felicia Chin, Zhang Yao Dong, Zhou Ying and Ya Hui, among many others. Aw described Huang as her favourite local actress and admires her professionalism;[36] Chin respects Huang for her vast experience and acting skills;[37] Zhang [38] and Zhou[39] both regard her as a mentor while Ya Hui lists Huang as one of her inspirations.[40]



Year Title Role Star Awards Notes
1989 Patrol
My Sweet Rival
Return Of The Prince
Zi Yi
1990 Friends Next Door
The Village Hero
Wishing Well
1991 Home Sweet Home
Long-running drama
110 episodes
The Other Woman
1992 The Breaking Point
Ding Chu Bing
Mystery II
Li Ya Lun
1993 Angel of Vengeance
The Invincible Warriors
Xi Shan He
Happy Reunion
Zhu Bao Bao
1994 Silk And Romance
Zhong Qi
China-Singapore Co-production
1995 Strange Encounters II
Qian Nian Lü Yu Jing
Strange Encounters III
Morning Express
Teacher Han
The Ranger
Project 'B'
Qin Lei
1996 Legend of the White Hair Brides
Lian Nichang
China-Singapore Co-production
Money, Dollars and Sense
Song Xue Qin
1997 Living By Night
Gu Xian Fang
Courting Trouble
Wan Qing
Best Supporting Actress nomination (Top 5)
My Wife, Your Wife, Their Wives
Appears in two episodes
Tales Of The City
Lin Hui Ling
Not The Facts
1998 Man at the Crossroads
Li Mei Yi
Stand By Me
Lin Wen Yu
Best Actress Award
Best Actress nomination, Asian TV Awards 1998
Top Viewership Drama 1998
Best Drama Serial
1999 From The Courtroom
Yang Zhan Yi
Best Actress nomination (Top 5)
Are you my Brother?
Fang Ting
爱情乱码     Taiwan-Singapore Co-production
2000 Angel's Dream
Ye Ning
Best Supporting Actress nomination (Top 5)
2001 The Hotel
Huang Yi Ren
Cameo appearance - Episode 17
Three Women and A Half
Cheng Pei Yi Monica
Best Actress nomination (Top 5)
Top Viewership Drama 2001
Best Drama Serial
2002 Viva Le Famille
Sun Yu Min
The Vagrant
Gan Shushu
Beautiful Connection
Fan Kelian
Best Actress Award
Top Viewership Drama 2002
Best Drama Serial
2003 Viva Le Famille II
Sun Yu Min
Holland V
Huang Biren Cameo appearance
Home In Toa Payoh
Zheng Hui Ming
A Child's Hope
Ding Sao
Best Actress nomination, Asian TV Awards 2003
Popiah and Me Su-Lin English Drama
2004 Timeless Gift
Guo Yue Li
Beautiful Trio
Double Happiness II
Huang Biren Cameo appearance
An Ode To Life
Wang Su Zhi
Best Actress nomination (Top 5)
Top Viewership Drama 2004
Chronicles of Life
Liu Bao Yu
2005 My Lucky Charm
Lucky Zhang Qiu Yue
Best Actress Award
2006 The Undisclosed
Yan Ke Xin
2007 Mars VS Venus
Xie Wen Jing
Best Actress nomination (Top 5)
Best Actress nomination, Asian TV Awards 2007
2014 Three Wishes
Zeng Shan Mei
Top Rated Drama 2014
2015 Tiger Mum
He Xue Mei
贺雪美 (虎妈)
Top Rated Drama 2015
The Dream Makers II
Guan Xie En
Best Drama Serial 2015
Favourite Female Character nomination
2016 Fire Up
Zheng Meimei
He Xuemei
Cameo appearance
2017 Three Little Wishes
Zeng Shan Mei
Cameo appearance

Variety shows[edit]

Year Title Role
1991 Variety Tonight 开心五重奏 Host
1992 Variety Tonight 开心五重奏 Host
Sunday in Singapore 美丽星期天 Host
1993 Lunar New Year Special '93 迎新年1993 Host
Star Speak 星星问 Host
Variety Tonight 开心五重奏 Host
Countdown '93 1993年到数活动! Host
1994 Afternoon Leisure Hour 午后闲情 Host
2001 President Star Charity 2001 总统星光慈善2001 Team Leader cum participant
2002 President Star Charity 2002 总统星光慈善2002 Team Leader cum participant
NKF Charity Show 2002 Participant
Truehearts Charity Show 公益大联盟慈善活动 Charity Leader
2003 NKF Charity Show 2003 Participant
2006 Nightwalk 步夜城 Host
Glamour Licious 2 请你吃好料2 Co-host
Never Say Die Talent Contest 永不言败 Judge
Hey Baby! Hey Baby!幸福密码 Judge
President Star Charity 2006 总统星光慈善2006 Dancing Segment (Participant)
Chinese New Year Celebrations 2006 MediaCorp Artiste participant
2007 才华横溢出新秀 Star Search Singapore Mentor
Mission 4 创业无敌手IV
Episode 1 and 2 第一、二集
Bioskin Dreams Come True Beauty Contest Judge
2008 Glamour Mum and The Dude (Episode 5)
2011 Star Awards 2011 Show 1
红星大奖2011 第一场
Award Presenter
2012 Star Awards 2012 Show 1
红星大奖2012 第一场
Award Presenter
S.N.A.P. 熠熠星光总动员
Last Episode 最后一集
2013 The Joy Truck 快乐速递 Artiste Ambassador


Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1997 Star Awards Best Supporting Actress Courting Trouble Nominated
1997 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
1998 Star Awards Best Actress Stand By Me Won
1998 Asian Television Awards Best Drama Performance by an Actress Stand By Me Nominated
1999 Star Awards Best Actress From the Courtroom Nominated
1999 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
2000 Star Awards Best Supporting Actress Angel's Dream Nominated
2000 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
2000 Star Awards Most Popular Actress in Malaysia N/A Nominated
2001 Star Awards Best Actress Three Women And A Half Nominated
2001 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
2001 Star Awards Most Popular Actress in Malaysia N/A Nominated
2002 Star Awards Best Actress Beautiful Connection Won
2002 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
2002 Lianhe Zaobao 风云人物 N/A Won
2003 Asian Television Awards Best Drama Performance by an Actress A Child's Hope Nominated
[Highly Commended]
2003 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
2003 Star Awards Most Popular Actress in Malaysia N/A Nominated
2003 Star Awards Best Onscreen Partners
(with Xie Shaoguang)
N/A Nominated
2004 Star Awards Best Actress An Ode To Life Nominated
2004 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
2005 Star Awards Best Actress My Lucky Charm Won
2005 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
2006 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
2007 Asian Television Awards Best Drama Performance by an Actress Mars vs Venus Nominated
2007 Star Awards 25th Anniversary Show Favourite Actress N/A Won
2007 Star Awards 25th Anniversary Show Favourite Onscreen Partners
(with Xie Shaoguang)
Stand By Me Won
2007 Star Awards Best Actress Mars vs Venus Nominated
2007 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes N/A Won
2009 Star Awards All Time Favourite Artiste Award N/A Won
2016 Star Awards Favourite Female Character The Dream Makers II Nominated

Note: There is no Star Awards 2008 being held.


  1. ^ "Glamour grad". AsiaOne. 3 November 2008. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. 
  2. ^ "Huang Bi Ren's Best Actress 2005 speech". December 2005. 
  3. ^ "被指假病推戲黃碧仁喊冤". 7 November 2006. 
  4. ^ "新傳媒資深花旦黃碧仁在熒幕上已經消失了整整一年". e.nettv. 24 March 2006. 
  5. ^ "Huang Biren as Mentor in Star Search 2007". MediaCorp Channel 8. 21 August 2007. 
  6. ^ "Huang Bi Ren's Favourite Actress speech". (Channel News Asia). 9 December 2007. 
  7. ^ "Actress Huang Biren quits MediaCorp over salary". AsiaOne Just Woman. 9 August 2008. 
  8. ^ "Biren has left MediaCorp!". MediaCorp Channel 8. 4 August 2008. 
  9. ^ "黄碧仁新约谈不拢 不当"超级红星"离开新传媒". Lian He Zao Bao. 4 August 2008. 
  10. ^ "黄碧仁 电视20年". Lian He Zao Bao. 5 August 2008. 
  11. ^ "Huang Biren quits MediaCorp over pay". AsiaOne. 7 August 2008. 
  12. ^ "黄碧仁离开新传媒 观众反应强烈 网上批走宝". Lian He Zao Bao. 8 August 2008. 
  13. ^ "Huang Biren: Glamour Grad". AsiaOne Just Women. 3 November 2008. 
  14. ^ "Huang Bi Ren's speech on receiving All Time Favourite Artiste award". 26 April 2009. 
  15. ^ "Jan 2010: MediaCorp Artistes, Pierre Png and Huang Biren share their childhood memories and important lessons they have learnt from their parents". OCBC Bank. January 2010. 
  16. ^ "Year 2010 Huang Biren advertisement [sic] L'OREAL Revitalift". 29 January 2010. 
  17. ^ "Who’s Coming To Star Awards 2011 红星大奖 Show 1?". Paul Chan. 6 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "The Best of Biren". 29 June 2011. 
  19. ^ "Huang Biren may well be returning to television". 24 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "黄碧仁患病辞演重头大剧". 20 May 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. 
  21. ^ "2 more MediaCorp stars hit by health problems". 20 May 2013. [permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "黄碧仁切除水瘤康复顺利 今年复出拍戏". 23 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "Huang Biren: No regrets leaving showbiz six years ago". xinmsn Entertainment. 15 October 2014. 
  24. ^ "I never left, says Huang Biren". Today Online. 16 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "Huang Biren is officially making her comeback". 31 March 2014. 
  26. ^ ""Three Wishes" attracted a viewership of over 1,000,000". 28 October 2014. 
  27. ^ "Three Wishes finale draws more than 1.1 million viewers". 24 November 2014. Archived from the original on 27 November 2014. 
  28. ^ "展望2015年四方盒:本地剧有何看头?". 30 December 2014. 
  29. ^ "Huang Biren pregnant with second child". Channel News Asia. 30 July 2007. 
  30. ^ "黄碧仁怀第二胎 这次是"日本制造"". 30 July 2007. 
  31. ^ "Pregnant Biren: My Hubby did not believe me! (Videos included)". MediaCorp Channel 8. 31 July 2007. 
  32. ^ "黃碧仁有喜!". 30 July 2007. 
  33. ^ "黄碧仁今早产女婴 宝宝4公斤重". 6 March 2008. 
  34. ^ "Former actress & now stay-at-home mum Huang Biren". DivaAsia/NewPaper. 25 February 2010. 
  35. ^ Lianhe Zaobao: Huang Biren reveals who she has best chemistry with
  36. ^ Knock knock Jeanette Aw: Which artiste do you admire most?
  37. ^ Felicia Chin admires Huang Biren
  38. ^ Zhang Yao Dong glad to ‘reunite’ with Huang Biren
  39. ^ Zhou Ying thanks Huang Biren as she wins her first award
  40. ^ Face of Beauty