Saturday, January 12th, 2008
Happy New Year! … even though everyone knows that the “real” New Year doesn’t begin until February 7th.
In my usual timely fashion, I’m going to start off 2008 by talking about 2007. On New Year’s Day, I went out for dim sum with my family. As most dim sum delicacies and, sadly, “oil-fried devils” (油炸鬼, my favourite Chinese food: fried doughsticks) remain beyond my eating and digestive capabilities, I nursed a bowl of congee while enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of a busy teahouse. I also picked up a copy of “Oriental News Weekly” — a free Chinese-language newspaper distributed to Chinese communities here in Western Canada. Inside the paper was an article by an unnamed author listing the “Top Ten Entertainment Circle Stories of 2007″. Surprisingly, I was aware of eight of the ten stories. I guess my entertainment circle database isn’t as out-of-date as I thought. Although, I would categorize most of these stories as news about entertainment circle personalities rather than actual entertainment circle news. Nevertheless, sharing the article with you guys will help get the ol’ writing and translating skills rolling again so, without further ado, the “Top 10 Entertainment Circle Stories of 2007″:
10. Ada Choi Siu-Fan Reveals Relationship, Announces Forthcoming Marriage
On December 10th, Ada Choi Siu-Fan released a four-hundred word statement to the press revealing that she and Mainland actor/stuntman Max Zhang Jin have been dating for four-and-a-half years and that they planned to marry in the near future. In the statement, which featured nineteen exclamation marks, Choi gushed about her future husband and called him a “man of the highest grade”.
Choi, 34, won the Miss Hong Kong Pageant in 1991. Zhang, 33, worked as a stuntman on CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON and HERO. He can be seen in the movies CHINESE HEROES, THE UNDISCOVERED TOMB and SHAOLIN VS EVIL DEAD 2. The couple reportedly fell in love with each other during shooting for the Mainland television series PARADISE (水月洞天).
9. Cathy Chui Chi-Kei Gives Birth To A Daughter
Shortly after actress/model Cathy Chui Chi-Kei (aka Cathy Tsui) married Martin Lee Ka-Shing (the second son of billionaire businessman Lee Shau-Kee — the founder of Henderson Land Development) in December 2006, rumours emerged alleging Chui was pregnant. On July 17th, 2007 those rumours came true as Chui gave birth to six-pound, eight-ounce baby girl Leanna Lee Hei-Tung. Similar to their opulent wedding in Sydney, the couple threw a lavish banquet in October at Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel celebrating their baby daughter’s “eighty-day” milestone. The event was attended by most of Hong Kong’s wealthy and influential business people.
(SANNEY: How does this qualify as a “top ten” story? Was 2007 a really dull year for the entertainment circle?)
8. Lydia Shum Tin-Ha’s Continuing Health Struggles
After being diagnosed with liver and gallbladder cancer in 2006, Lydia Shum Tin-Ha, 60, has been in-and-out of hospitals. In October, she was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and treated for pleural effusion — a complication of liver cancer. She recovered sufficiently to receive a lifetime achievement award in November at TVB’s 40th Anniversary Gala. Days later, while in Macau for a banquet, Shum was taken to a hospital after she collapsed. She was transfered to Hong Kong’s Queen Mary Hospital later that week where she remains today.
Related Link: Lydia Shum biography at Hong Kong Cinema: View From The Brooklyn Bridge (scroll down to bottom of the page)
7. Moon Lee Choi-Fung Divorces After Dirty Laundry Aired
Former “Girls With Guns” star Moon Lee Choi-Fung, 42, got divorced from husband Dennis Law Kai-Yan in 2007 after Law allegedly discovered Lee having an affair with their twentysomething godson. Supposedly, Law walked in on Lee and the godson — who worked for Law’s performing arts company — while the two were intimately involved. Exposing the alleged affair to the media in June, Law declared: “No matter how you look as it, as a husband or as a godfather … to discover something like that in your own bedroom … of course, it’s a shock and something that’s very hard to accept. What hurts most is that a loving family and marriage have been destroyed. After I learned the truth, I found out that this affair was an open secret among many people at the performing arts company.”
In response to Law’s declaration, Lee took out an ad in a newspaper denying the allegations. Reportedly, Law and Lee have now divorced with Lee receiving US$12,000 per month in alimony.
Lee, best known for the “Angel” series of action movies, married Law — a surgeon turned artistic company director — in 2000. The two formed Sight, Sound & Action Ltd., a production company that has staged successful musicals such as HEAVEN & EARTH and TERRACOTTA WARRIORS.
Related Link: Moon Lee’s blog (Chinese language only)
6. Yumiko Cheng Hei-Yi Reveals Two Points In Toronto
After suffering a wardrobe malfunction that exposed her thong at the 2006 Tung Wah Charity Show, EEG starlet Yumiko Cheng Hei-Yi suffered another wardrobe failure in 2007 as she unknowingly flashed her nipples on June 23rd while performing at Canada’s Wonderland for the New Talent Singing Awards Toronto Audition Show. Not only was the exposure shown on the stage’s big screen, it was uploaded onto YouTube where it became one of the most viewed clips.
5. Carmen Choi Ka-Man, Daughter of Toy King Choi Chee-Ming, Marries
(SANNEY: Let’s skip this one because I have no idea how this is related to the entertainment circle. As far as I can tell, Miss Choi is not involved in the entertainment business. Also, she married a man from another rich family and not some actor or singer.)
4. Michael To Dai-Yu Denies That Sonjia Kwok Sin-Lei Is “The Other Woman”
TVB star Michael To Dai-Yu and his wife Wong Wai-Bo divorced in March 2007 following six and a half years of marriage. Shortly after, Wong reportedly told “a friend” that TVB leading lady Sonija Kwok Sin-Lei was the “third party” responsible for breaking up her marriage. Despite strong denials by To, the allegation provoked a hailstorm of negative publicity that caused Kwok to flee Hong Kong for her native Vancouver for three months.
Kwok, a “rumour queen” who has been linked to many of her TVB co-stars, announced in December that she will not be renewing her TVB contract when it expires this year. She will instead concentrate on building her career in the lucrative Mainland market.
3. Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau and May Lo Mei-Mei Blacklisted
Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau and his wife May Lo Mei-Mei were blacklisted by the Philippine Consulate General in September 2007 from hiring any more Filipino maids. Reportedly, the Consulate General labeled the Cheung family a “substandard employer” after they allegedly went through twenty-one maids in three years. Responding to the move, Cheung told the media that he was an “ordinary employer” who has often rehired maids after their contracts expired and only fired the ones who weren’t “helpful”. He blamed the high turnover rate on a number of maids who resigned because they could not deal with the numerous stairs of his four-story home.
In addition to the ban on hiring new maids, the blacklisting means that Cheung will not be allowed to renew the contracts of his current maids when they expire. May Lo reportedly appealed to the Consulate General but to no avail.
This is the not the first time the Cheung household has had problems with Filipino maids. In December 2006, one of Cheung’s maids was convicted for stealing a letter and three photos from Cheung.
2. Singer/Business Executive Stephen Gan Fock-Wai Arrested For Indecent Assault
Pak Fah Yeow executive Stephen Gan Fock-Wai, 45, was arrested in October 2007 for an alleged indecent assault on a male taxi driver. Reportedly, on a taxi ride home following a night of drunken celebration, Gan touched his taxi driver inappropriately then tried to make amends by leaving a HK$500 bill.
In addition to his duties as an executive for Pak Fah Yeoh — makers of the popular remedy “White Flower Oil” — Gan has dabbled in music, releasing seven albums since 1987. He had his first hit, “Love for Another 80 Years”, in 2007. The song served as the theme music for a “White Flower Oil” ad campaign.
In the past, Gan has been linked romantically to actress Fennie Yuen Kit-Ying. There are also rumours that he is bisexual.
1. Father Of Obsessed Andy Lau Tak-Wah Fan Commits Suicide
The father of an obsessed Andy Lau Tak-Wah fan killed himself on March 26th by jumping into the sea off Kowloon after escorting his daughter to the star’s birthday party. The man, 68, left a twelve-page suicide letter stating that the trip to Hong Kong from their home in Lanzhou bankrupted his family and the least Lau could do was give his daughter, 28 year-old Yang Lijuan, a private audience.
According to media reports, Yang has been obsessed with Lau since she was 15 and had quit school and refused to work in order to be a full-time Lau fan.
The suicide set off a wave of condemnation in the Mainland media against over-indulgence of children and celebrity worship.
Image credits: Wenhui United Press Group (”Oil-Fried Devils”), Baidu.com (Max Zhang), CRI Online (Lydia Shum), Moon Lee (Moon Lee), Pak Fah Yeow (While Flower Oil bottle)