Thursday, December 30, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao 31/12/04]

With the events after the Indonesian Tsunami Disaster, leaving many people in the region homeless and the increasing death count, Jackie Chan, Eric Tsang and Ann Hui called an emergency meeting together with representatives of the major organisations including Derek Yee, Stephen Tung, Cheung Tat Ming, Melvin Wong and Tina Lau to discuss arrangements for a major fundraising event. After four hours of discussion, it was decided to hold a event entitled "Love is the World" on January 7th, where there will be no barriers between all the media companies as Cable, ATV, RTHK, Phoenix TV and TVB join together to raise money for the victims.

Speaking on behalf of the celebrities, Eric Tsang indicated that this will be a united effort from all the media companies and performing artistes in Hong Kong and the venue is yet to be set, but he hopes it will be at the Hong Kong Stadium or Happy Valley Race Course. As well as singing, there will also be many stars there to encourage the public to dig deep and donate. They will also invite representatives from Unicef, Oxfam and Medicins sans Frontiers to take part and share their experiences. Stars are being sent out to affected areas to film the situation and the clips will be shown on the night. Chapman To was the first to fly out to Sri Lanka last night.

The event is planned to start at 5pm and will last around 4 hours. As well as members of the Hong Kong showbiz industry, they will also invite celebrities from all over Asia as they join the broadcast with Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. The theme song for the evening will be "We are the World" and there will be no entrance fee to the event as donation boxes will be placed all around the venue. Many sponsors did not think twice about offering their assistance and in order to keep costs to a minimum everything will be sponsored. When Jackie Chan heard that they need a financial float for the event, he immediately took this on board himself and also offered his Kowloon offices as a base for meetings.

Many artistes have offered to take part in the show, but Jackie will be working in Las Vegas on the day, so he may not be able to make it, but he will leave a message in the form of a clip. Andy Lau and Aaron Kwok both have prior arrangements, but will make time to appear and Kelly Chen, who has just completed a concert run has cancelled her holidays to take part. Alan Tam and all the stars in his management company will be taking part, with only Stephen Chow absent as he will be promoting in Korea. As for Chinastar boss Mrs Heung, who experienced the disaster first hand, she is still abroad at the moment and so will make her announcement on her return.

In addition to this, as Hong Kong's largest electronic media company, TVB will be airing a special three-hour fundraising show on Sunday entitled "Four Seas join Hearts to send Love" led by 7 top MC's Eric Tsang, Nat Chan, Carol Cheng, Priscilla Ku, Cutie Mui, Tang Chi Fung and Anna Yau. Nat will be taking the reins in contacting stars to take part and these will be confirmed soon. The show will be aired live to Singapore, Malaysia and Australia and later on shown in the USA and Europe due to time differences. It will also be aired in Japan and New Zealand at a later date.

CRHK has started a donation campaign, including a special emergency donation section in each of its forthcoming events and urging the public to lend a helping hand, with all the funds being passed over to Hong Kong Worldvision and Oxfam. Tomorrow's "Chik Chak" Music awards will have donation boxes at the venue and the celebratory party has been cancelled with the funds from this being donated to the appeal.

Also, EEG will be holding a special charity concert on 2nd January at 8pm, but all 2000 tickets have been bought up by staff, raising an estimated $200,000 for the Red Cross. EEG's artistes are all very supportive of the event and the EEG charity trust has also donated $800,000 so their total funds raised are over $1 million.

ATV will also be airing a special programme on New Year's Day entitled "Natural Disasters have no love, but Humanity has love" to raise money, hosted by Kenneth Chan and Chu Wai San.


[Ta Kung Pao 31/12/04]

Ada Choi and Dayo Wong's series "To Catch the Uncatchable" was very popular and gained the top spot in TVB Jade's Top Ten TV Series of 2004, so the two leading stars were back in TVB City yesterday for a TVB Weekly magazine shoot. Ada's other series for the year "Armed Reaction IV" was also among the top ten and she is very happy about this, especially as this was her first collaboration with Dayo and she has gained good results. She hopes that in the future, she can work with him again in films, television and even recording an album.

When it was mentioned that Dayo has recently formed a band, Ada says that he looks very stylish in his hat and she is very happy that the song can be downloaded for free from the internet. As Ada loves singing herself, she often sings on stage performances, but she will not be releasing a record in case the company loses money and because she does not want the pressure. As for Athena Chu releasing another album, Ada says she admires her enthusiasm for singing and all the effort she has put into it, saying that this attitude should be encouraged in the industry. She adds that Athena is her idol and she will definitely buy the record and hopes that everyone can appreciate her hard work.

Also, Ada has just returned from a trip to Thailand last week, so the destruction from the tsunamis has hit home quite hard. However, she feels that we should not be too saddened and face the situation strongly by appreciating friendships and encouraging each other, making the most of each day because so much cannot be taken for granted. She says: "The death toll is mounting up day by day and I hope that we can show our care for those who are affected."

Responding to "To Catch" being the top rated show of last year, Dayo says that he felt he could have done better and only expected to come second or third. How does he feel Ada performed? He says that she did very well and they worked together very happily. He says: "Whether I am happy or not when I am filming depends on my co-star and if they perform badly, then I will not be happy either, but Ada was nearly perfect on both counts."

Will there be a sequel to the show? Dayo says candidly that he does not want to repeat anything, so if he films something it will be a new subject. Will be he be contributing his own ideas to make it even better? He laughs he will not because he is just an ordinary staf member of TVB and he only receives one salary, so he does not want to step into other colleague's territory. He has not confirmed whether he will be filming for TVB again next year as his schedule is very full as he will be filming a series in the Mainland in March before preparing for his stage show with Francis Ng and Cheung Tat Ming in July. However this will not be in the format of "So Gun Show" or stand up, but will be a new bold venture for the three that they have discussed for six months. Dayo laughs: "This time, the show will affect the whole of West Kowloon, so if all of the West Kowloon pollers come to watch, then they will know what culture is."

Dayo was in Thailand's Khao Lak resort on vacation at the beginning of the month, but the hotel where he stayed has now been destroyed. He says: "That hotel was newly opened and the room where I stayed was very near to the sea, so I was worried then that the tides would reach my room. After this disaster, I feel that life is very precious and I hope that everyone will donate generously to the appeal. I had made a donation to World Vision."

Follow in Dayo's footsteps and make a donation to the Tsunami appeal via World Vision:

[Em's note:
Download 'Happy' Band's song here: http://www.umimusic.com/happy/
(Just click the link at the bottom of the page.)
It's a legal download!]


[Oriental Daily 31/12/04]

Niki Chow, Moses Chan and Cindy Au were filming the final scenes for "The Gentle Crackdown" in TVB City yesterday and as the weather is getting rather cold, Niki was wearing three pairs of shorts and two vests under her costume as well as plenty of heat packs and holding a hand warmer.

Niki says: "Although this series has a lot of fighting scenes, wire scenes and water scenes and I often had to work through the night, I have been very happy and I will miss it now we have finished. (Are you pleased you did not have any rumours with Moses throughout filming?) Yes, maybe we don't match each other, but we do get on quite well and often hug each other like brother and sister."

Niki has been watching the news on the Tsunami Disaster and she she has donated $3000 to the Orisun appeal. Niki says: "I never imagined that there would be such a serious natural disaster. I have been to many of the hotels in Thailand and seeing them destroyed is quite horrifying. Originally I had planned to go on holiday to Thailand this Christmas, but I had to finish filming and could not go, so I guess I am lucky to miss this disaster, but it is also a warning to us that we should be more aware of nature and the environment." As well as donating money, Niki says she would like to offer some practical support and if time allows she would like to go and visit the affected areas as a volunteer.


[Ta Kung Pao 31/12/04]

Candy Lo and Krystal Tin will be joining a group of Special School students on a charity trip to Malaysia on January 5th and at the press conference yesterday, they indicated that although there has been the sad news of the earthquake disaster in the region, they are still planning to go ahead with the trip that will last four days. They will be visiting the sights in the city and are not worried because the trip is very meaningful as they can take some children abroad who rarely have the chance to go on holiday.

Candy has been a volunteer in the past, looking after children and so she is not worried about it being dificult and in order to look after the children, she will not be taking her guitar with her to keep her luggage light. Although she will be there mainly to entertain the children, doing the charity work is very important too, so she does not mind at all. As for the South Asian disaster victims, she feels very sorry for them and has made a donation of a five figure sum as this event has made her treasure more those around her.

Krystal has never taken part in this kind of event before, but as she loves children, she is not worried about having to look after them. She is not worried about being in danger either because she says that for children to be playful is natural. As she loves kids so much, has she thought about having some of her own? She says that she will, but not right now. She will be taking plenty of paper, pens and her DV on the trip to record the journey and the experience.


[Ta Kung Pao 30/12/04]

The "2005 Miss Chinese International Pageant" will be taking place at TVB City on 29th January and the motto this year will be "Eternal Beauty - Touching Hearts for 5000 years". A press conference was held yesterday to mark the event by the organising committee and taking part were the Deputy Co-ordinating Manager Rosa Chan, Producer Chan King Yau and last year's winners Linda Chung and Mandy Cho as well as this year's Miss Hong Kong representatives Kate Tsui, Queenie Chu and Fu Sze Sze. In order to show their support for Hong Kong's Kate, they each presented her with a gift and a card.

Producer Chan indicated that this year's event will not have any location filming and everything will take place in the studio. The 22 representatives from around the world will arrive in Hong Kong on 7th January and take part in an event as part of the Jade Solid Gold Music Awards on 8th January.

Representing Hong Kong at the pageant, Kate is confident after receiving the wishes from her predecessors and she is happy that she is so confident. She says: "I feel that my performance in Miss Hong Kong was not bad, so I hope that I can keep to that standard at this contest. As well as doing sport recently, I have also been reading up on Chinese history to tie in with this year's theme." When asked if she feels pressure with Hong Kong not having taken the title since Sonija Kwok, Kate says she will do her best and hopes people will not put too much pressure on her because she will perform better if she is relaxed on the night, just like when she won Miss Hong Kong. When asked if she has been on the internet to look up the other contestant's info, she says that the photos on the net are rather small, so she can not tell very much. She just knows that many of them are very tall, but she is not afraid of losing out on this front as she has a very balanced figure.

After winning the contest last year, Linda Chung has furthered her career in Hong Kong and she feels that she has had a very fulfilling year. When asked if she has any advice for Kate, she says that Kate has already done very well at Miss Hong Kong, so she must already have plenty of tips and a lot of confidence. Linda adds: "I feel that MCI has brought me many things, including meeting girls from all over the world, so I have somewhere to stay wherever I go now." As for New Year's Eve celebrations, Linda will be spending the time wokring, but after filming finishes for "Virtues of Harmony", she will have two weeks vacation, where she will be nursing her health to prepare for new work as well as polishing up her Cantonese because there are still some words she cannot pronounce correctly.

Mandy Cho was last year's MCI runner up and thinking back to the three weeks training they had in the hotel, she felt it was hard work to start with but then there was not enough time. During this time, she had a very happy experience with the other contestants and they all formed a bond with each other, so it was a shame they all had to scatter at the end and head back to different places. They keep in touch by email now and she sees Linda and Vivien Yeo the most as they are both working for TVB now.

Does Mandy have any tips for Kate? She says that the most important thing is to enjoy the experience and not to let people give her too much pressure. She says: "The contestants from the other places come to Hong Kong for the pageant alone, so to represent Hong Kong, then you should try to give them the warmth of home. Last year, I tried to make everyone feel like they were on holiday and in the end they repaid my hospitality by voting for me in the "Miss Friendship" award." As for whether she has been on the internet to check the standards of the other contestants, Mandy believes that the standard is quite high this year, like those last year. As Jessica Chui from last year's contest has signed for a Mainland film company, Mandy tried to contact her whilst working in China recently, but was unable to. She says that as they are both very busy, then it is difficult to keep in touch.

For this year's New Year's Eve, Mandy will be having a party at home and she says that she does not like having too many people around, so most of her celebrations will be at home. As for the recent tsunami disaster, Mandy says she wants to donate money to the appeal, but does not know how to, so she hopes there will soon be some clear instructions from the organisations. When Mandy took part in Miss Hong Kong, she filmed on location in Phuket and she sighs: "Seeing the destruction in the area now, I don't knoww when we will be able to go back there again." Talking of the number of people dead in this disaster, Mandy says that the worst hit are the children because what was supposed to be a happy holiday has turned into an ordeal where parents have been lost and it is very heart wrenching.


[Ta Kung Pao 30/12/04]

TVB Production Resource Department Deputy Chief Lok Yik Ling was on vacation over Christmas with twenty family members in Phuket where they witnessed first hand the Tsunami Disaster in the Indian Ocean. Luckily, they all managed to escape unharmed and all members of their party arrived safely back in Hong Kong. Grateful to be safe, Ms Lok appeared on yesterday's "Hong Kong Live" programme and recounted her nine hour ordeal and escape that has prompted her to treasure even more everyone and everything around her.

Ms Lok indicated that her family had arranged to take a boat to go and see the coral reef and when the boat was about 1000m from the shore, they were hit by the wave and they were first tossed onto the crest of the wave before being thrown into the sea several times. Fortunately, they were all wearing lifejackets and escaped with their lives, lucky not to have hit anything hard in the water and suffering only minor injuries. Losing contact with each other, she finally spotted her nine year-old son and held onto his hand and onto some driftwood before they were washed onto the shore of a small island. At first she only saw ten of her family members, but was reunited with the rest of them after assistance from the rescue crews and even the elderly members of the family in their 70's were alright, so for her this was a miracle. As their clothes were battered by the sea, they had to borrow clothes from the locals and pick shoes up from the street to wear and for their own safety, they headed up to the higher ground on the island. Seeing the bodies lying strewn across the ground on the way, it was very distressing, but the local people were very friendly and held out the hand of help, providing them with fresh water, offering their homes for them to shower and taking them to safety to await rescue.

In the hills, there were several thousand people awaiting rescue and the night that was spent on the island was one that was very difficult. Ms Lok recalled: "There were a few fires lit on the hill and everyone sat back to back to keep warm. The adults hugged the children and some were so upset that they cried. Later the military planes took the injured to hospital and as we only had minor injuries, we were taken to the adjacent school where the teachers, villagers and volunteers all helped before arranging for transport to take us back to Phuket airport and back to Hong Kong."

When asked what she was thinking when this happened, Ms Lok said: "I was thanking the Lord that my family were all still in this world. I have already gained from this life and I know I have nothing more to want. Life is so precious. I have been very lucky because many friends we made in the hotel are either dead or missing. My son says that Santa Claus has died because there was a Christmas party in the hotel the night before and the manager who played Santa was killed in the disaster. After all, children have never seen such carnage, so it will take some time for them to overcome this." Ms Lok feels that we should all learn to treasure the people and things around us and the most important things in life are health and happiness. When asked when she will be back at work, she says that she has to nurse her injuries and reclaim all her documents first. As there have been many people asking about her, she wanted to thank everyone through TVB for their concern.


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