Friday, January 07, 2005

[Oriental Daily, Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 08/01/05]

The South Asia Earthquake and Tsunami has taken the lives of over 100,000 people and destroyed the homes and lives of much more in the space of one day. In the aftermath of the disaster, the victims are now faced with shortages of food and fresh water and also the threat of disease that strikes at the hearts of everyone else around the world. Over a hundred stars and celebrities from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan joined together in solidarity yesterday at Hong Kong Stadium for the "Crossing Borders Fundraising Show" in a marathon performance, urging the public to donate to the plight of the victims and help them rebuild their homes and futures. The show was also aired to 40 stations around the world and spreading a little warmth to the people affected.

The audience began entering the venue at around 4pm and the show started at 7pm. Led by Eric Tsang, a minutes silence was held in memory of those who died before stars that included Jacky Cheung, Andy Lau, A-mei Chang, Coco Lee, Sun Nan and Han Hong joined their colleagues from across the three places to sing the show's theme song "Love". The show was then hosted by Zhang Xiaoyan, Wu Xiaoli, Jacky Wu, Li Xiang, Carol Cheng, Eric Tsang, Sandra Ng and Cheng Dan Shui.

At first the audience numbers were not too high and apart from Leon Lai, Gigi Leung and Cecilia Cheung, the performers were mainly newcomers. Gigi sung the song "Most Beautiful" and said that she does not want to sing this any more because she always sings it on sad occasions, like the Eastern China floods appeal last time. She also revealed that her friends at Unicef had raised a lot of money for the appeal, but they needed some help in counting all the proceeds, so she and a friend volunteered their services.

Eric was pleased with the turnout, saying that by 7pm, they had already raised over $10 million, which was quite an achievement. When asked if there would be any mystery guests, Eric said: "If they are mystery guests, then they have to be kept a mystery, so who knows? (Is it Paula Tsui?) If it was Paula, then that would be quite a mystery!" As for the rumours that they had invited Michael Jackson to the event, Eric laughs: "I only know a Chinese friend of his, I don't think the situation is serious enough to be able to invite him!"

Eric also indicated that Jackie Chan has had to return to the states to work, so he could not offer his support in person: "Jackie called me and says that the foreign press are very interested in this event, proving that even people abroad are very eager to help the Hong Kong artistes in this cause." Eric also says that Cherie Chung who has flown out to Sri Lanka has still not returned yet as she has decided to stay and help as a volunteer. When asked if the show would be distributed on DvD or VCD to raise even more money, Eric closed the subject saying: "Because we agreed with Michael Jackson that the title song 'Love' (Chinese cover of Jackson's 'We are the World') would not be published and would only be used for non-profit uses, so those available on the market are definitely pirates."

Andy Lau led the stars to join hands and shouted the words: "They drown, I drown", saying he never understood the meaning of this phrase until today: "It means that when you see other people drowning, then you will feel like you are drowning too." To this, Eric joked: "I thought that you meant that if they take the money, you will take it too!" [The Cantonese for 'drown' (lik) sounds like the word for 'take'.]

Having personally witnessed the destruction of the Tsunami in the Maldives, Jet Li attended the event to tell of his experiences, still bearing the mental scars of what he had seen. On holiday with his wife and daughters, Jet recalls that when the first wave hit the shore, he could just remember the wave continuing to curl itself over the shores and the water level quickly rose from his ankles to his waist height. He immediately picked up his daughters and ran, but when the water reached his chin, he could only hold on and face the second wave head on. At this point, the hotel workers were handing out life jackets, water and chocolate as Jet describes this as like a scene from a movie.

Throughout his ordeal, Jet did not know what had happened to his wife Nina Li and it turned out that she was in the hotel room that had been cut off by flood water. She was later rescued by hotel staff in a boat. When asked if he was worried about her, he says that they had their fair share of fear, but his wife knew that his daughters would be fine if they were with him. As for his injuries, he explained that they were caused by the chairs swept up by the waves.

Jacky Cheung and Shirley Kwan presented the songs "Best Wishes" and "This is Love" dedicated to the survivors, whilst Dicky Cheung, Cecilia Cheung, Jaycee Chan and Chapman To each told of what they had seen when they flew out to see the devastation for themselves. Jaycee handed over a cheque on behalf of his father Jackie Chan for a further $1 million donation. Jaycee said that when he arrived in Phuket, he heard the news of another 1600 deaths and with a sad story behind each of them, it was incredibly hard to bear. He also encouraged all the fortunate people watching the show to dig deep into their hearts and donate more money.

As for reports that the artistes had used the funds raised to pay for their trips to the affected areas, the Performing Artistes Guild Deputy President Ho Kam Wah responded: "The trips made by the artistes were paid for by Jackie Chan and some sponsors separately, so none of the funds raised have gone towards this purpose."


[Ta Kung Pao 08/01/05]

TVB's "Jade Solid Gold Music Awards 2004" will be held tonight at the Hong Kong Coliseum and a special blessing ceremony was held yesterday. As many of the stars were rushing to attend the Tsunami fundraising event, it was a rather hectic day for them all. The MC's for this year's show will be Cheng Dan Shui, Denise Ho and Ronald Cheng and among the presentation guests will be the "Olympic Duo" Ko Lai Chak and Lee Ching, Vivian Chow and Felix Wong. In memory of the late lyricist genius James Wong, the show has invited Francis Yip and the Wynners to perform some of James' classics.

With the main focus of the event being on who will take the "Most Popular Male Singer Award", Andy Lau, Hacken Lee and Leo Ku are still the top three in the running and Andy says that he is confident in winning but is not too nervous because since 2000, it has been four years since he has won it and no matter if he wins or not tonight, he will still be able to accept it.

When asked if he is confident in becoming the most popular male singer in the Asia Pacific as well as Hong Kong, Andy says with excitement that if this is the case then it would be even better. However, he says that he would rather pass on his good luck to the victims of the Tsunami disaster in the hope that they can rebuild their homeland. As for the rumours that Leo Ku is using the production rights to his concert as an incentive for TVB to give him the award, Andy says that he does not believe this and TVB is not so shady, with their own operating procedures that he has faith in. Having just completed his own concert run recently and unlikely to hold another one for a few years, Andy says he believes that he will have a chance to work with TVB on a concert.

When Leo was asked about this suggested deal, Leo said candidly that he has put a lot of hard work and commitment into his work this year and everyone can see this, so he will not enter into any such deals. As for whether his concert will be produced by TVB next year, he says he is not sure as yet.

Leon announced a long time ago that he would not be competing for the awards, but he will still be present at the JSG awards ceremony because there is a new section where he will be singing some classic songs to raise funds for the Community Chest. Leon will be heading out to Beijing on the 9th to take part in a local charity show before attending the film festival. When asked about his former rumoured girlfriend Day Wong's reports that she will be marrying Li Yapeng in April, Leon refused to comment, saying: "I don't care. Don't ask me, it is not me getting married." When asked when he would be getting married, Leon laughed and said when he needs to, then he will get married.

There have been rumours that some of the stars have donated some of their personal effects directly to help the victims of the disaster and Edmond Leung was reported by Andy Hui to have donated a crutch. However, Edmond denies this, saying that a crutch would probably be more useful to a pensioner than to a victim of the tsunamis. He says that the appeal is not a joke and donating a crutch is not an auspicious gesture. Edmond says that he will not be angry at Andy for suggesting this and he will be donating a diamond necklace worth $130,000 for the charity auction in the hope of raising more money. Andy explained himself, saying that he was in a rush when he called Edmond that day and caused a misunderstanding, but this is not important because they are all doing their part.


[Oriental Daily & The Sun 08/01/05]

Contestants for this year's Miss Chinese International Pageant have begun arriving in Hong Kong and over ten of them arrived yesterday, but the standards seemed rather ordinary. Although the contest will not take part until the end of the month, the contestants were already playing up to the cameras as they arrived at the airport.

Among them, 19 year old Thailand representative 'Sau Yi Fong' was originally wearing a long sleeved jacket, but when she saw the press photographing her, she immediately removed the top, revealing her little top inside and more than a enough flesh for the cameras. Despite wearing a rather sexy top, she said that she did not feel that she was particularly sexy as it depends on which angle you look at her from. When asked if she often wears a bikini back home in Thailand, she says: "I like watersports and activities, but I do not often wear a bikini." As Thailand is one of the countries affected by the Tsunami disaster, Yi Fong indicated that she lives in Northern Thailand and was not affected, but she is still worried about the situation.

Janet from Auckland was wearing a very tight fitting top and when she sat down, she revealed some blue lacy knickers that were quite alluring. Wai Ling from Sydney's bra showed through the thin material of her top. Among the most eyecatching so far of the contestants was Joyce from Amsterdam, who despite not wearing very much make up resembled top model Ana R.


[Oriental Daily & The Sun 08/01/05]

A group of male and female leading stars from TVB including Roger Kwok, Bowie Lam, Jessica Hsuan, Flora Chan and Nancy Sit represented the company as they arrived in Malaysia to attend an awards ceremony, where in the top ten "My Favourite TV Characters", TVB took five as well as Roger's Male Lead Award.

Roger and Jessica's characters from the popular show "Square Pegs" also took two of the awards for the "My Favourite TV Characters", winning international acclaim for the show that brought Roger the TVB Male Lead anniversary award in 2003 making them very happy indeed. Roger and Jessica will be pairing up again at the end of March to film the modern version of "Square Pegs" and in order to recreate the cute 'Ah Wong' character once more, Roger will be piling on the pounds again for a rounder look.

As for the recent slump in TVB ratings, Roger is confident he can help to rescue them with the new show, but for a series to do well, it has to keep up with the trends and have a good quality of its own. Just like the film "Kung Fu Hustle", it has managed to do well in a stagnant film market, proving it is a quality production.

As Roger's other girlfriend from "Square Pegs" Winnie Yeung is currently pregnant and it is unknown whether or not she will be taking part in the new show, Roger and Jessica both laugh taht they can show the birth live! When asked if Roger has considered asking his real life girlfriend Cindy Au to take part, he laughs: "I'd better not, it is better if she stays at home and learns to cook!" - it would appear that Roger would like her to be his personal chef.

Although Jessica was heading out rather early in the morning, her fans were there to show their support and when they heard the press asking whether or not she would be marrying her boyfriend in her break, there was a little bit of a frenzy that made Jessica laugh. She says that she is busy fixing up her house and her parents will be visiting for the new year, so she does not have time to get married. She did want to go diving, but after the tsunami, her plans were scrapped.

Flora Chan has also won an award for her role in "Triumph in the Skies" and also taken the "Classic Scene Award" for her chasing scene in the streets of Rome with Francis Ng. Flora says she really liked this show and later she will be working with Francis again, joining Dayo Wong in Guangxi for a mainland series. She says that this time Dayo will not be in a comedy role and will be playing a serious part.


[Oriental Daily 08/01/05]

Gigi Lai and Yoyo Mung were in TKO TVB City filming for new series "Powder and Rouge" yesterday and they were often chatting with each other, seeming very close. It turns out that Yoyo is quite envious that despite working late into the night for filming, Gigi is still able to keep her skin so white and smooth, so she was asking for some skincare tips.

Gigi reveals that she has only one routine with her skin and that is to keep herself out of the sunlight. She says: "Even if I eat Donggui I will have a nosebleed, so I rarely use any herbal remedies. The most important thing is to avoid being in the sun for too long, so even at dusk I will have the umbrella up because there are still UV rays at that time." Gigi will be filming this series until April, with only a couple of days rest for the Chinese New Year. However, she plans to use her days off to shoot an ad and not take any rest at all. She smiles: "Working over the new year, then the best thing would be if I get double pay!"

Yoyo was playing on a brand new handheld games console PSP in between shoots and she says that this was a present from a friend and in Japan they are sold out, with units in Hong Kong being pushed up to over $3000 each. In the past, she would take a book to read whilst working, but she found that she would become too emotional with the stories and this would affect her mood for acting, so she has changed to playing games to pass the time instead.


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