Sunday, February 06, 2005

[Ta Kung Pao 06/02/05]

Bondy Chiu and Joyce Chen were at a New Year Foods promotion in a shopping mall yesterday and were joined by a geomancy expert to give some horoscope readings as well as Brianna Chan (Ling Li) as MC. Joyce's horoscope predicted romance in the air for the coming year and she responded happily: "I hope this will come true, but the most important thing is peace and health."

When asked if she could feel the love channelling through, Joyce laughs: "It has always been there, but it has always ended quite soon because we felt we were not right after getting to know each other." In the middle of this month, she will be going to Singapore with Mimi Chu and Johnny Ngan to do a show and she will be taking her mother with her on the trip. If she has time next week, she also plans to take her mother to Thailand. Suddenly playing the filial daughter, Joyce explains that in the past she has not had much time to spend with her mum, so now she has grown up, then she hopes to spend more time with her family. Is her mother afraid of getting in the way of her dating? "She has said this and even tried to introduce men to me, but I told her that I am not unwanted, just that I haven't found the right person yet." She says that love is for life, so she will choose carefully.

Already the mother of two sons, Brianna would like to have a daughter, laughing that she has some slimming sponsors anyway. She will be heading up to Beijing to visit her husband Lam Man Chung with her eldest son Lincoln, laughing she will take the opportunity to 'molest' her husband. She says that in the next couple of years, they will be flying around a lot because Ah Chung will be working mainly in Beijing. Is she worried her husband will have an affair? She says confidently: "Although we have been together for eight years, our relationship is still very strong. Maybe absence makes the heart grow stronger and Ah Chung trembles when he tells lies, so I am not worried about him at all. He is more worried about me!"

Bondy will be heading out to America on Lunar New Year's day for a show before staying on for a week to take in the sights. As her boyfriend will be accompanying her on the trip, they plan to have a very romantic Valentines Day together and he may even propose to her. She smiles: "As long as we are together, then that is all that matters. I haven't really thought about getting married because I am still enjoying receiving lucky packets! (Do you have plans for marriage?) I am not telling you, I am in no rush, so why are you rushing?"

As she has to prepare for her America trip, Bondy will not be going to the New Year flower markets, saying that this makes her unhappy: "Although I will not be in Hong Kong throughout the new year period, I still wanted to decorate my home. At the moment, I have only bought some sweets." Usually it is not convenient for artistes to visit the markets, but Bondy has always loved going there and remembers that when she was a singer, she had to be surrounded by seven colleagues from the record company when she went, but her bag still went missing, together with her brand new $6000 phone. After this, she will only take a small bag with her to the markets to be on the safe side.


[Ta Kung Pao 06/02/05]

Cerina Da Graca, Sam Chan, Angela Tong, Ellesmere Choy, Jo Jo Shum and Eddie Lee took part in a Valentines Day show promotion yesterday, where they demonstrated some of the games in the pairs competition such as eating a biscuit stick from both ends at once and Angela teamed up with a kid from the audience won.

Having previously been rumoured to have been dating, Cerina and Sam seemed a little awkward at first, but when the press asked them for a photograph together, they finally agreed to it. When it was mentioned about Sam's romance with Fiona Yuen's sister Lina, Cerina was asked if she had congratulated him. She says she has not, but if it is true, then she will congratulate him. She does not yet have a new love because she feels that this should be allowed to develop naturally, but she has always been rather late in spotting potential romances and if the other person does not make it clear, then she will not notice. On the other hand, if the other party is too direct, then she will be frightened, so she does not know if anyone is interested in her. Having grown up abroad, Cerina has been very forward in asking a guy on a date, but unfortunately was turned down.

MC Vinci Wong will be holding a second hand clothes charity sale at the end of April to raise money for the Tung Wah Hospitals. He will also consider donating some of the funds to the South Asian Disaster Victims. Vincie says that usually many of his friends, such as Sandra Ng, Remus Choi and Karen Mok will take their clothes donations to his home, so he has built quite a collection. As he will be moving to a smaller home later, this will most likely be the last sale that he will hold. At the moment he is worried about selling fake designer goods without knowing it.

Angela was really happy whilst playing games with the kids and she says that the children nowadays are really smart and are not shy at all even when playing games in public events. She feels that they are not as simple as they seem!


[Ta Kung Pao Commentary by Chui Hiu - 06/02/05]

TVB's "The Cruellest Bell" has been a hit, but this can be expected.

With the local music industry going through difficult times all the kings and queens of pop from days gone by (Andy Lau excepted) have all faded away and the new generation of pop singers are meeting many challenges, some sporting a good appearance but no talents and others revealing a less than positive side to their private lives. This makes it hard for them to find success. The shelf life of the "New Heavenly Kings" and new songs has been shortened and there is the continual threat from piracy and downloading from the internet that paints a murky picture for the future of music industry in Hong Kong.

Talent however still emerges from the masses. Karaoke has become a part of people's daily lives and after much practice, the hardened amateurs are not far off the standards of the professionals. When it comes to pitch, rhythm and pronunciation, there are plenty who are miles better than some of the young singers being promoted, so there seems to be a new breed of 'amateur professional' emerging, who are even giving performances to their audiences.

William Hung's overnight rise to fame has given the hope for these people that there is an opportunity for 'Joe Public' to find fame and this has stirred the Chinese community greatly. There may have been laughs and jeers when he first arrived in Hong Kong and was offered advertisements, movies and promotional events, but without a doubt, William has become a hero in the 'commoners' singing community.

With the release of "The Cruellest Bell", this rides on this trend and ties in nicely with the current turn in the economics of Hong Kong. With the focus on raw talent, strong will and determination and attracted by the offer of prize money and recognition, it is bound to win the support of the masses. Moreoever, the entertainment value of some of the 'weirder' contestants is fantastic, but this will be balanced by some singers with real talent, showing us the potential of our 'Crouching Tigers and Hidden Dragons'.

A suggestion for TVB would be in addition to the professional judges and singer guests on the panel, they should also invite other celebrities and academics to join the judges to balance the standards of the criticisms as well as put more weight behind the contest.


[Ta Kung Pao Commentary by Chow Yan - 06/02/05]

The Miss Chinese International Pageant 2005 was held last week and with the reaction was the public was outrage that Hong Kong representative Kate Tsui did not make the top three, with the top spot being taken by Vancouver's Leanne Li. Kate had been among the favourites from the start and she was brimming with confidence, but leaving without a top award can only be put down to her being unlucky on the night. Maybe her slimming regime before the show had put undue pressure on her and this had affected the standard of her performance at the final show.

Miss Chinese International has been held for 17 years now and the Hong Kong representative has always fallen to the winner of the Miss Hong Kong contest, with many taking a second crown in first or second place. For Kate to break this tradition is already unusual, but she has great talent for performance and losing out at MCI has in no way impacted her future celebrity status.

Kate is articulate, photogenic and highly reactive and her latest skincare advertisement has generated a good public response. The star quality she possesses is the truth. Her chances to shine far outweigh those of her predecessor Mandy Cho and she has the determination and confidence to make strides in the entertainment industry.

The designs of the swimsuits in this year's pageant have been a bone of contention as the questions arise whether they are sexy and flattering or stepping into obscenity. In the earlier Miss Hong Kong pageant, it was obvious that TVB was testing the boundaries of decency and as beauty contests become more and more commercialised, then the use of sexiness to attract the ratings cannot be denied. However, the criteria for beauty is not based purely on the contestants figures or appearances and the themes introduced each year can play a big part, if they are well adhered to.

All in all, the quality of the contestant and how they are packaged directly affects the viewability of the show and in selecting which road to take, then there are different aspects. To maintain the brand without dropping decency, this is the way to keep the reputation of an established instution and win the support of the viewers, this is the truth.


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