Archive | August, 2010

Hungry Little Ghost Festival

31 Aug

Taiwanese singer-host Alien Huang, also known as Little Ghost, will perform here on Saturday
Hungry Little Ghost Festival
August 31, 2010
 
 

IT’S probably fitting that Taiwanese singer-host Alien Huang has so many projects going on during this Hungry Ghost Festival.

MINI-CONCERT: Singer Alien Huang is performing at Dragonfly in St James Power Station on Saturday night.

Fans of the 26-year-old would know that his nickname is actually Little Ghost.

In an interview in Taipei, Huang said: ‘It’s the Hungry Ghost month now, so naturally, it’s time for Little Ghost to shine.

‘I have a new idol drama, an upcoming album and will be holding my first paid gig in Singapore soon.’

On entertainment news programme 100 Per Cent Entertainment, he plays sidekick to fellow host, Mandopop star Show Luo.

His debut pop-rock album Love Hero, released last December, earned rave reviews.

Local fans can see him perform at Dragonfly in St James Power Station on Saturday night.

‘It’ll be a mini-concert and I’ll be singing more than 10 songs over an hour,’ he said.

‘Over the past few weeks, whenever I have a break from filming or hosting, I’d stay at home and force myself to memorise lyrics.

‘I really don’t want to slip up on stage and disappoint all my Singapore supporters.’

The moniker Little Ghost was coined by Taiwanese director Niu Cheng-Tse several years ago, when Niu was directing him on the set of a drama series.

‘Director Niu noticed that I was very playful and had an offbeat sense of humour. I would tell jokes with a deadpan face and make everyone laugh.

‘There’s a Chinese saying – ‘ren xiao gui da’ (referring to mischievous kids with many bright ideas), so he coined the name ‘Xiao Gui’ (Little Ghost) for me.’

Huang said the name stuck.

So, has Little Ghost experienced any spooky, supernatural encounters in real life?

Huang said: ‘I’m not the superstitious sort, but well, there was once when I was sleeping in my room and one of my 4,000 toy figurines and collectibles started acting crazy.

‘It lit up on its own and produced funny noises, it freaked me out then.’

His elderly relatives, who were ‘more versed in dealing with unexplained occurrences’, suggested he ‘cover the figurines’ eyes with cloth’.

Battery problem?

Huang refused and managed to convince himself that the incident was an isolated one.

‘It probably happened due to a battery problem,’ was Huang’s explanation.

Currently single, Huang said getting a girlfriend isn’t easy.

‘As an artiste, it’s even more difficult as I work irregular hours and can’t go on dates as often as other guys do,’ he said.

‘Also, I’m a public figure. If I land myself a girlfriend, it won’t be possible for us to hold hands in the open.

‘It’s hard to find a girl who understands this predicament of mine.’

He doesn’t set very high demands for his partner-to-be though.

‘I don’t believe in fitting people into categories. It doesn’t matter if she is thin or fat, or has long or short hair.

‘As long as she is pleasant-looking, that’s great. More importantly, we need to be able to communicate well.’

This article was translated from the latest issue of U-Weekly. For more news on Asian entertainment, get a copy of U-Weekly, for only $2, out on news-stands today.

 

The NewPaper

A $1.5 Million Show?

31 Aug

A $1.5 million show?
Concert organiser says tickets for Super Junior’s first S’pore concert will not be more than $300
By Kwok Kar Peng
August 31, 2010
 
 

KOREAN boy band Super Junior will hold a concert for the first time in Singapore in January.

PICTURE: SM ENTERTAINMENT

And fans can expect an extravagant show along the likes of Aaron Kwok and Jay Chou as it’s touted to be one of the most expensive concerts to be held here. (See report on facing page.)

Concert organiser Running Into The Sun, an affiliate of Fly Entertainment, told The New Paper it believes the concert production cost will exceed its initial budget of $1.5 million.

Mr Terence Ang, 45, chief marketing officer for Fly Entertainment, said the Super Junior Super Show 3 here will follow the recent one held in Seoul as closely as possible, down to the stage design.

The popular group is known for its hit songs like Sorry, Sorry and Bonamana.

The group currently has 13 members but only 10 will perform at the concert. The other three are currently out of action as one is in national service, one is pursuing an acting career, and one is considering leaving the group.

But despite its high production cost, the concert, which will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Jan 29, will not mean sky-high ticket prices for fans.

Tickets, which will be on sale via Sistic from November, will not exceed $300, said Mr Ang.

A major highlight of the concert is the huge stage, which The New Paper understands will cost more than US$500,000 (S$679,000) to set up.

Mr Mac Chan, 40, project director for the concert, said the stage will have a unique design.

He was in Seoul to view the Super Show 3 on Aug 15.

‘The usual concert stage allows only the audience in front to get close to the performers,’ he said.

‘But with Super Show 3, the stage will have runways leading out to form a circle.’

He added that there will be four standing mosh pits within the circle, a second stage in the centre and three raised platforms.

Mr Chan, who was the lighting director for the last two National Day Parades, said that the huge stage set-up will allow the 10 band members to appear at different locations during the show.

So far yet so close

This means even those seated at the back will be able to get up close and personal with their idols.

Miss Cheryl Han, in her 20s, a publicist for Fly Entertainment, agreed. She was at the Seoul concert too and sat in the upper section.

‘In some concerts, you see only a small shadow of the performer but not with Super Junior. No matter where you sit, the boys come very close to you,’ she said.

‘They even ‘flew’ to (the audience sitting at the back) while wearing wire harnesses and threw confetti at the audience.

‘If you are seated at the right spot, you can probably even touch them if you jump up.’

Miss Han added that the band members also appeared on raised wheeled platforms and were pushed along the aisles to get closer to the fans.

But whether the group will do the same stunts during its Singapore concert depends on whether it will be approved by the authorities here, said Mr Chan.

While the production team wants the stage in Singapore to be exactly the same as the one in Seoul, they have met with an obstacle.

The Singapore Indoor Stadium is rectangular while the Seoul concert venue is a perfect circle.

The former is also slightly smaller.

Mr Chan added: ‘The Korean venue allowed the concert organisers to remove some of the seats to create the stage extensions, but we are not sure yet if this is possible with the Singapore Indoor Stadium.’

Super Junior supporter Miss Nor Hidayah Mohd Idris, 23, an editorial assistant, told The New Paper that she’s very excited about the impending concert.

A fan for slightly more than a year, Miss Nor Hidayah has even travelled to Kuala Lumpur to watch the group’s Super Show 2 in March. She spent about $500 in total.

When she was in Korea for a holiday in May, she made a trip to a radio station in Seoul to watch two Super Junior members record their radio show.

She also went to the group’s music showcase here in June.

For the concert in January, she said she’s willing to pay up to $250 for a ticket.

‘I went on fan forums and blogs to view photos taken at the Super Show 3 (in Korea),’ she said.

‘It seems fun because it’s interactive. The large stage is very good because they can interact with fans seated in different areas.

‘But it also means that the members will be scattered and you won’t get to see some members as often than if the stage is smaller.’

Superstars, super expensive

FORKING out at least $1.5 million to stage the Super Junior concert here seems like a huge risk.

Especially since concert organiser Running Into The Sun is a new kid on the block. The company, which has its beginnings as a special projects unit in Irene Ang’s Fly Entertainment, was formed officially in July last year .

But Fly’s chief marketing officer Terence Ang said they wanted to show that the company was able to handle a big-scale concert.

He added: ‘There were initial concerns about the cost. But after we did the Super Junior showcase in June, we knew what kind of fans the group has and we are assured that we can bring in the concert.’

The Super Junior Galaxy Showcase, presented by Samsung and SingTel in June, gave away tickets with every purchase of a mobile phone. All 2,000 tickets were snapped up within hours, Mr Ang said.

He added that ticket-holders also queued 37 hours at the showcase venue so they could get the best spot at the free-standing event.

This is not the first concert organised by Running Into The Sun. It had previously organised the Swing Out Sister concert at East Coast Park last December, attended by about 1,000 people.

And as the special project unit in Fly, it had also organised shows such as the annual Vlee Conference, a stand-up comedy show which has been running since 2007.

Mr Ang said the Super Show 3 has already attracted more than five ‘big sponsors’, including a telecommunications company, a beverage company and a bank.

The $1.5 million bill does not include accommodation and food for the Korean entourage of 80, made up of artistes, dancers, designers, engineers, production crew, administrative staff, producers and security.

The hefty price tag has put Super Junior in the same league as big names like Hong Kong’s Aaron Kwok, Taiwan’s Jay Chou, Korea’s Rain and British band Muse.

Director of Scorpio East Productions Adeline Low, in her late 30s, told The New Paper that Chou’s recent The Era 2010 World Tour in July had cost more than $2 million.

The sum included concert production costs, advertising and promotions, air tickets, accommodation and food.

Aaron Kwok’s De Show Reel concert in May last year cost more than $1 million, she added.

Scorpio East Productions had organised both concerts.

When Rain came

Another concert that chalked up a bill of $2million was Rain’s Coming World Tour brought here by Unusual Entertainment in January 2007. Ms Koh San Chin, 32, marketing manager of Unusual Entertainment, said it was one of the most expensive concerts the company has organised.

She added: ‘It was mainly because production costs were high. There were six cargo containers of props, lots of pyrotechnics and special effects.

‘For example, it ‘rained’ for the first time in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and there was a conveyor belt.

‘There was also a 110-member crew who all stayed in the same six-star hotel.’

The founder of LAMC Productions Lauretta Alabons, who declined to reveal her age, told us that the Muse concert which her company had organised in February this year had cost more than $1.5 million.

But she declined to reveal more details.
 

The NewPaper

$60,000 Spent On Jet-Setting Son, 3

31 Aug

Star Bucks
$60,000 spent on jet-setting son, 3
Big spender or penny-pincher? Stars speak their mind on money matters
By Kwok Kar Peng
August 31, 2010
 
 

WHILE most children here can only fantasise about having their own tree houses, young Sol Richmond has one right in his living room.
FAMILY COMES FIRST: Beatrice Chia-Richmond (with husband Mark Richmond and son Sol) doesn’t mind spending money to expand her son’s mind.
TNP PICTURE: GAVIN FOO

The structure, made of real wood, stretches from floor to ceiling and is 4m wide. His mother, Beatrice Chia-Richmond, creative director of concert promoter Running Into The Sun (RITS), laughingly calls it extreme parenting. The family lives in a semi detached house in the east.

The 36-year-old, who’s married to former TV presenterMark Richmond, told The New Paper that she spent $4,000 on the tree house when Sol was only nine months old.

The boy is now three and still enjoys playing hide-and-seek there.He is the couple’s only child. Chia-Richmond added: “I love him and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him.

“I want him to have different experiences because I believe exposure and experiences are important to a child.

“The last thing I want is for him to be narrow-minded and unexposed.”

She admitted that she and her husband enjoy splurgingon their little one.

Chia-Richmond said she gets Sol whatever he wants, whether it’s clothes or toys. She said her husband buys toys for the boy “in a big way too”.
TNP FILE PICTURE

“Sol has around 100 toy cars and 20 toy aeroplanes of different models, sizes and colours, lots of books, musical instruments and other toys,” said Chia-Richmond.

“I don’t set myself a budget when it comes to him.

Of course, I wouldn’t spend a thousand dollars on a pair of shoes for him because he will outgrow them.”

She said she puts more emphasis on the quality of his clothes. Each piece of clothing costs $40 to $100.

Travel

Another of her indulgences is taking her son overseas.

“I’ve taken him travelling with me since he was four months old because I can’t bear to be without him,” she said.

“We’ve been to places like the US, Australia, Spain, Paris, London and Hong Kong.

“I looked at his passport once and laughed.He could be the most well-travelled three-year-old.”

At one point, Chia-Richmond added, the boy would be in Singapore for a week before flying off again.

She estimates his trips at 10 a year, and spends around $2,000 each time on just the boy’s travel expenses.

One reason is that they travel only on Singapore Airlines (“He needs his personal TV set on the plane.”) and the boy has to pay the full fare for his own seat.

This means that Sol’s three years of jet-setting have set the couple back by $60,000.

The couple take turns to pay the travel costs, she said.

She added that she brings home a five-figure sum each month through her work in RITS , hosting corporate events and as an artistic director with theatre company Toy Factory.

She is currently directing the stand-up comedy show, The Vlee Conference, which will be held at Zirca The Cannery from Sept 1.

Chia-Richmond considers the money well-spent, and doesn’t think she is spoiling her child.

“I don’t qualify things in terms of money…You cannot put a price on life experiences,” she explained.

“I want him to be versatile and know that there’s a world beyond him, his school and playground.”

But she added that the best gift to a child is still time, and admitted that she turns down at least one job every month to spend more time with him.
 

The NewPaper

MEMEY – NORMAN Bertunang Raya Keempat

30 Aug

Ditulis oleh Nonie
  
  

Akhirnya pasangan merpati sejoli ini sepakat mengikat percintaan mereka kepada ikatan pertunangan. Berita gembira ini diakui sendiri oleh Memey ketika ditemui pada majlis berbuka puasa Skop Production.

“Memey dan abang Norman sepakat bertunang pada raya keempat (13 September) nanti di Kota Tinggi Johor.

“Keputusan ini dibuat last minute. Abang Norman ajak Memey bertunang beberapa hari lepas dan mungkin tak sampai setahun kami ikat.

“Mungkin awal tahun depan hari bahagia itu bakal menjelang. Semuanya bergantung pada perbincangan antara keluarga kami nanti.

“Sekarang Memey terkejar-kejar nak siapkan hantaran dan fokuskan kepada majlis itu nanti. Insyaallah Memey sudah bersedia bergelar isteri dan ibu kepada anak-anaknya,” ujar Memey tidak pasti sama ada anak-anak Norman bakal turut serta pada majlis bermakna itu nanti.

Ini bermakna Memey dan Norman Hakim bakal beraya sebagai tunangan orang pada Raya Aidilfitri ini. Dengar kata baju raya pun sudah ditempah sedondon berwarna merah.

Apa-apa pun ManggaOnline ucapkan semoga berbahagia dan selamat bertunang.

Mangga Online

Queens Of The Beauty Regime

30 Aug

Queens of the beauty regime
The New Paper New Face finalists learn how to put their best faces forward
By Kenneth Goh
August 30, 2010
 
 

MOST girls would avoid fast food and chocolate when it comes to keeping their skin radiant for a modelling competition.

But not this New Paper New Face finalist, Eliza Tan, 19.

The media studies and management student from Nanyang Polytechnic does not believe in shunning french fries. She also enjoys a chocolate bar every day.

Her skincare routine is also fuss-free.

Said Eliza: ‘I wash my face with facial foam once a day. If there is a pimple breakout, I will apply pimple cream.’

She is one of The New Paper New Face 2010 finalists, who attended a skincare workshop earlier this month, conducted by Clinelle’s consulting skincare specialist, Ms Jasmine Tham.

The two-hour workshop consisted of determining the girls’ skin types, followed by a hands-on session of cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising their skins.

Beauty nap

The girls also had time for a 10-minute power nap while letting their facial masks set.

Eliza discovered the importance of keeping her skin hydrated to achieve a healthy glow. She plans to get a moisturiser after attending the workshop.

But the Nanyang Polytechnic student admitted to a bad habit: squeezing her zits.

‘I find it annoying and gross to leave them alone, so I have the itch to remove them,’ she said.

Another finalist with pimple woes was fashion design student Noor Kamilah, 20.

The NAFA student suffered a severe case of acne in secondary school. The cream she used left her skin dry and peeling.

‘I wash my face three times a day and apply a blemish cream that hides dark pigmentation before I sleep,’ she said.

Her biggest enemy: finding more time for facials during her hectic school schedule.

‘I would love to sit down and take an hour to try out all the facial products used today,’ she said.

Proving to be luckier in the skin department is CHIJ (Toa Payoh) student, Petrina Ann, 17.

She didn’t have to grapple with breakouts, but that did not mean that she took her good skin for granted.

Said Petrina: ‘I wash and moisturise my face five times a day, which includes recess time and before I leave school. I also scrub my skin three times a week.’

She credits her mother for inculcating good skincare habits.

‘My mum would spend hours shopping for skincare products and she would compare the ingredients used in different products and share them with me,’ she said. ‘Somehow, I subconsciously followed her lead.’

Petrina, too, managed to pick up some tips from the workshop.

‘I used to apply toner around the areas near my eyes. Now, I know that it is bad for the sensitive skin there,’ she said.

For behind-the-scene exclusives, visit http://www.tnp.sg to go to The New Paper New Face 2010 official website.

Also look out for the finalists on the New Face 2010 Facebook page or on Twitter (#newface2010).

If you’re serious about skin…

CLINELLE products ease skin conditions such as acne, pigmentation and premature ageing. The skincare products are free of artificial fragrance, colouring and skin-damaging irritants.

It’s all about keeping the skin happy.

Clinelle is one of the sponsors of The New Paper New Face 2010 and will be giving out a subsidiary title called Miss Clinelle Happy Face.

So what are they looking for?

The winner of the title should have a fresh-looking and healthy face. And because beauty is more than skin-deep, she should have a pleasant and vibrant personality to match her radiant skin.

The winner will be revealed at The New Paper New Face 2010 finals on Oct 7 at Takashimaya Square.

 

The NewPaper

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

30 Aug

2 Wheels Good
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Exchange of letters between a cyclist and motorist sparks debate on how much of road space two-wheelers should take up
By Danson Cheong
August 30, 2010
 
 

JUST how close to the edge are cyclists supposed to go?

The edge of the road, that is.

Most drivers here think cyclists ought to stick as close to the kerb as possible so they don’t obstruct traffic.

But the argument from the two-wheeled camp is that occupying more of the lane would make cyclists safer and more visible.

This debate was ignited following two letters sent to The Straits Times forum pages last week.

Wire journalist Damian Evan, 30, was cycling to work along Havelock Road when a motorist sounded his horn at him.

Irritated, Mr Evan shook his fist at the driver before he ‘failed to stop for the traffic lights’, claiming his anger got the better of him.

Mr Evan subsequently wrote a letter of apology to The Straits Times forum.

The driver, Mr Chris Gan, 37, responded with a letter of his own – claiming Mr Evans was ‘riding in the middle of the left lane’ and ‘obstructing traffic and endangering himself amid passing vehicles’.

He sounded the horn as an act of concern, he said, and to ‘remind him to stay closer to the kerb near the double yellow lines’.

Mr Gan asked: ‘Are there traffic rules for cyclists? Shouldn’t they be cycling on the left lane near the double yellow lines?’

With an increasing number of cyclists taking to the roads here, more of such incidents are bound to take place.

The question now is, how close to the edge are cyclists supposed to be?

Vague law

The law is vague on the issue.

According to the Road Traffic (Bicycles) Rules, ‘every bicycle shall be ridden close to the left hand edge of the roadway and in such a manner as not to obstruct vehicles moving at a faster speed’.

It is silent on how close and in what manner cyclists have to ride.

Mr Evan, who has been cycling here for about nine years, reckons cyclists should not hug the kerb and cycle about 60cm (or an arm’s length) away from it.

‘It’s just much safer,’ he explained.

Other cyclists and cycling safety advocates shared his sentiments.

Mr Steven Lim, 43, president of the Safe Cycling Task Force, advised riders to cycle just outside the double-yellow lines.

He explained: ‘By doing this, you would have about 11/2 feet (about 50cm) of space between you and the kerb.

‘The most important thing is now you have some space to take evasive action in case of emergencies.’

He pointed out that if drivers try to overtake too closely, the extra space might be all that separates staying upright and lying face first on the ground.

Ms Joyce Leong, 54, founder of cycling club JoyRiders, agreed: ‘Cycling about an arm’s length into the lane would also make cyclists more visible, especially if you’re riding alone.’

Additionally, the kerb is widely acknowledged by cyclists as a veritable obstacle course.

‘There are all sorts of debris – broken glass, garbage, puddles, potholes and drain gutters – that you have to avoid,’ said Mr Benoit Valin, who commutes to work every day.

The 32-year-old scientist added: ‘Often the gutter is two to three inches (5 to 8cm) deeper than the asphalt. If you cycle too close, you would fall in and lose your balance.’

While all these cyclists are against kerb-hugging, many drivers are quick to point out that cyclists who do not ride on the yellow lines are often ‘road-hogging’.

One driver, Mr Ng Kok Leong, 49, a civil servant, even went so far as to say ‘even if cyclists keep close to the kerb, they’ll still be an obstruction’.

He added: ‘Drivers will still have to slow down to overtake them.’

Another driver, Ms Sarah Auyong, 19, an undergraduate, agreed.

She said: ‘Cyclists can be a hindrance and an obstruction especially during heavy traffic, when it might be difficult or dangerous for drivers to pass them. They should stick closer to the kerb.’

Some cyclists also felt cycling in the middle of the lane can be challenging, especially for newer riders.

Business consultant Ted Chan, 40, said: ‘Cycling in the middle of the lane takes a lot of guts.

For inexperienced riders, it can be very difficult. Especially in heavy traffic when drivers might be impatient.’

But Mr Valin points out that motorists should spare a thought for cyclists.

He asked: ‘A cyclist might be in your way, but that is no reason to try and overtake him dangerously.

Highway Code

Motorists should also realise that they are required to give at least 1.5m of space when passing cyclists, a rule spelt out in the Highway Code – but one which is rarely practiced in reality.

Mr Lim said: ‘This makes the space between you and the kerb even more vital. It’s a life-saver.’ The trio put the bad behaviour by drivers down to an incorrect mindset.

Said Mr Lim: ‘Many people don’t realise that bicycles are mandated by law to be on the road.’ Currently, under Rule 28 of the Road Traffic Rules, cycling on footways is prohibited (with the exception of Tampines, Singapore’s only cycling town).

Added Ms Leong: ‘Drivers should really hop on a bike and ride on the roads. Perhaps once they discover how dangerous it is, they’ll be more tolerant.

STAY SAVVY ON THE ROAD

NARROW ROAD

Keep to a single file when cycling on narrow, one-lane carriageways like Neo Tiew Road.

Ms Leong said: ‘This gives cars coming from behind some space to pass.’

WIDE ROAD

On wide roads and when cycling in a big group, it’s much safer for the group to cycle two abreast.

Mr Lim explained: ‘Cycling two abreast allows a big group to be more compact. It’s safer since the group will take less time to cross junctions.’

Ms Leong added: ‘Most of our group rides are quite big. By cycling two abreast, cars treat us like one long vehicle. When they try to overtake us, it’s much safer.’

DRAINS & GUTTERS

Dangerous especially if riding on road bicycles with thin tyres – which can get caught inside the drain covers.

DEBRIS & GARBAGE

Small, sharp objects like broken glass are often swept to the side of the road.

DEEP POTHOLES

Deep potholes near the kerb could cause riders to lose balance and fall.

TURNING RIGHT WIDE

When turning right, cyclists should ensure the coast is clear before filtering right.

Mr Lim said: ‘You should filter like a motorcyclist, but do so safely.

‘I recommend using the pedestrian crossings only to turn right if the rider is not confident enough. Especially when you’re tired and slow, using the pedestrian crossings in such instances is much safer.’

 

The NewPaper

No Medals, Just Useful Lessons From YOG

30 Aug

2 Wheels Good
No medals, just useful lessons from YOG
August 30, 2010
 
 

OUR Youth Olympic Games cycling boys did not win any medals and, with a placing of 29 out of 32 countries, they did not attain the result they hoped for.

But the YOG has taught the impressionable young riders enduring life lessons.

Alvin Phoon, 17, said: ‘It was disappointing for us, but you learn to accept it and move on.

‘I expected us to do better but we suffered quite a few unfortunate crashes. Stuff like crashes you can’t prevent, you just have to try and do your best.’

Recounting his experience in the road race, Alvin said he crashed early in the race. He and his teammates, Travis Woodford, 18, and Daniel Koh, 17, got held up as a result, and were further held up by a second crash involving other riders.

‘We then tried to catch the group but by then it was too late. Crashing is part and parcel of racing,’ he added.

Moving on, Alvin, who is studying at Mayflower Secondary School, has high hopes for the SEA games next year.

He said: ‘Competing in the YOG has shown me where I stand internationally. I think I’m halfway there. I’ll be ready next year.’

 

The NewPaper