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Girls Just Cannot Have Fun

1 Aug

SINGAPORE : Gosh, it must really suck to be a girl. You people just can’t do anything, can you?

Last weekend, Transformers star Shia LaBeouf got into an early morning car crash, after reportedly doing whiskey shots at a bar and, as Us magazine quoted a source, “dancing around and acting really crazy”.

At about 3am, his pickup truck collided with another vehicle, flipping the actor’s truck. He was arrested because, according to a statement from the police, it was immediately apparent to officers at the scene that LaBeouf was intoxicated. He was then released for misdemeanour DUI (driving under the influence).

The 22-year-old is now recovering from hand surgery and is expected to miss a whole month of work on the “Transformers” sequel. And the only shocking thing about this? The fact that no one batted an eye.

When Paris Hilton was arrested on her DUI charge, there was plenty of public outrage. When Lindsay Lohan was arrested (twice) on DUI charges, bloggers called for her to be shipped off to rehab. She even almost missed out on shooting her latest film “Labor Pains” because insurance companies refused to cover the party-prone starlet. And she didn’t even hit anyone.

Even relative (this is Hollywood we’re talking about) good-girl Mischa Barton was shamed into admitting to Nylon magazine that her DUI arrest was “a low point”, and that she was “disappointed because it associated me with a group of girls that I would rather not be associated with.”

Yup, a group of girls.

LaBeouf, in the meantime, can be seen on the cover of the upcoming September issue of Details openly talking about how he’s a big fan of booze: “I don’t know how to have one drink,” he reportedly told the magazine. “I don’t know how to do it like a gentleman.” He then added that he and his dad would smoke and drink together.

It seems the general sentiment is one of, “Oh, well. Boys will be boys.” It’s a blatant double-standard that makes a boy like me happy to own a pair.

Colin Farrell hit Hollywood as anotorious, boozing womaniser, rarely seen on a red carpet without a cigarette and a plastic cup of beer in hand. “Oh, he’s just Irish,” people would say, swooning just a tad. “You know these Europeans.”

Right. Eva Green is European and she can hardly get away with wearing too much eye-liner.

Even old Hollywood legends aren’t exempted from the sexist curb on female fun. Peter O’Toole, a hell-raiser in his day with fellow boozers Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed, has “amusing anecdotes of debauchery”.

“Booze is the most outrageous of drugs, which is why I chose it,” he famously said.

Elizabeth Taylor, however, is just “plagued by problems with alcohol”.

The double-standard doesn’t just apply to Hollywood. Christopher Lee served some time in jail for his DUI hit-and-run, and the incident has blown over with considerably little drama. Can you imagine if it had been Fann Wong instead? This is not a case of popularity being a factor. Benedict Goh and Terence Cao – now that’s running the gamut from C-list to A-list – were also caught drink-driving, and while there was a certain amount of scandal involved, it was nothing compared to the apocalypse the four tabloid horsemen would bring if it had been Felicia Chin or Zoe Tay.

Neither is that double-standard restricted to just misadventures in inebriation. Good golly, no – it applies to just about everything.

Let’s talk celebrity sex tapes. Pamela Anderson made Tommy Lee a legend, Paris Hilton made Rick Salomon an instant celebrity and Kim Kardashian gave Ray J a boost from “Brandy’s little brother” to “hip-hop star”. The girls, however, were called a variety of very unkind names.

George Clooney matured into a “silver fox” regularly voted one of the sexiest men around. The “Sex and the City” girls are the new Golden Girls.

David Bowie’s a genius. Bjork is crazy. Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones are legends. Madonna’s a grandma. RuPaul’s an entertainer. Cher is a drag queen.

What’s that, ladies? It’s not fair? You bet it isn’t. Gosh, it sucks to be you. –

Channel News Asia

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Look Beyond The Bikini

14 May

SINGAPORE : Talk about being sporting.

High-jumping into the spirit of the Olympics, MediaCorp TV Channel 8 will roll out a new sports-themed drama, Beach.Ball.Babes, on July 7, just before the Beijing Games kick off on August 8.

The 20-episode drama about volleyball boasts a “royal” cast that includes former beauty queens Joanne Peh and Jade Seah, two of MediaCorp’s “princesses” Jesseca Liu and Dawn Yeoh, as well as Fann Wong’s groom-to-be, Christopher Lee.

Another volleyball show, you ask?

Well, it has been years since Chen Liping was seen in The Winning Team. Besides, this latest take serves up a lot more eye candy as a lot of the action takes place at the beach which means beach babes Joanne, Jade and Jesseca will be steaming up your TV screens in their bikinis.

But sports has always had a firm place in local Chinese dramas, from 1980’s Flying Fish which starred one-time TV poster boy Wang Yuqing to the more recent The Champions (2004), featuring hot young stars like Fiona Xie and Felicia Chin.

“We try to do one or two sports dramas every year,” Kok Len Shoong, MediaCorp’s Senior Vice-President for Chinese Drama Productions, told Today. “This year, it’s especially significant because of the Olympics.”

So, why volleyball, or beach volleyball, to be precise?

“Beach volleyball is a new item at the Olympics. We think it’ll be of great interest to our viewers,” Kok explained.

Channel News Asia

New Team "The Cagers" Hopes To Revive Basketball Scene In Singapore

1 May

SINGAPORE : Singapore’s basketball scene is set for greater vibrancy.

A new team – “The Cagers” – is hoping to revive the glory days of Singapore basketball, and create a league involving regional teams.

Aged 14 to 24, Cagers’ players want to get fellow youngsters excited about the sport.

A few of the team members, including some ex-national players, are hoping to be the stars of tomorrow.

Organisers hope the team will score when they hold a three-day Cagers Asia 2008 competition beginning June 27. MediaCorp artist Felicia Chin and Taiwanese celebrity basketball player Johnny Yan will be making guest appearances at the event.

Besides “The Cagers”, a team from Indonesia and two from Malaysia will be part of the event at the Jurong East Sports Hall.

“In future, we hope to involve countries like Taiwan, which has a very vibrant basketball scene, as well as Korea and Japan. That will definitely satisfy a lot of basketball fans in Singapore,” said Matthias Koh, director of Finesse Productions.

The long-term aim is to have a league which will draw in the crowds. And to show they mean business, organisers are pumping in about S$1 million for the project.

Currently, the team is not receiving any funding from the Singapore Sports Council or the Basketball Association of Singapore. But the organisers are confident this will change once the competition starts and proves to be a success.

The Basketball Association of Singapore supports the idea, but said the team had not approached them formally.

“We are looking at creating so called avenues or opportunities for our national athletes to grow. But not so much on individual clubs, (unless) we do have excess funding. We have 29 other club members to look after,” said Hans Goh, general manager of the Basketball Association of Singapore.

Whatever the circumstances, the players are hoping their brand of basketball will score with Singaporeans. – CNA /ls

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Caldecott Royalty Does The Fann-Cy Talk

6 Feb

SINGAPORE: Oh yes, Fann Wong is definitely in the mood for love. “I want that rose! It’s beautiful!” she gushed with excitement.

Then, she added coyly: “Valentine’s Day is coming … ”

Take a hint, Chris. And get your cheque book out.

The rose that has captured the heart of the Princess of MediaCorp is no ordinary flower – it’s really a painting titled Life Like Flower No 1 by renown Chinese artist Feng Zhen Jie, and it costs a whopping S$400,000.

“I’d like to receive that on Valentine’s Day. If not, then never mind,” said the actress, mock sniffing, before breaking into faux evil laughter.

It was 9.45 on a Monday morning when Fann met TODAY for this interview, and she was early. She had, in fact, been up since 5am to prep for her interview on Channel News-Asia’s Prime Time Morning, and it was to be a busy, busy day ahead – more promotional work for her latest movie, Jack Neo’s Ah Long Pte Ltd, followed by rehearsals for MediaCorp TV Channel 8’s Chinese New Year countdown show.

Yet, the actress, who just turned 37 two weekends ago, looked fresh as dew, and not a year older than 30. She looked a million bucks – even with minimal make-up – in a flirty white bareback Loewe dress under a matching white leather jacket.

Clearly in high spirits, Fann was uncharacteristically – for a superstar – candid and open, yakking and joking away without reservation.

“As long as the questions are not too personal, I’m okay with it,” she said, flashing her charming megawatt smile.

We took the opportunity to venture into personal waters and asked her why she seems much more open about her relationship with her actor beau Christopher Lee these days, and she teased: “I’ll kiss him back this year (at the Star Awards)!”

We pushed our luck a little further and asked her what her boyfriend thought of her “fanny-baring” scene in Ah Long Pte Ltd (for which she didn’t think it was “necessary to use my body”, so what you’ll be seeing is her butt double).

She volunteered impishly: “I wanted to pull his leg and tell him that it is going to be my butt just to test his reaction … and to see if he’d recognise that it’s not really my butt.”

My oh my. This is not the kind of talk we were expecting from the notoriously private Caldecott royalty who has starred in Hollywood movies alongside international celebrities like Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson and Maggie Q. But who’s complaining?

Behind that glamorous facade, Fann proved to be a goodie-bag full of surprises. We even found out that she sneaks into local cinemas to watch the occasional movie.

“I do! I just go. I don’t care,” she said.

You just celebrated your 37th birthday two weekends ago. Are you feeling the pressure of growing old in an industry that’s constantly thirsty for youthful beauty?

Is it my 37th? I’ve lost count! Age hasn’t bothered me since I turned 21, when I was really happy. I enjoy being where I am now.

I mean, you don’t want be in your 20s forever. I’d be very afraid if I had to keep doing the same things I did in my 20s. You grow older, you get to know yourself better and you become more confident. And I think it’s wonderful to have young people coming onboard the entertainment scene. New blood is a good boost for a small industry like ours.

So you don’t feel threatened by the so-called “Seven Princesses” of MediaCorp (Fiona Xie, Felicia Chin, Joanne Peh, Jeanette Aw, Rui En, Jesseca Liu and Dawn Yeoh) nipping at your Christian Louboutins?

I look at it very positively. You need a new face to represent every era. Yeah, I think every one of (the princesses) stands a very good chance.

I’m just very lucky as I happened to be in right place at the right time, meeting the right people. So, just three words of advice: ‘Hard work’ and ‘luck’.

Do you see yourself “stepping down” and retiring soon?

Being the free spirit I am, I think I’ll quit as and when there are no more fun and challenging roles left for me to play. Or, when I feel that there is something else that needs me to focus on, I’ll move on. It could happen tomorrow. Much as I love what I do, you never know ῅ passion can go out in a split second giving way to another.

Like family and motherhood, perhaps?

Maybe! I don’t know! Of course I’d like to have children. Ideally, if I can afford it, I would like to have enough children to form a football team!

But at the moment, time just doesn’t allow it. So, I’ll let nature take its course. I think I have ample time before I should start worrying.

As someone who can probably have anything you want, what is one thing you can’t have right now?

That’s not true! I can’t have that beautiful painting by Feng Zhen Jie (Life Like Flower No 1). It costs S$400,000! There’s nothing else I want.

Okay, seriously, I believe in being contented with what you have and being grateful … But I still want that art piece! I am going to steal it! –

Channel News Asia

"8 Days" Holds First Celebrity Flea Market To Raise Funds For Charity

3 Dec

SINGAPORE : Singapore’s top entertainment magazine “8 Days” held its first-ever “Celebrity Car Boot Flea Market” on Sunday afternoon.

Proceeds will go to one of MediaCorp’s adopted charities – the Rainbow Centre Balestier Special School.

It’s kissing for a good cause as fans of Elvin Ng and Jade Seah paid S$10 each for a chance to kiss their favourite personalities.

“I liked him (Elvin Ng) since the time he was on TV. He’s very cute. It’s for charity and for the fun of it,” said one member of the public who was at the flea market.

“I was very nervous, but it’s just a picture so it’s okay,” said another.

And it’s not just the fans who were shy.

“Actually, I’m quite (conservative) and very shy. So last year, when they came up with the idea, I’m like … I don’t want to do this. Then I thought it’s for charity, so I’ll do it,” said MediaCorp Artiste Elvin Ng.

While “8 Days” hopes to make the event an annual affair, Elvin said he will only lend his cheeks for today.

Other MediaCorp celebrities were also there to support the event.

They included Jacelyn Tay, Adam Chen, Felicia Chin and Julian Hee, as well as Front’s hosts Eunice Olsen and Debbie Wong.

Eunice Olsen, presenter of MediaCorp Central’s “Front” programme donated her golf clubs and bags worth over S$2,400.

“It’s a very interesting event, and it’s going out for a very good cause, for the Rainbow Centre Balestier School. I think everybody here is trying to raise as much (funds) as possible,” said Olsen.

While Fann Wong was not at the flea market, her two-seater sofa was put up for auction. Another MediaCorp artiste, Bryan Wong, also donated a chair for auction.

Over 300 celebrity items were put up for sale. – CNA /ls

Channel News Asia

Ezann Lee In Her Most Challenging Role To Date

27 Feb

Is it the end of sweetness and light for Ezann Lee?

In what promises to be a breakthrough role, the 24-year-old MediaCorp actress will play the mentally challenged cousin of Fann Wong’s character in the serious-minded Channel 8 drama series Making Miracles.

Ezann’s role highlights the susceptibility of the intellectually disabled to sex crimes.

One of Asia’s few hospital- related dramas with scenes shot in an actual operating theatre, the show features a cast of veterans that includes Taiwanese actor John Chiang, Terence Cao, Darren Lim and Zheng Ge Ping.

Despite her nervousness at acting alongside Fann for the first time, Ezann said she learned a lot from her veteran colleague.

“She’d guide me along in some of the more emotional scenes we had to play,” Ezann said during a press conference last Friday.

Best known for her role as a lesbian in Eric Khoo’s 2005 film Be With Me, Ezann’s latest role is a departure from the characters she has played in the past.

In researching the role, Ezann spent time observing intellectually disabled students, as well as studying the South Korean film Marathon – which tells of an autistic youth training to be a marathon runner.

It remains to be seen if Ezann can emulate the success of fellow artiste Jeanette Aw, whose role as an intellectually challenged young woman in Channel 8’s Holland V (2003) won her Best Actress nominations at both 2003 and 2004’s Star Awards.

Either way, in an industry packed with promising up-and- comers such as Jeanette, Joanne Peh, Felicia Chin and Jesseca Liu, Ezann plans to continue making the best of whatever opportunities come her way.

“Actually I’m a little afraid of being stereotyped into kids’ programmes with my sweet image,” she said. “But I guess that’s something I can’t change.”

Channel News Asia

This Is For My Ex-Wife

11 Dec

SINGAPORE: Huang Yiliang did it again – made another controversial speech involving former wife Lin Meijiao.

At Sunday night’s Star Awards, which were held at the St James Power Station for the first time, Yiliang won the Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in the drama Women of Times.

When he went on stage to accept the award, he said he wanted to give the award to Meijiao. In the same speech, he also thanked his current wife. It was a speech that raised eyebrows, not least due to the little-known fact that he has remarried.

In 2003, when he won the same award, Yiliang mentioned Meijiao in his thank-you speech, comparing her to a giraffe and saying her neck had grown from yearning for an award.

Meijiao was not present at Sunday night’s show.

Backstage, Yiliang lost his cool when quizzed him about the speech.

“Meijiao is more talented than me but she doesn’t have my luck,” he said. “I’ve always wanted her to win something so I’d like to give this award to her.”

He claimed he was simply voicing the wish of his daughter with Meijiao. He has been married for three years to Lily Liu.

“When I made that speech in 2003, I only had good intentions. I regret that it’s a joke that fell flat, I shouldn’t have made it.”

Visibly annoyed, he added: “Do you know how influential the media is? If you write bad stuff about me, that’s the end of me. Please spare me. I don’t have any bad intentions.”

Meanwhile, the Best Actor and Actress Awards were won by Li Nanxing and Ivy Lee, respectively, while Hong Huifang nabbed the Best Supporting Actress Award. Bryan Wong won Best Variety Show Host, while Kelvin Tan won Most Popular Newcomer.

The top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes were: Christopher Lee, Gurmit Singh, Tay Ping Hui, Vincent Ng, Edmund Chen, Qi Yuwu, Mark Lee, Kelvin Tan, Elvin Ng and Bryan Wong.

As for the women, the top 10 were Kym Ng, Huang Biren, Xiang Yun, Rui En, Michelle Chia, Jeanette Aw, Felicia Chin, Fiona Xie, Quan Yifeng and Jesseca Liu. – TODAY

Channel News Asia