Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Pop Stop

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chiang Wei-wen wants to know why everyone's beating up on him.

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES

Taiwan's veteran Mando-pop diva Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹), better known as A-mei (阿妹), marked a grandiose return to China with a mega stadium concert last weekend in Beijing that brought out tens of thousands of fans, about 2,000 cops and a gaggle of ultra-nationalist protesters, who now seem to be the singer's shadow whenever she sets foot in China. She probably won't be able to live down her singing the ROC national anthem at Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) inauguration in 2000 in the minds of some, but the heated confrontations between fans and protesters outside the venue proved that A-mei's got back even in China. Too bad she has no spine, though. In an interview with China's propaganda-filled CCTV she was asked how she felt when Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympics.

"I was performing a concert in Chongqing at the time of the announcement and everyone, whether they knew each other or not, was hugging each other. I was truly honored to be there on stage with everyone shouting, `We got the Olympics!'"

When the topic of her latest encounter with Chinese nationalist protesters in Hangzhou was raised, the interviewer asked whether the event had left her with any lasting impressions and whether she had learned that "there are things you can do and things you can't do?"

She replied: "Of course. ? I know that my influence goes beyond those around me to many more people, so I need to be more cautious. I know what I should do." Indeed, if her albums don't sell any more in Taiwan, better to pave the way for a smooth future in China.

Back in Taiwan, last weekend at the Formoz Festival it wasn't performers facing the heat from the powers that be, but rather the other way round. In a manifestation of the punk spirit in Taiwan, the nation's President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), during a surprise visit to the show, was practically heckled off stage by people who shouted that they'd come to hear Japan's Sex Machineguns and not a political speech.

Meanwhile in Hong Kong over the weekend, Jay Chou (周杰倫) and Andy Lau (劉德華) each walked away with five awards each at the Guoyuli Awards, an annual award for the year's best Mandarin acts, but American Idol loser William Hung (孔慶翔) stole the show in his first stage appearance in Asia. The crowd went berserk when he sang a rousing rendition of Ricky Martin's She Bangs that was miles off key and people seemed to love his meticulously cultivated super-nerd look.

Last week Pop Stop also had a random encounter deep in the mountains of Hsinchu County with Chiang Wei-wen (蔣偉文), the stud-muffin host of CTV's popular weekly Taiwan travel show. He and his crew were on location shooting an upcoming show. Just hours after asking whether Pop Stop was there on missionary work, he was beaten with a pipe by a man who didn't appreciate Chiang flirting with his girlfriend. According to a report in Saturday's Apple Daily (蘋果日報), the dashing Chiang was greeted by a woman at a rest area and her jealous boyfriend beat him with a bamboo pole before fleeing in a late-model BMW. The camera crew caught the license plate, though, and Chiang is considering legal action.

Last week Pop Stop reported on Alex To's (杜德偉) latest promotional gimmick for his new album Take Off (脫掉), which is basically stripping down to a colorful pair of shorts. But it seems that trick and some of the steamy lyrics on the album are too much for some Singaporeans and China's government to handle. After a promotional event in Singapore, people protested to organizers that To's shorts routine is indecent, but without cops there to judge whether this was this case, his label could hold onto the NT$200,000 they had on hand in case a fine was issued.

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