Last Friday, on the eve of the legislative elections, a number of candidates squeezed out some tears and some even dropped to their knees in dramatic, eye-popping attempts to wrest every possible vote from constituents. But Chin Yang (秦楊), the lead actor in last year's wildly popular TV series Taiwan Thunderbolt Fire (台灣霹靂火), whose one-liners became part of the local vernacular, took the honors for the strangest performance while stumping for Tainan County independent candidate Lee Ho-hsun (李和順).
The actor emerged onto the stage at the campaign's final rally in a wheelchair claiming to have been viciously attacked the night before by a bunch of thugs set on punishing him for his support of Lee. Through tears and loud sobs, Chin told Lee's supporters he had suffered a concussion and internal bleeding in the attack, and that, by the way, they should please vote for Lee.
Even in Taiwan Thunderbolt Fire, Chin wasn't much of an actor, so almost immediately people began picking apart his appearance on stage and the security video tape showing him being attacked. A fair number of detractors, as well as police and officials of the hospitals he visited after the alleged assault, all raised suspicions that the attack may have been staged, though Chin vehemently denies any malfeasance. Police have said they won't investigate unless charges are pressed.
Ella, the vaguely tomboyish member of the girl band S.H.E., was outed this week by Next Magazine (壹週刊) for having a boyfriend, putting to rest almost two years of rumors that she was gay. The magazine captured her and her boyfriend, Hsiao Wei (小偉), out and about in town and dug into its archive to find pictures of the two together dating back half a year. The lucky man was reportedly a dancer from Taipei's Dance Soul studio and had performed with S.H.E.
Bringing a relationship to a close this week was David Wu (吳大維) (better known as the witty Channel [V] English teacher Wu Man) and erstwhile pop singer Yuki Hsu (徐懷鈺). At promotional events for his new English-teaching book, he explained that the two drifted apart recently as a result of his peripatetic lifestyle, and what he admitted was his aversion to serious relationships. "Girls don't particularly like that," he said. Now 38, Wu Man said he hopes to settle down within five years, but isn't holding his breath.
This year has proven to be a banner year for Chinese film abroad, with the remarkable box-office take of Zhang Yimou's Hero (英雄) in North America and with the announcement this week that his (張藝謀) House of Flying Daggers (十面埋伏) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the best foreign-language film category. Previously, the Golden Globe Awards have been a good gauge of the movie's chances at the Oscars, but changes this year mean that the list of Oscar nominees will be released on Jan. 15, a day before the Golden Globe ceremony. Either way, it will be a nail-biting weekend for Chinese film aficionados who care about American film awards.