Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 14 News List

POP STOP

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lin Chi-ling.

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES

With more than its fair share of tawdry scandals and uplifting newcomer achievements, 2004 was a banner year in the Chinese pop world. So, as the year draws to a close, Pop Stop pauses this week to reminisce about the moments and trends that caught our attention in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China and that made this year so much fun.

1) In one of those odd, unexplainable pop phenomena, some time in the early summer, seemingly out of the blue, everyone in Taiwan began talking about supermodel Lin Chi-ling (林志玲), despite the fact that she hadn't done anything particularly noteworthy beside continuing to host a fashion show on AzioTV. She simply blew up. And even now, well beyond most teenie boppers attention span, it's hard to pick up a magazine or open a newspaper without seeing her gazing sexily back at you. No one's complaining, but it's strange all the same.

2) With his antics, it was clear that TV show host Jacky Wu (吳宗憲) would contribute in some lasting way to the year's pop culture. Sure enough, in May, Wu was caught drunk behind the wheel of one of his many cars and was then discovered to not even possess a driver's license. But what really stuck after the whole episode were the terms "butt-crack girl (股溝妹)" and "cleavage girl (乳溝妹)," used to identify the two anonymous ladies who were riding with him at the time. The Chinese expressions have now become everyday colloquialisms and the photos of "butt crack girl" have been credited for the quick demise of the trend in Taiwan for butt crack-revealing jeans. So some good did come of it after all.

3) Chinese director Zhang Yi-mou (張藝謀) this year released his two epic martial-arts movies Hero (英雄) and House of Flying Daggers (十面埋伏) in Europe and North America to almost universally rave reviews. The films were both panned in China for being gimmicky and untrue to the martial-arts tradition, but in the US, Flying Daggers picked up a nomination for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar. Hero, meanwhile, shattered US box-office records for a Chinese film, bringing in almost US$55 million.

4) Another TV variety show host who made his way into the news this year with an eyebrow-raising sensational story was Peng Chia-chia (澎恰恰), who -- anonymous sources told local media -- was blackmailed with a video featuring him engaging in a sex act with a mob boss woman. Despite his vigorous denials, he hasn't been able to shake the story.

5) Still riding the crest of the Infernal Affairs wave that started last year, Andy Lau (劉德華) was finally given a Best Actor Golden Horse Award for his role in the series third installment in November. Up against Hong Kong buddy Tony Leung (梁朝偉) for the award, Lau beat the odds and rest of the competition for his first ever Golden Horse trophy.

6) The honors for strangest scandal this year go hands-down to actress Candy Lee (李庭), who, in an attempt to undermine an ex-boyfriend's upcoming wedding, in May set up Hong Kong's East Weekly (東周刊) to print a story about her prostituting herself to a man who was chosen for his resemblance to her ex. After the story was released, Lee admitted the story was a fake and publicly apologized.

7) Though he may not be Chinese, Sir Elton John certainly earned his place in this year's Top Ten for his dramatic arrival at CKS International Airport in September. After stepping out of an elevator to begin immigration procedures, John was hounded by Taiwan's notorious media mob and promptly began telling them to "fuck off, pigs!"

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