Pop Stop has penis envy this week following news in most of the local media outlets that the biggest star in the Mandarin-music firmament, Jay Chou (周杰倫), has dumped his girlfriend, the former news anchor Patty Hou (侯佩岑) and picked up Hebe from the girl group S.H.E.
According to gossip rags this is the sixth hottie The Chairman (周董) has charmed in the past two years. Chou, it appears, can get a new girlfriend as easily as a mechanic changes oil.
But since Chou merely smiles and refuses to answer questions about these purported affairs, the ladies concerned are left to clarify the situation. They are in the difficult position of having to deny a tryst that never happened, or confirm the end of an affair that no one is about to admit. As a result there's a doublespeak that would be laughable if it wasn't so calculated.
Hou, who has consistently denied having a relationship with Chou — despite going on holiday to Japan with him — is currently confirming their breakup. She has achieved this convoluted feat by complaining recently that Chou “is nice to me in private but hardly acknowledges me in public.”
At a recent press junket for a well-known shampoo that clears dandruff, Hou brushed off journalists by saying she had nothing to say about Hebe and Chou, and politely asked the press pack to direct their questions to the concerned parties.
Hebe was then reported in the Taipei Times' sister paper the Liberty Times as saying, “The way I make friends is not affected by media reports.” She blamed journalists for spreading gossip about her relationship with The Chairman, though she was happy enough to sing duets with him and pre-sales of the new S.H.E. album have been boosted by all the news.
Other examples of doublespeak relating to Chou's recent “exes” and media interpretations of what their quotes actually may have meant include: Jolin Tsai (蔡依林) saying after her supposed breakup with The Chairman, “We're just classmates. It won't affect my relationship with a friend.” This was translated as, “Yes, we were lovers but not any more; the bastard dumped me.”
When Lai Wei-ru (賴薇如), MTV personality and singer with the group Seven Flowers (七朵花), said of Chou, “We're just normal friends,” the media inferred they were lovers.
After former news anchor Wang Yi-ren (王怡仁) said of Chou, “We cooperated together friend-to-friend,” journalists intuited that what she meant to say was the affair was brief but she got valuable publicity anyway.
Model Tsai Shu-zhen (蔡淑臻) met up with Chou and was quoted as saying, “We had dinner together with a director.” What reporters thought this might have meant was that it was a one-night stand.
All this is plainly ridiculous. With the absence of information, whispers are dressed up as news and the publicity machine is milked until it's dry. Now, instead of conjecturing about doublespeak, Pop Stop will fearlessly go where no other gossip column has gone before. We will take the stars' comments at face value.
In fact, The Chairman has plenty of female friends but has never had a relationship with a woman. We should ask him and see whether he responds with a smile and no comment.
In a week where gossip was sucked dry by the hot air produced by The Chairman, we learned from Yahoo Entertainment that director Ang Lee (李安) has cast singer Wang Lee-hom (王力宏) as a student in his new film, the World War II thriller Lust, Caution.