Fri, Sep 22, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Pop Stop


Jay Chou (周杰倫) and Patty Hou’s (侯佩岑) break-up continues to dominate gossip rag stories with local hacks this week claiming Hou’s new NT$2 million Jaguar is a parting gift.

Enraged by the accusation, the Mando-pop king lashed out with a series of counterattacks at gossip mongers on his official Web site, saying the car was bought through a car-dealer friend of his and paid for by Hou’s mother. Meanwhile, the former lady of the house is trying to put the whole ordeal behind her by following the wisdom of the ancient Chinese proverb, “grief is best forgotten by hard work.” A sparkling, new set of wheels may help as well.

On the other side of the Taiwan strait, Chou’s other ex, Jolin Tsai (蔡依林), sent audience members into a frenzy with acrobatic stunts and limber moves at her Hong Kong Colosseum gig. Despite the performance, and the star’s on-stage chemistry with co-performer ABT pop star Stanley Huang (黃立行), the Mando-pop queen failed to distract the media’s attention from the failed Double-J romance.

When asked by the press how she felt about Hou’s expensive “gift” while the only thing she got from Chou was a Hello Kitty flower basket, Tsai quipped, “that’s right, look how generous he was.”

Japan’s five-piece boy band Arashi has been in Taipei for two sold-out weekend concerts at Taipei Arena (台北巨蛋). The pretty-faced pop idols not only attracted a welcoming committee of over 200 screaming local fans at the airport, many of them skipping class and work to do so, but brought along some 1,200 devotees from Japan: a boost for Taipei’s tourism.

It is estimated that the weekend influx of Japanese fans could have spent NT$80 million. In return for their support, the organizers arranged an exclusive meeting for the Japanese fans to meet their idols in person, whereas local groupies had to slaver from a distance.

Ge You (葛優), the award-winning star of Feng Xiaogang’s (馮小剛) The Banquet (夜宴), was in town this week to promote the movie. He turned on the charm and wooed Taiwan’s hungry media hounds by throwing them morsels of information from behind the scenes of the historical drama, the most explosive of which was that 40-year-old megastar Gong Li (鞏俐) lost out to 27-year-old Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) for the leading female role.

“Li is in the prime of her life and her maturity as an actress serves her well on the international level. But in China, her age has become an obstacle,” Ge told members of the local press pack.

Not only do actresses need to be young these days, being cute helps a lot too. A glance at the local show-biz industry shows that ke ai (可愛), or the appropriation of “cuteness” in popular culture (and let’s not forget that cuteness is a perennial theme in Japan’s pop world) is manna for those who worship at the temple of youth.

The local music industry is a tough business. Having fallen on hard times, the members of rock combo Shin (信樂團) have taken second jobs.

While the band’s guitarist, Christ, recently opened a shop selling refreshments and desserts at Raoho Street night market (饒河街夜市), lead singer A-Shin (阿信) pays the bills by appearing as a character in a TV soap opera. Drummer Michael is perhaps the luckiest of all as he does what he loves most for a living: teaching children to play drums.

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