Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - Page 14 News List

POP STOP

Compiled by Catherine Shu and Derek Yiu Pui-yung  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

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Some couples are content with merely posing cheesily in fields of flowers for their engagement photos, but actor Jason Lee (李傑聖) and his journalist fiance Zhang Xu-lan (張旭嵐) decided to base their shoot on classic films — including Ang Lee’s (李安) Lust, Caution (色,戒), which apparently counts as an instant classic in the couple’s eyes.

The bride and groom stripped to the buff for the photo, which features the artfully lit pair lying in an acrobatic embrace inspired by one of Tony Leung (梁朝偉) and Tang Wei’s (湯唯) infamous bouts of mattress wrestling in the film.

Despite the fact that her legs are stretched clear above her fiance’s head, the bashful Zhang had one request for the photographer: “Don’t make my face too clear!”

Scandalous photos also featured in the gossip pages when college student Miffty Zhang (張茆) threatened to publish private pictures taken during her recent dalliance with television host and writer Joe Nieh (倪震), which nearly destroyed his 19-year-long relationship with Canto-pop singer and actress Vivian Chow (周慧敏), reports the Liberty Times (自由時報), the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper.

Despite his infidelity, Nieh and Chow announced their engagement on Dec. 18, which reportedly nearly sent the jealous Zhang over the edge. But we’ll never find out if the photos resemble anything out of Lust, Caution (or if they even exist) because Zhang quickly pulled an about face and posted on her blog that she wishes the two lovebirds well, thinks of Nieh as a brother and will “hold on to their secrets forever.” Awww.

Also brokenhearted over the impending nuptials is Chow’s 85-year-old mother, who was snapped by Hong Kong gossip magazine Oriental Sunday (東方新地) on her balcony, red-faced and talking on the phone. The devout Buddhist has reportedly been praying that Nieh will stop toying around with her daughter’s heart even as Chow skips off to fittings with famous wedding gown designer Dorian Ho (何國鉦).

Media reports say the marriage will take place on Jan. 5, but Chow’s agent has pooh-poohed the rumors, stating there is no way the duo can plan a wedding that quickly. But the United Daily News (聯合報) says the reception, which will take place at a secret location on Yangmingshan, will be a small one, with just 10 of the couple’s closest relatives and friends in attendance. Famous Hong Kong fortune-teller Mak Ling-ling (麥玲玲) told the newspaper that Jan. 5 is an auspicious date, bringing with it the ability to start anew.

Then came a new twist that has everyone scratching their heads. Hong Kong’s East Weekly reported on Tuesday that Nieh and Chow had already gotten married in San Francisco — 10 years ago. Among the more credible of the conspiracy theories making the rounds, as summarized by the Apple Daily, is that Nieh orchestrated the series of events as part of a publicity stunt to revive his flagging career and garner media attention for Chow’s upcoming 20th-anniversary concert. Song Zude (宋祖德), a private investigator in China, wrote on his blog that Nieh is in debt to the tune of HK$5 million and has also spent most of Chow’s savings.

In yet more on-off couple news, actress Ding Ning (丁寧) and ex-beau Tang Zhi-ping (唐治平) may be reuniting half a year after they broke up, reported the Liberty Times. The two were spotted in an East District cafe, reminiscing about old times and playing with Ding’s dog.

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