After entering self-imposed exile more than a decade ago, grassroots comedy legend Chu Ke-liang (豬哥亮) was located by Apple Daily last week in a small village in southern Taiwan. “I’m still on the lam!” the startled vet told reporters.
A stand-up comedian who rose to superstardom in the 1980s, Chu was known and loved for his vulgar sense of humor and over-the-top appearance that featured a “toilet-lid” (馬桶蓋)hairstyle, which became his trademark.
Big money came his way, way too easily. With a reported monthly income of some NT$60 million, the comic gambled heavily, and wound up ruined.
In 1995, unable to pay off his debts to the mafia, Chu disappeared, along with his third wife and their son. Until, that is, the infinitely resourceful paparazzi caught up with the 62-year-old while he was tucking into a bowl of oden (黑輪) at a humble eatery.
The media have been busy trying to piece together Chu’s missing decade.
Some sources claim the fugitive has several bolt-holes in southern Taiwan. Others speculate he would arrive home late at night and leave before daybreak to avoid detection.
As for exactly how much the former gambler owes, figures vary from US$8.7 million to US$14 million, though his daughter, singer Jeannie Hsieh (謝金燕), once said that even if there were 100 of her, they wouldn’t be able pay off the sum.
Several of Chu’s old showbiz chums including Chang Fei (張菲), Kao Ling-feng (高凌風) and Chu Yen-ping (朱延平) urged the funnyman to return to the stage, and asked his creditors to spare the man’s life so he could work to repay his dues.
Entertainer-turned-lawmaker Yu Tian (余天) made a public appeal to Chu to contact him so that they could “work something out …”
Local pundits, meanwhile, are salivating at the prospect of a possible comeback.
If you’re blissfully unaware of who Yao Yao (瑤瑤) is, you’re most likely not a zhainan (宅男), the Taiwanese version of the Japanese otaku, a homebound, nerdy guy whose life is all about anime films, manga or computer games and the real-life girls who endorse these products.
Yao Yao is a baby-faced 18-year-old high-school girl and the alleged owner of a pair of 33E breasts. She was recently featured in a television commercial for an online game, which apparently was plotless and centered on her undulating umlauts while she rode a mechanical horse.
According to the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper), Yao Yao has quickly attained sex-goddess status in Taiwan’s otaku community and has been dubbed a “big-breasted bodacious baby face” (童顏巨乳), an epithet used in Japan for porn stars.
In a sign of her rising popularity, the newly minted diva attracted the attention of a stalker, her first, who lurked a whole day at the entrance of the school she attends. Police later arrested the admirer, 19-year-old Lee Lung-hui (李龍輝), for stealing an online game package from a convenience store after he failed to make contact with his idol.
When asked why he wanted to meet Yao Yao, Lee expressed his wish to become her bodyguard. As for the game package he pilfered, Lee said Yao Yao looked so fragile and vulnerable in the picture on the cover that he just had to take it home.
With around 10,000 descendants packing the ancestral shrine every Tomb Sweeping Day, the Yeh family’s grand affair made a bid for the Guiness Book of World Records in 2016. They won’t be coming even close on Saturday. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, less than 30 people will be attending and conducting the rituals. “We hope that our ancestors don’t take offense,” branch association head Yeh Lun-tsai (葉倫在) tells the Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times). Tomb Sweeping Day activities can potentially aggravate the spread of the virus as large groups congregate in cemeteries and columbariums at the same
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