Mon, Jun 08, 2009 - Page 13 News List

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Pop diva A-mei (阿妹) is lending her voice to a campaign to fight global hunger in commemoration of the kindness she experienced from strangers during her impoverished youth.

The 36-year-old singer, real name Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹), was in Singapore to support the local chapter of the Christian charity World Vision in its efforts to raise awareness about starvation around the globe.

“When I was very young and living with my tribe, my family was really poor and our tribe had really poor facilities,” she told reporters ahead of a 30-hour Famine Camp involving 1,000 students that ended late Saturday.

The event, featuring A-Mei as a guest celebrity, was staged to give some of the affluent city-state’s teenagers a taste of what it is like to starve. The participants were restricted to taking water only for 30 hours.

“These big brothers and sisters would bring food such as flour and rice for us, bring us to lessons and revise our schoolwork with us,” recalled A-Mei, a member of the Puyuma tribe.

“At the time, we thought, ‘why were these outsiders so nice?’ And whenever they gave us stuff, I felt really grateful and happy.”

A-Mei, who overcame poverty to become one of the biggest sensations in the Mando-pop music scene, was born in the mountains of eastern Taiwan and the third youngest of nine siblings.

“This camp would allow them to experience what less fortunate people in other parts are going through at this moment,” said

the singer.

Thai police yesterday defended their handling of the investigation into the death of David Carradine after the US actor’s family urged the FBI to step in and assist the probe.

Police say they suspect the star of the 1970s television series Kung Fu died in a sex act that went wrong after his naked body was found on Thursday in his Bangkok hotel room with rope tied around his neck and genitals.

A lawyer for the brother of the 72-year-old actor said at the weekend that the actor’s family had met US Federal Bureau of Investigation officials to ask for help to discover exactly how Carradine died.

“I am confident we are working on the right track. US embassy representatives saw every step of the investigation process in the hotel room,” said Colonel Somprasong Yenthaum, who is leading the probe.

Police are still awaiting the results of laboratory tests that will take between three to four weeks to come through before they can make an official conclusion about the cause of death.

An initial autopsy report revealed that the actor died from a sudden lack of oxygen and his body showed no signs of struggle.

Film studio Universal Pictures rejected charges against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen on Friday, saying it has a video that proves that the actor did not physically harm a woman while filming his latest movie.

Richelle Olson, executive director of Desert Valley Charities, and her husband are suing Cohen and Universal for a stunt that took place in a bingo hall during filming of the satirical movie Bruno.

The suit alleges that Olson had been told that Bruno was a celebrity and would call the numbers at a charity bingo game she ran for the elderly in Palmdale, California.

Olson also says that Cohen “offensively touched, pushed

and battered” her, causing her to fall to the ground.

In a statement, Universal Pictures called the allegations “completely baseless.”

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