Fri, Aug 07, 2009 - Page 14 News List

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COMPILED BY NOAH BUCHAN

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Gangsters, gambling, a decade on the lam, a career comeback and now a mystery child: Chu Ko Liang’s (豬哥亮) life is the stuff of soap opera.

For those who have hibernating, Chu Ko Liang rose to stardom and wealth in the 1980s as a stand-up comedian. Off stage, however, he racked up gambling debts to underworld figures and is said to have owed his boss, Yang Tang-kuei (楊登魁), NT$120 million.

So Chu Ko Liang did what any debtor might do and went into hiding, breaking his contract with Yang.

Fast forward to February of this year, when intrepid Apple Daily photographers caught up with Chu Ko Liang in southern Taiwan, where he was reportedly working at a temple. Fellow entertainers Yu Tien (余天) and Kao Ling-feng (高凌風) called for his return to television so that Chu Ko Liang could wipe the slate clean.

Yu brokered a meeting between Yang and Chu, and according to the China Times, the former knocked 80 percent off the total owed, leaving the funnyman with NT$24 million to pay back.

The deal stipulated that Chu Ko Liang, whose disloyalty seems to have been forgotten, has to give Yang 20 percent of his earnings until he clears the lot. He now receives NT$300,000 per show for his new program, Chu Ko Hui She (豬哥會社).

It remains unclear how Chu Ko Liang will repay his other debts.

This past week, the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) snapped pictures of Chu Ko Liang’s daughter, singer Jeannie Hsieh (謝金燕), with a boy, identity unknown.

Hsieh later revealed that the 12-year-old was her son, which means she became pregnant at roughly the time her father disappeared.

And who is the father? The Liberty Times speculated that he is none other than Yang Chung-hsien (楊宗憲), Yang Tang-kuei’s son, as the pair were rumored to be an item at the time. The elder Yang reportedly objected to the

relationship because Chu Ko Liang owed him so much money.

When asked why she kept her son out of the public gaze, Hsieh said that any news about her family would invariably mention debt and gangsters.

Chu Ko Liang, meanwhile, said he couldn’t be happier that he is a grandfather and wants to meet the child, and Hsieh, as soon as possible. He also said he hopes that the father is Yang Chung-hsien.

A public reunion is planned.

What does it all mean? Increased TV ratings, for one. The added attention was matched by a jump in viewers for Chu Ko Liang’s show.

In more mundane news, the public marital problems between singer Rachel Fu (傅天穎) and Charles Chen (陳子強) reached a crescendo over the weekend when Fu was admitted to hospital after allegedly slashing her wrist.

According to United Daily News, she showed up at the hospital with a 3cm-long wound on her wrist and smelling of alcohol. Cue innuendo that she tried to take her own life because Chen is rumored to have played away from home.

Fu later denied reports that she had tried to commit suicide, and said she had fallen down and cut herself on broken glass.

When contacted by reporters for comment, Chen said, “She has to be responsible for her own actions,” a response that, needless to say, didn’t endear him to observers.

Perhaps Chen should have shown the kind of remorse that Chu Ko Liang specializes in and blubbered in front of the camera for forgiveness.

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