We first start out with the curious case of Lei Hong (雷洪) as an extreme symbol of the bizarre marital trends of Taiwan’s celebrity firmament in 2009. The star of the popular FTV soap opera Mom’s House (娘家) and winner of last year’s Golden Bell Award (金鐘獎) for best male actor had a complaint of four “wives” that wouldn’t look out of place in Big Love or The Last Emperor.
That’s right, four wives. And they all live together under the same roof in Taipei. To maintain harmony, Lei says, he refuses to spend an entire night with just one wife. But not all was roses and chocolate at the Lei homestead. When the 61-year-old announced that he had decided to take a fifth “wife” in a public ceremony, his mother, the media and his other four wives went nuts, as holding a public wedding ceremony in Taiwan comes dangerously close to making the nuptials legally binding. In a mea culpa to the vernacular media, Lei bowed and slapped his face several times in penance for being a bad influence on society. He eventually canceled the ceremony. It should be noted that the character Lei plays on TV only has two wives — proving once again that truth is stranger than fiction.
Not to be outdone by Lei Hong’s shenanigans is the ongoing saga of plastic surgeon and alleged lothario Li Jin-liang (李進良) who tied the knot in June with Hu Ying-chen (胡盈禎), daughter of entertainer Hu Gua (胡瓜). Before getting hitched to Hu Ying-chen, Li allegedly carried on an affair with starlet Mao Mao (毛毛). His past misadventures also include charges of sexual harassment by a Japanese porn star and an all-night party with two friends and three hostesses at a Taipei hotel.
But Li may have turned out to be an even bigger boob than either of the Hus imagined. The plastic surgeon was recently fined NT$150,000 and ordered to stop working for three months after illegally inserting silicone breast implants into a patient. Through thick and thin, however, Hu Ying-chen has decided to stay with her man.
Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Wu Yu-sheng’s (吳育昇) extramarital tryst with 40-something piano teacher Rebecca Sun (孫仲瑜) saw TV anchors devoting much of their primetime news slots to yapping on about the matter like rabid Chihuahuas — which only died down amidst rumors that Chung Yiu-kwong (鍾耀光), the married director of the Taipei Chinese Orchestra (臺北市立國樂團), was doing the dirty with Ma Tsui-yu (馬翠妤), a 26-year-old musician with the orchestra.
After the latter two were spotted holding hands and cuddling in the East District (東區), the 52-year-old Chung defended himself by saying he was helping Ma relax after work. Ma was more creative, saying it was only natural for her to snuggle up with her gay friends.
Gay is certainly not the word to describe the public marital problems between singer Rachel Fu (傅天穎) and Charles Chen (陳子強), which reached a denouement when Fu was admitted to hospital after allegedly slashing her wrist. Fu later denied reports that she had tried to commit suicide, telling reporters that 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.
Even less endearing were the boozy and drug-addled shenanigans of the celebrity firmament in 2009.
Starlet Pei Lin (裴琳) may be out of rehab for puffing the magic dragon but she’s still a girl who wants to have fun. These days, though, the high jinks are fueled by booze. According to local media reports, she has lost two jobs, one as a co-host for Go Go Japan and the other on the TTV drama Niang Jia (娘家), because of alcohol-related issues. Scenes of simulated sex on the roadside and a vicious physical attack against a suspected romantic rival for the attentions of Go Go Japan host Toku (李育德) have done nothing for her reputation, but certainly have ensured plenty of column inches.
Golden Melody Award-winning singer Gary Tsao (曹格), on the other hand, upheld his reputation as a psychotic drunk by beating up his friend, Canto-pop singer Justin Lo (側田), in an extended brawl that started at a bar, continued in a taxi and ended on the street.
Tsao’s past drunken indiscretions include kicking a sign (2006), scowling at reporters (October last year), scaring his friends (same month) and getting bitten (November last year). Small wonder that Tsao’s wife doesn’t let him hold their baby when he’s drinking.
From booze to bud, former Channel V presenter Henry Lu (呂良基) was arrested for marijuana possession along with six other suspects — most of whom grew up in either Canada, Australia or the US. Intrepid journalists were quick to point out the correlation between drug use and having been born or studied abroad.
And going one better than former US president Bill Clinton (who claims he pretended to smoke a joint but “didn’t inhale”), perhaps in an effort to protect themselves in the event that the fuzz decides to play another round of “Celebrity Drug Bust,” singer and wannabee director David Tao (陶吉吉) and pop idol Mark Chao (趙又廷) both volunteered information that they had involuntarily inhaled “secondhand marijuana” smoke (二手麻). Pop Stop trusts that these two actors won’t encounter the same problems as entertainer Da Bing (大炳), the stage name of Yu Bing-hsian (余炳賢), who became a poster boy for the anti-drug movement only to later be busted for amphetamines in a hotel while allegedly watching porn.
Chen Wang-shi (陳罔市) doesn’t know where to go if she is forced to move. The 78-year-old Chen is an active “sea woman” (海女) in Taiwan’s easternmost fishing village of Makang (馬崗) in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮). When the waves are calm, she ventures out to forage for algae, oysters and other edible marine morsels. She lives alone in the village, as her children have moved to the cities for work, returning for weekends and festivals. “I cannot get used to living in Taipei, and I feel very uncomfortable if I don’t go out to the ocean to forage. I
Your body is floating in a warm, blue bath, neither sinking nor rising. Sunlight shimmers on the white sand below as a sea turtle drifts by. You feel your heart beating slowly and a profound sense of calm floods your mind. The figures floating at the surface seem distant, as if from a different world. Down here, there is just you, your mind, your body, and the water. In this calm, timeless moment, you have glimpsed infinity... you are freediving. The next time you find yourself on Siaoliouciou (小琉球), or on Green Island (綠島), or at any number of popular snorkeling
A widely criticized peer-reviewed study that measured the attractiveness of women with endometriosis has been retracted from the medical journal Fertility and Sterility. The study, “Attractiveness of women with rectovaginal endometriosis: a case-control study,” was first published in 2013 and has been defended by the authors and the journal in the intervening years despite heavy criticism from doctors, other researchers and people with endometriosis for its ethical concerns and dubious justifications, with one advocate calling the study “heartbreaking” and “disgusting.” The study’s conclusion was: “Women with rectovaginal endometriosis were judged to be more attractive than those in the two control groups.
Back in the 1950s, the lifeguards of Bondi Beach, Sydney, were not only charged with rescuing surfers and scanning for sharks. In their role as “beach inspectors” they were also responsible for ensuring that swimsuits conformed to New South Wales state regulations. At least 7.6cm of fabric was required over the thigh, no navels were to be exposed and shoulder straps had to be “sturdy.” One of the best-known beach inspectors was Aubrey Laidlaw, who had already laid down the law when the first bikini debuted on the beach in 1946. By the turn of the 1960s, the “Bikini Wars” were