Thu, Dec 31, 2009 - Page 14 News List

YEAR IN REVIEW: Pop Stop

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

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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.

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