Private information leaked onto the Internet has provided ample material for Taiwan’s gossip rags, but the most recent scandal surrounding the posting of transsexual TV host Li Ching’s (利菁) medical history on a public Web site has hit all kinds of nerves in the entertainment and media industries.
The entertainer, whose real name is Regine Wu Ming-enn
(吳明恩), has repeatedly claimed to have been a hermaphrodite who opted to become a woman. She has long insisted that while she did not plan on having children, she was physically capable of becoming pregnant. A medical report from the doctor who is said to have performed the surgery claims that Wu was a man who had a sex-change operation.
Wu has consistently stated that she is a woman, and has rebuffed all suggestions that she is in fact a transsexual. The controversy surrounding her claims has even led local transsexual artist Hsue-er (雪兒) and South Korean transsexual star Harisu (河莉秀) to attack her for not supporting her own. The new revelations refute Wu’s own story of starting life as a hermaphrodite, but she has vehemently denied any acquaintance with the doctor Chang Chi-Chung (張啟中), whose article detailing Wu’s sex-change procedure was posted online.
The Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported Wednesday that the Department of Health (衛生署) would investigate Chang’s behavior, which may be considered illegal. Chang insists that he published the details in a specialist journal for the benefit of medical professionals, and has no idea how the material was disseminated on the Internet.
The leak and the subsequent media frenzy over details of Wu’s sex change (which, let’s face it, is just a minor twist on what is pretty much old news) follows in the wake of revelations earlier in the week that model and aspiring actress Alicia Liu (劉薰愛) was also a man. The revelation was made by a high school classmate. Liu held a press conference on Jan. 15 to reveal that she had undergone a sex change at 18, stating that she was happy with the way she was now. Liu has won overwhelming support from colleagues in the entertainment industry.
Big S (大S), otherwise known as Barbie Hsu (徐熙媛), has taken a step on a new career path. Despite negative reviews for her television soap Summer of Bubbles (泡沫之夏), in which she stars together with TV idol Peter Ho (何潤東), Chinese interests have approached Hsu and her leading man as product spokespersons for a range of wedding apparel. According to Next Magazine, the deal is worth NT$10 million each.
Hsu has also hit the headlines for a series of new pro-vegetarian ads for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia. One poster features Hsu striking an assertive pose in unbuttoned cut-off shorts and a rack-enhancing tank top with the words “Powered by Tofu” against a slogan “I Am Barbie Hsu, and I Am a Vegetarian.” A second poster has her in cute mode and cuddling up to a little piglet, with the words “Compassion is beautiful. Go vegetarian.”
“Animals are like my brothers and sisters, my friends and my family,” the TV personality said in a PETA statement. Hsu was voted Asia’s Sexiest Vegetarian woman in PETA’s 2009 poll, so whether or not her endorsement is going to turn the otaku hordes of Taiwan into passionate chickpea-munching animal lovers, is certainly something to watch. The unbuttoned shorts are clearly the key.
On a lighter note, the Liberty Times reported that the cute little piglet shat on Hsu’s whiter-than-white boob-tube during the shoot. With her usual candor, Hsu immediately announced to the assemble crew, “This ain’t my shit.” (這不是我拉的屎！) The piglet, which had initially been called Bacon, was subsequently re-christened Da Da (大大), baby talk for poo.
Janet Hsieh (謝怡芬), host of Fun Taiwan (瘋台灣) is marking her arrival as a serious force in Taiwan’s entertainment industry with the publication of a volume of autobiography titled Traveling With 100 Toothbrushes (帶一百支牙刷去旅行). The big revelation is that — yawn — she still gives her heart to her first boyfriend from her MIT days, and that she fails to gush sycophantically over her agent, former lover and the guy who pretty much made her the celebrity she is today — Tim Li (李景白). As much as Pop Stop disapproves of her efforts to rival Big S and others in foxy appeal, we still say: More power to her.
Last week the Transitional Justice Commission proposed taking down the statue of Chang Kai-shek (蔣介石) at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in central Taipei. It depicted the move as part of a plan for excising markers of authoritarianism from the park. The most important task, the commission said, would be removing the hall’s “axis of worship,” the 6.3m-tall bronze statue of Chiang. Let us hope that if and when that obscenity is finally removed from the memorial, it is placed in the famed Cihu Memorial Sculpture Garden in Taoyuan’s Dasi District (大溪), where it can be properly mocked for all eternity. CHIANG,
The pandemic seems to be far from over, but the Post Pandemic Renaissance Theater (PPRT) is getting a head start by putting on its first event last Friday: the first round of the Taiwan Monologue Slam. Ten contestants delivered passionate and nuanced pieces on stage, and the audience voted with their phones for two winners who will advance to the local finals in November. There will be four finals in the next year, and each winner is automatically entered into the World Monologue Games regional finals, bypassing the preliminaries. The goal is to eventually get a Taiwan team to next summer’s games,
In an industrial unit on the outskirts of Taipei chefs are plating meals that will never be served in a restaurant: welcome to the world of “ghost kitchens.” Even before the pandemic sent an earthquake through the global restaurant trade, the “Amazonification” of commercial kitchens was well underway, but coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions have fueled explosive growth in Asia. The recent boom in food delivery apps meant customers were already used to having restaurant quality meals quickly delivered to their homes. To meet that demand a growing number of restaurants set up delivery only kitchens — also known as “cloud kitchens”
Worried his appearance would detract from opportunities in China’s competitive society, Xia Shurong decided to go under the surgeon’s knife to reshape his nose — one of millions of young men in the country turning to cosmetic surgery. The 27-year-old researcher wanted medical procedures to transform his look from “engineering geek” to something he thinks will boost his life chances. Beauty standards in China can be exacting, from pressure over skin tone, eye and nose shape to the controversial “little fresh meat” look — a buzzword used to describe handsome young men with delicate features. “I feel I should be ‘fresh meat’