Sat, Apr 02, 2011 - Page 16 News List

Pop Stop

Compiled by Ho Yi  /  Staff Reporter

The lavish press coverage of Barbie Hsu (徐熙媛, aka Big S) and Chinese restaurateur Wang Xiaofei’s (汪小菲) wedding on China’s Hainan Island on Tuesday last week quickly degenerated into finger-pointing and bitter obloquies this week.

Taiwanese media were up in arms because CEO of Chinese news portal Sohu.com, Zhang Chaoyang (張朝陽), who attended the nuptials as an invited guest, reported live from inside the event while other journalists had to brave scorching sun and mosquitoes to snap blurry photographs as they were cordoned off some distance away from the luxurious ceremony.

Having become the subject of fevered gossip since her engagement to multimillionaire Wang in October, Big S repeatedly said she wanted a “low-key” wedding, which meant no paparazzi. But since the wedding’s date and location were no secret, more than 100 reporters from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China assembled at the city of Sanya on Hainan Island to cover the ceremony.

Complaints from members of the media started when 50 security guards and police officers cleared the way for the couple’s guests to arrive on a charted flight.

Left waiting in vain outside the closely guarded beach resort where the ceremony took place, gossip hounds from the Apply Daily intrepidly traversed a foul-smelling junkyard and forest to find a spot from which to observe the ceremony through their telephoto lenses.

Wang’s mother, businesswoman Zhang Lan (張蘭), gave journalists NT$14 lunch boxes which, when compared with the swanky banquet enjoyed by the rich and the famous, seemed like handouts for “refugees,” quipped the Apple Daily.

At around 7pm, the bride’s sister, Dee Hsu (徐熙娣, aka Little S), and close friends Kevin Tsai (蔡康永), Christine Fan (范瑋琪) and Charles Chen (陳建州, better known as Blackie) were sent out for an interview session and tried to pacify the assembled media with witty words and jokes.

But the meeting soon descended into acrimony when the crowd of impatient reporters, who were told that Big S would show up at the interview but were then stood up, started hurling profanities.

At around 5pm — about five hours after the ceremony began — the bride supplied two photos of the wedding that did not even show the groom’s face clearly. The last straw was the online live report by Zhang, the groom’s friend-turned-enemy.

A journo from the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) concluded that that the whole experience was that of a “disaster” and that the treatment she received was “only slightly better than in disaster areas.”

Two days after the media fiasco, the newlyweds attempted to make good by threatening to take the matter to court if Zhang did not issue a public apology for invading their privacy. The CEO, however, refused, saying he had posted photographs of the wedding on Sohu’s microblog at t.sina.com.cn, the Twitter of the Chinese-speaking world, with the “acknowledgement of the groom’s family,” and put away his camera after being told to do so later in the evening.

Meanwhile, actress Kelly Lin (林熙蕾) tied the knot with entrepreneur Chris Young (楊晨) in the Maldives on Monday. Apple Daily paparazzi crashed the beach wedding, which was attended by 30 family members and close friends, but were greeted by the 37-year-old actress and her 39-year-old husband with smiles and a short interview.

Comparing Lin’s intimate nuptials with Big S’ extravagance, which was attended by some 300 guests on the bride’s side alone, the Chinese-language media said Big S has a lot to learn from Lin when it comes to holding a real “low-key” wedding.

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