No respect for the dead: That was the verdict laid upon newscaster Liang Fang-yu (梁芳瑜), whose recent comedic pursuits have backfired. The veteran anchor and producer with Chinese Television System (CTS, 華視) lost her job after a controversial segment in which she parodied an emotionally distraught North Korean television newscaster announcing the death of Kim Jong-il.
Liang, who was billed CTS’ “presidential elections special reporter” (大選情報員), donned traditional Korean attire and delivered the day’s campaign news in Mandarin with a fake Korean accent. Her report aired on the same day Kim’s death was announced.
The National Communications Commission wasn’t amused and gave CTS a public slap on the wrist. But viewers were equally outspoken about their disapproval, as reported by the China Times and the Apple Daily, both of which complained about the “entertainment-ization” (綜藝化) of CTS, which is a public service television station. Both papers raised the example of CTS’ young female weather newscasters, who dress in short skirts and “princess outfits” to deliver the day’s forecast.
While badly timed and in poor taste, Liang’s piece was nothing new. Silly costumes appear to have been her trademark in covering the campaigns for the 2012 presidential election. In past segments (all of which can be viewed on YouTube), she has dressed up as a fruit vendor, a cleaning lady and, as the China Times noted with disdain, a female samurai.
But Liang’s real problem could be that she just isn’t very funny. Her parody of Ri Chun-hee, the stern North Korean newscaster, was hardly original.
Ri, who is famously known as “the People’s broadcaster” and is the subject of fascination as one of North Korea’s few celebrities, was spoofed in a series of skits last year by comedian Tai Chih-yuan (邰智源) on the popular show The Largest Political Party (全民最大黨). That program, as it happens, is also on the NCC’s watch list.
Back in the “real” entertainment world, Jerry Yan (言承旭) has hurt his finger. The heartthrob actor-singer broke a joint in his right index finger while playing basketball a few months ago, according to the Apple Daily, which spotted Yan at Show Chwan Memorial Hospital (秀傳紀念醫院) in Changhwa earlier this week.
The paper reported that Yan, who is working on a new film, has been making regular visits for treatment. He has difficulty even writing with a pen and will have to undergo surgery if the injury doesn’t heal within three months, the Apple said.
And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, enter Taiwanese supermodel Lin Chi-ling (林志玲), who is rumored to have rekindled a fire for Yan.
When reporters broke the news of Yan’s misfortune to Lin at a promotional event in Taichung, she was visibly moved, the Apple Daily noted, and relayed a message to him: “Please, [get well, get well, get well]! (請加油、加油、加油！) I will be sending you a lot of positive energy, and hope you are in good health.” When asked if she would be calling or texting Yan soon, she said “Yes, I will.”
The moment was encapsulated by a headline from our sister paper the Liberty Times that read “Jerry Yan is injured, Lin Chi-ling sends him a [get well] message of love.” (言承旭手傷 林志玲送愛的加油).
But it wasn’t just Lin’s concern that had gossip media heads spinning. She quashed some long-standing rumors about her past romances, telling reporters that contrary to reports, she was not making regular visits to the toliet magnate parents of Scott Chiu (邱士楷), a rumored past lover. She also said that she never dated IT tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘).