POP STOP

Compiled By Catherine Shu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Apr 02, 2010 - Page 15

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Top model Lin Chih-lin (林志玲) found herself in a pickle this week after Next Magazine found that she had not paid her National Health Insurance (NHI) dues in more than three years.

Lin had no plans, however, to launch a Taiwanese branch of America’s anti-healthcare reform Tea Party Patriots. The Liberty Times, our sister newspaper, reported that the leggy beauty quickly paid the NT$210,000 she owed. Department of Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) sounded like he had had enough of the media ruckus when he

told the press that “she’s willing to admit that she made a careless oversight and she’s already given us the money.”

The magazine milked Lin’s payment in arrears for all it was worth, devoting four pages to the topic in last week’s issue. The article took a populist slant, writing that while this week’s NHI fee hike could potentially affect 3 million Taiwanese citizens, the monthly fee is mere pocket change for Lin, who reportedly makes more than NT$10 million per year. “A lot of wage earners are heartsick that their wallets will once again have to shed blood,” the gossip rag moaned, before adding “if everyone acted like Lin Chih-llin, the financial black hole would become larger and larger.”

Ironically, Lin was the target of flack five years ago for receiving “VIP treatment” at National Taiwan University Hospital after being thrown from a horse, even though she then paid only the minimum per month fee for NHI coverage. The ensuing ruckus led to several celebrities having their insurance fees raised by the Bureau of National Health Insurance, a provision nicknamed “the Lin Chih-lin clause”

(林志玲條款).

Last week was a banner week for Next in terms of unnamed sources. An anonymous reader, who was also the Department of Health’s source, brought Lin’s financial delinquency to Next’s attention. Another Deep Throat wannabe was the source of several text messages purportedly sent by actress Annie Yi (伊能靜) to her ex-husband Harlem Yu (庾澄慶), begging the singer-songwriter to take her back.

The duo’s marital discord was much publicized in 2009 before their divorce was finally announced in March last year, as was their custody battle for their young son, known in the press as Little Harry (小哈利).

The eight text messages, some of which Next gleefully splashed on its cover, have Yi allegedly groveling to Yu. “I was truly wrong, I hope that one day you’ll be able to forgive me,” one pleads. Next admitted that when it tried to trace the texts to their original online source, it discovered that the Web site had been taken down. Nonetheless, the magazine made a bit of effort to prove the veracity of the messages.

Though the ex-couple have adamantly denied the possibility of a reconciliation, Next insisted that the texts are genuine because they used Yi’s nickname for Yu: “Harry’s old pa” (哈老爸). Some were supposedly sent while Yi was vacationing in New York City (Yi allegedly assured her ex that she “had no night life” and was traveling with female companions only), while another referred to Yu’s recent trip abroad. “I saw that you are going to Bangladesh,” it read. “Be careful of your health and hygiene. Happy New Year!”

Rumors of a reunion started swirling in February, but Yi and Yu have yet to be seen in public together.

Hong Kong super hottie Andy Lau is happily married, but that hasn’t stopped the media from hounding him. Lau and long-time girlfriend Carol Chu (朱麗倩) denied being wed until the press uncovered an online record proving the two had gotten hitched in Nevada nearly two years ago. Since his “secret” marriage was uncovered earlier this year, media attention on the pair has only intensified.

Lau arrived in Taiwan to promote his latest film, Future X-Cops (未來警察), but reporters focused their questions on Lau’s home life and whether he intended to knock Chu up any time soon. One reporter asked if Lau felt any more carefree now that his marriage was out in the open.

Lau sighed, “the pressure has just gotten worse.”

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