Jay Chou (周杰倫) continues his reign in the Mando-pop world, at least judging by the nominations announced last week for this year’s Golden Melody Awards (金曲獎). The Chairman’s latest release, Capricorn (魔杰座), appears in eight categories, including best song, best Mandarin-language album, best composer and best lyricist.
But “Chairman fatigue” may be setting in as the media blitz grows. The Liberty Times, the Taipei Times’ sister paper, reported a mixed reaction on Internet discussion boards to Chou’s dominance at the awards.
Fan responses ranged from “Jay Chou is God, Jay Chou is God” to one suggestion from an online poster: we might as well create “The Jay Awards.” (杰倫獎)
Wang Lee-hom (王力宏) only appeared in two Golden Melody categories for his album Heart Beat (心．跳), but he’s likely preoccupied with a new toy: a used car.
To celebrate his 33rd birthday, which fell on Sunday, Wang bought himself a 10-year-old van for NT$60,000 out of environmental and economic considerations, according to the Liberty Times.
Never mind that the Environmental Protection Administration says a 10-year-old car spews out 35 times more in pollutants than a new car, noted the article.
Isn’t he worried that the ladies won’t approve of a second-hand auto? “I’m not worried,” Wang said. “Whoever I go out with will be into my style.”
After a two-year hiatus, Singaporean Stefanie Sun (孫燕姿) returns with what was reportedly to be a high-tech, huge-budget concert at Taipei Arena (台北巨蛋) last weekend. Industry heavyweights were recruited for the two shows that reportedly cost NT$100 million to put on — NT$6 million alone was spent on the star’s seven outfits designed by William Chang (張叔平).
To raise the level of entertainment, Sun assembled a bevy of big-name guest performers that included her buddy Jolin Tsai (蔡依林). Evidently a loyal friend, Tsai showed off her sexy moves despite her record company placing a temporary ban on her dancing after she injured herself while practicing a pirouette. In return, Su reportedly promised to fix Tsai up with some male action.
The shows proved to be as entertaining as expected, especially Su’s outlandish looks that channeled, variously, a cream cake, a teen-girl space warrior and a lobster-red creature from outer space.
There are rumors that Faye Wang (王菲), who made a meteoric rise to fame in 1990s, will be making a comeback. Speculation has been fueled by a report on Sina.com that the pop diva has signed on to do an advertising spot for an unnamed hair products company. Reports on a number of Chinese-language Web sites put her commission for this gig at approximately NT$100 million, a sum that breaks previous records for celebrity endorsements in China.
Images posted on the site show Wang in a golden outfit very reminiscent of Gong Li’s (鞏俐) outfit in The Curse of the Golden Flower (滿城盡帶黃金甲). This is a massive turnaround from news earlier this month about Wang performing chants from the Heart Sutra (心經) at the Famen Temple (法門寺) in Xian (西安), and photos of her draped in a hieratic white gown, hair neatly pulled back from her face.
The news of the advertising gig was quickly followed by a report on Newssc.org, a China Web site, that the next step in her comeback will be a staring role in a Feng Xiaogang’s (馮小剛) new movie about the great Tangshan earthquake of 1976, in which an estimated 242,000 people lost their lives. The figure of about NT$386 million has been bandied about for her role. The ad’s official release, slated for early next month, is awaited with baited breath.
Singer Eason Chan (陳奕迅), a good friend of Wang’s, said in an interview with Ifeng.com, that he was completely taken by surprise by Wang’s move, saying that these days, “She lives like a farmer. She goes to bed at eight (in the evening). It’s really difficult for a night owl like me to meet up with her.” If there is anything in the flurry of rumors about a comeback, Wang’s early bedtime will quickly become a thing of the past.
One of the most delightful developments of the last decade has been the emergence of a whole continent of English-language commentary on Taiwan, rising from the sea like the island itself, along with major changes in the commentary ecosystem. In the early 2000s, there wasn’t a whole lot out there, outside the mainstream media pieces and occasional long-form thinkpieces in magazines, and what was there was largely male. There were few female writers aside from a number of very good reporters. PLURALITY OF VOICES Today, by contrast, we have a wealth of skilled and informed female journalists, commentators and writers including
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