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Look Beyond The Bikini

14 May

SINGAPORE : Talk about being sporting.

High-jumping into the spirit of the Olympics, MediaCorp TV Channel 8 will roll out a new sports-themed drama, Beach.Ball.Babes, on July 7, just before the Beijing Games kick off on August 8.

The 20-episode drama about volleyball boasts a “royal” cast that includes former beauty queens Joanne Peh and Jade Seah, two of MediaCorp’s “princesses” Jesseca Liu and Dawn Yeoh, as well as Fann Wong’s groom-to-be, Christopher Lee.

Another volleyball show, you ask?

Well, it has been years since Chen Liping was seen in The Winning Team. Besides, this latest take serves up a lot more eye candy as a lot of the action takes place at the beach which means beach babes Joanne, Jade and Jesseca will be steaming up your TV screens in their bikinis.

But sports has always had a firm place in local Chinese dramas, from 1980’s Flying Fish which starred one-time TV poster boy Wang Yuqing to the more recent The Champions (2004), featuring hot young stars like Fiona Xie and Felicia Chin.

“We try to do one or two sports dramas every year,” Kok Len Shoong, MediaCorp’s Senior Vice-President for Chinese Drama Productions, told Today. “This year, it’s especially significant because of the Olympics.”

So, why volleyball, or beach volleyball, to be precise?

“Beach volleyball is a new item at the Olympics. We think it’ll be of great interest to our viewers,” Kok explained.

Channel News Asia

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Making A Mess Out Of Life – Twice

28 Apr

SINGAPORE : Get your tissues out next week because you’re going to need it – if you can understand the plot of this new Chinese drama series, that is.

Debuting on May 5 is the plot-twisting, emotionally-charged MediaCorp TV Channel 8 drama Rhythm of Life. With a plot reminiscent of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sliding Doors, this 20-part series boasts of a star-studded cast including Christopher Lee, Elvin Ng, Jesseca Liu and Jeanette Aw.

The drama revolves around the lives and loves of a guy and his two friends. Friend A’s sister loves Guy, but Guy loves Girl – who Friend A is in love with, as well. Friend B, however, loves Friend A’s sister, thus forming a love rectangle bound for disaster.

Friend A’s sister then dies in an accident, but because Guy’s too busy chasing Girl, he misses his opportunity to save Friend A’s sister, changing everybody’s lives. Guy is whisked back to the past – just before the accident-prone sister kicks it – for a chance to make things right.

Rhythm of Life is touted as the series that will give your tear ducts a workout. After all, the trailer, shown at the press conference held at Sinema at Old School on Thursday, featured all the male leads in teary-eyed close-ups that spilled dramatically into full-on sobbing.

Hey, real men also cry, okay? –

Channel News Asia

Drama Queen – Jade Seah

25 Feb

SINGAPORE: Jade Seah is getting her just desserts for not paying more attention in Chinese class back in school.

The 2006 Miss Singapore Universe first runner-up and TV host has landed her very first acting role in a Chinese drama about volleyball players, and she’s hard at work, taking lessons to polish her less-than-perfect Mandarin.

Dressed in a mini denim skirt and a fitting pullover, Jade was speaking to TODAY at Caldecott Broadcasting Centre just before scooting off for volleyball practice.

Of course, we had to cajole her into answering a question in Mandarin.

“Cannot lah!” she protested, even after we told her it would be “off the record”. “Don’t bluff, your recorder is still going!”

But she eventually relented: “Okay, ask me something simple – like what I like to eat.”

Of course, we spared her blushes for being such a sport – plus, she let us in on this sneak peek: She and co-stars Joanne Peh, Jesseca Liu and Dawn Yeoh would be appearing in bikinis in the new drama (it begins filming in April and is slated to air later this year).

“I think there’s one scene where we’ll have to walk through a market in our bikini tops,” she said.

Maybe then nobody will notice how her Mandarin is after all.

Channel News Asia

Caldecott Royalty Does The Fann-Cy Talk

6 Feb

SINGAPORE: Oh yes, Fann Wong is definitely in the mood for love. “I want that rose! It’s beautiful!” she gushed with excitement.

Then, she added coyly: “Valentine’s Day is coming … ”

Take a hint, Chris. And get your cheque book out.

The rose that has captured the heart of the Princess of MediaCorp is no ordinary flower – it’s really a painting titled Life Like Flower No 1 by renown Chinese artist Feng Zhen Jie, and it costs a whopping S$400,000.

“I’d like to receive that on Valentine’s Day. If not, then never mind,” said the actress, mock sniffing, before breaking into faux evil laughter.

It was 9.45 on a Monday morning when Fann met TODAY for this interview, and she was early. She had, in fact, been up since 5am to prep for her interview on Channel News-Asia’s Prime Time Morning, and it was to be a busy, busy day ahead – more promotional work for her latest movie, Jack Neo’s Ah Long Pte Ltd, followed by rehearsals for MediaCorp TV Channel 8’s Chinese New Year countdown show.

Yet, the actress, who just turned 37 two weekends ago, looked fresh as dew, and not a year older than 30. She looked a million bucks – even with minimal make-up – in a flirty white bareback Loewe dress under a matching white leather jacket.

Clearly in high spirits, Fann was uncharacteristically – for a superstar – candid and open, yakking and joking away without reservation.

“As long as the questions are not too personal, I’m okay with it,” she said, flashing her charming megawatt smile.

We took the opportunity to venture into personal waters and asked her why she seems much more open about her relationship with her actor beau Christopher Lee these days, and she teased: “I’ll kiss him back this year (at the Star Awards)!”

We pushed our luck a little further and asked her what her boyfriend thought of her “fanny-baring” scene in Ah Long Pte Ltd (for which she didn’t think it was “necessary to use my body”, so what you’ll be seeing is her butt double).

She volunteered impishly: “I wanted to pull his leg and tell him that it is going to be my butt just to test his reaction … and to see if he’d recognise that it’s not really my butt.”

My oh my. This is not the kind of talk we were expecting from the notoriously private Caldecott royalty who has starred in Hollywood movies alongside international celebrities like Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson and Maggie Q. But who’s complaining?

Behind that glamorous facade, Fann proved to be a goodie-bag full of surprises. We even found out that she sneaks into local cinemas to watch the occasional movie.

“I do! I just go. I don’t care,” she said.

You just celebrated your 37th birthday two weekends ago. Are you feeling the pressure of growing old in an industry that’s constantly thirsty for youthful beauty?

Is it my 37th? I’ve lost count! Age hasn’t bothered me since I turned 21, when I was really happy. I enjoy being where I am now.

I mean, you don’t want be in your 20s forever. I’d be very afraid if I had to keep doing the same things I did in my 20s. You grow older, you get to know yourself better and you become more confident. And I think it’s wonderful to have young people coming onboard the entertainment scene. New blood is a good boost for a small industry like ours.

So you don’t feel threatened by the so-called “Seven Princesses” of MediaCorp (Fiona Xie, Felicia Chin, Joanne Peh, Jeanette Aw, Rui En, Jesseca Liu and Dawn Yeoh) nipping at your Christian Louboutins?

I look at it very positively. You need a new face to represent every era. Yeah, I think every one of (the princesses) stands a very good chance.

I’m just very lucky as I happened to be in right place at the right time, meeting the right people. So, just three words of advice: ‘Hard work’ and ‘luck’.

Do you see yourself “stepping down” and retiring soon?

Being the free spirit I am, I think I’ll quit as and when there are no more fun and challenging roles left for me to play. Or, when I feel that there is something else that needs me to focus on, I’ll move on. It could happen tomorrow. Much as I love what I do, you never know ῅ passion can go out in a split second giving way to another.

Like family and motherhood, perhaps?

Maybe! I don’t know! Of course I’d like to have children. Ideally, if I can afford it, I would like to have enough children to form a football team!

But at the moment, time just doesn’t allow it. So, I’ll let nature take its course. I think I have ample time before I should start worrying.

As someone who can probably have anything you want, what is one thing you can’t have right now?

That’s not true! I can’t have that beautiful painting by Feng Zhen Jie (Life Like Flower No 1). It costs S$400,000! There’s nothing else I want.

Okay, seriously, I believe in being contented with what you have and being grateful … But I still want that art piece! I am going to steal it! –

Channel News Asia

This Is For My Ex-Wife

11 Dec

SINGAPORE: Huang Yiliang did it again – made another controversial speech involving former wife Lin Meijiao.

At Sunday night’s Star Awards, which were held at the St James Power Station for the first time, Yiliang won the Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in the drama Women of Times.

When he went on stage to accept the award, he said he wanted to give the award to Meijiao. In the same speech, he also thanked his current wife. It was a speech that raised eyebrows, not least due to the little-known fact that he has remarried.

In 2003, when he won the same award, Yiliang mentioned Meijiao in his thank-you speech, comparing her to a giraffe and saying her neck had grown from yearning for an award.

Meijiao was not present at Sunday night’s show.

Backstage, Yiliang lost his cool when quizzed him about the speech.

“Meijiao is more talented than me but she doesn’t have my luck,” he said. “I’ve always wanted her to win something so I’d like to give this award to her.”

He claimed he was simply voicing the wish of his daughter with Meijiao. He has been married for three years to Lily Liu.

“When I made that speech in 2003, I only had good intentions. I regret that it’s a joke that fell flat, I shouldn’t have made it.”

Visibly annoyed, he added: “Do you know how influential the media is? If you write bad stuff about me, that’s the end of me. Please spare me. I don’t have any bad intentions.”

Meanwhile, the Best Actor and Actress Awards were won by Li Nanxing and Ivy Lee, respectively, while Hong Huifang nabbed the Best Supporting Actress Award. Bryan Wong won Best Variety Show Host, while Kelvin Tan won Most Popular Newcomer.

The top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes were: Christopher Lee, Gurmit Singh, Tay Ping Hui, Vincent Ng, Edmund Chen, Qi Yuwu, Mark Lee, Kelvin Tan, Elvin Ng and Bryan Wong.

As for the women, the top 10 were Kym Ng, Huang Biren, Xiang Yun, Rui En, Michelle Chia, Jeanette Aw, Felicia Chin, Fiona Xie, Quan Yifeng and Jesseca Liu. – TODAY

Channel News Asia