News From Abroad
China - the new glamourpuss
Miss Ireland, Rosanna Davison, was crowned Miss World 2003 last Saturday in communist China. This is the first time China has ever held an international beauty pageant.
Miss Canada, Nazanin Afshin, was runner up and Qi Guan, Miss China, was second runner up. This would be the third time China has attempted to grab the title of Miss World.
International film star, Jackie Chan and Candace Bushnell, author of "Sex and the City" were on the panel of judges at this year's competition.
During China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), such an event would not only have expressed Western liberalization of sex roles but would also have been deemed counter-revolutionary. Women were not allowed to wear makeup or do anything that embraced Western notions of feminine beauty. Indeed, China has come a long way since the Cultural Revolution, with not only beauty pageants but also with modeling contests, runway fashion shows, and cosmetic surgery, which is now popular in both Beijing and Shanghai.
Nicholas Tse and Jay Chou each plan a solo concert in Shanghai
Cantonese pop sensation, Nicholas Tse, plans to invade Shanghai in December with his first solo performance since his well-publicized conviction last March, in which he was caught up in a car crash cover-up and sentenced to 240-hours of community service.
"Nicholas Tse 2003 Live Shanghai" will showcase more than 20 of Tse's songs. Among those will be numbers like, "Thanks For Your Love,'' "Because of Love'' and "Jade Butterfly.'' As part of the performance, Tse will be dressed in a white costume with a pair of wings to show that he is simply a fallen angel who has returned to resurrect himself (from his conviction). Eason Chan, pop singer and Tse's best friend, will be the only guest performer at the concert.
Known for his sensual love ballads and soft R&B tunes, Jay Chou, will also be playing Shanghai on December 12th.
"Never By Rules -- Jay Chou Live Shanghai'' will feature 30 of his most famous songs, including "Tornado,'' "Love Before the Century,'' as well as hits featured in his latest album, "Yeh Hui-mei."
"Sing to the Dawn" - Singapore's first full-length animated feature
It's going to cost Singapore S$2.5 million to make "Sing to the Dawn," Singapore's first full-length animated feature.
The film, which is based on a children's book by Minfong Ho, is about a young Thai village girl named Dawn, who battles prejudices as she attempts to advance her education in the city.
Directed by Frank Saperstein, "Sing to the Dawn" will use 2-D cartoons fused with new technologies in 3-D animation, in an attempt to save costs and ensure flexibility. The process works like this. Live actors will be used in the feature and their moves will be captured. The final product will combine the 2-D cartoons with the 3-D moves. According to Saperstein, the movie will take a year and a half to make and is expected to be released in 2005.
2004 MTV Asia Awards
On Valentine's Day, February 14, 2004, MTV Asia will hold its music awards ceremony at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The event will honor both regional and international musical talent with a theme based on love. Seven thousand spectators are expected to be in attendance and the event will broadcast to over 150 million viewers in the Asia-Pacific region.
The awards will include a total of 19 categories with 16 of them voted on by viewers and fans. Votes will be accumulated from 9 countries in the region - China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Dido has already signed on to perform and she is a nominee in the Favorite Female Artist category.
"I'm Made in China" takes on Guangzhou, China
"I'm Made in China" and Sun Nan were among some of the performers who played at a recent concert in Guangzhou, China. The concert was sponsored by MTV China.
With upbeat punk tunes and rock heavy chords, "I'm Made in China" enjoyed a warm welcome, especially when female lead singer Ai Jing sang to the crowd, "I'm Made in China/They say that China's really backward/I'm made in China/They say that China's getting better."
"I'm Made in China's" uplifting and optimistic lyrics are ushering in a new ideology in Chinese youth music. Faced with a past of political upheaval and poverty, China's future is looking much better. The economy is booming to the point that China is now the fastest growing economy in the world. Kids in China are no longer embracing Western music; they are listening to their "own" music and appreciating their cultural roots.
Carol Lai Mui-suet's "The Floating Landscape"
Cantonese filmmaker Carol Lai Mui-suet's latest feature, "The Floating Landscape," is receiving tremendous buzz in Asia right now due to Taiwanese illustrator Jimmy Liao who has contributed some of his drawings to the film. Liao is well known for his ability to capture the human emotion in vivid colors and dream-like quality in his illustrated books.
Liao's illustrations are used both in the film and in a 30 second animated epilogue.
This is the only film Hong Kong has submitted for this year's Festival de Cannes.
The story is about a young woman (Karena Lam) who is emotionally confronted with the death of her artist boyfriend. Before his death, he had visions of a landscape, of which he drew. Karena goes on a journey to search for this landscape. On her journey, she meets a postman (actor Liu Ye) who sympathizes with her grief and decides to help her with her search.
"The Floating Landscape" cost nearly US$1.3 million to make and should be appearing soon in select U.S. theaters.
8th Asian Television Awards
The 8th Asian Television Awards was held last week as part of the week-long Asia Media Festival 2003, which was hosted by the Media Development Authority of Singapore.
To recap the major awards:
MediaCorp TV brought home an astonishing seven awards. Channel 5, which is apart of MediaCorp, won the Terrestrial Channel of the Year award. Gurmit Singh came out on top when he won the Best Comedy Performance by an Actor for "PCK Pte Ltd", a TV sitcom that also won this year's Best Comedy Program award.
On the opposite end, actress Lydia Sum from Hong Kong won the Best Comedy Performance by an Actress for her performance in "Living with Lydia." The Best Drama Performance by an Actress award was won by Vernetta Lopez for "Ceciliation."
"The Singapore Short Story Project", whose production was commissioned by MediaCorp, grabbed the Best Drama Series award. Finally, The Best General News Program was won by the Straits Times News.
Mu Zimei banned
Twenty-five year old provocative sex columnist Mu Zimei, is the Chinese version of Carrie Bradshaw from the television series, "Sex and the City."
Her columns and sex blogs have attracted over 10 million daily visitors. Beating Mao Zedong as the name most typed into search engines; Zimei has been at the center of debate surrounding the issues of writing about sex on the Internet. In one of her blogs, she wrote quite descriptively about sleeping with over 70 men. This week, her book was banned by the Chinese government.
According to Zimei, she never thought her online diaries would have such mass appeal, snowballing into what is now a national controversy. She hopes this controversy will soon end. She just wants peace and her social life back.
December 12, 2003