Thursday, February 03, 2005

[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 03/02/05]

The international recruitment campaign for the 2005 Miss Hong Kong pageant will be taking place between 8th and 28th February, under the slogan "Believe in Yourself as the Most Beautiful". A press conference detailing the process was held yesterday and attended by last years winners Kate Tsui, Queenie Chu and Fu Sze Sze together with the contest supervisors Ho Lai Chuen and Rosa Chan and producer Wai Sai Fai.

Ho Lai Chuen indicated that this year's campaign will be extended from last year's Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles activities to cover Europe, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. However the overall number of international contestants will not be increased and will be maintained at 5-6 people. Mr Ho says that he feels that in the past, the overseas contestants have achieved good results, so this campaign has risen in importance over the years and the company will begin by sending representatives to North America in March to conduct interviews and auditions. Last year's contest shed the semi-final in order to tie in with the Olympic Games coverage and whether it will be the same again this year is still under consideration along with the location of the international shoot, but the final will be taking place in mid-August at the Hong Kong Coliseum.

Kate revealed that she has many aunties who wish for their daughters to take part in the pageant, but they are afraid because they have never come into contact with the television industry. She would encourage them that the most important thing is to be confident. Talking of her experiences from taking part in last year's contest, Kate says that the biggest change for her was that in the past she rarely wore dresses and high heels, but after winning, she has had to wear heels more often than trainers. When Kate was asked if she was annoyed that she did not reach the top three at Miss Chinese International, hence appearing to frown on the cameras, she explains: "Maybe I just wasn't smiling at that point. I will smile more in the future."

Kate will be heading out to Sapporo in Japan on Saturday to take part in their snow festival, returning on Lunar New Year's Eve to have dinner with her family.


[Ta Kung Pao, Oriental Daily & The Sun 03/02/05]

TVB's managed artistes gathered together two nights ago for their end of year dinner and among the fifty people taking part were Roger Kwok, Jessica Hsuan, Charmaine Sheh, Raymond Lam, Frankie Lam, Moses Chan, Winnie Yeung, Michelle Ye, Tavia Yeung, Shirley Yeung, Bernice Liu, Linda Chung and Melissa Ng. Many TVB executives also took part, including Leung Nai Pang, Ho Ding Kwan, Stephen Chan Chi Wan, Lok Yee Ling and Catherine Tsang. Although Bowie has not yet signed officially with TVB, the deal has been 90% struck, so he was present and Myolie Wu, Bosco Wong, Gigi Lai and Anne Heung were in the midst of filming, so they appeared in their costumes.

Myolie and Bosco even had to leave before the food was served, so the restaurant prepared some noodles for them to eat beforehand. Before the meal, the artistes were split into three teams for a greetings design contest, judged by Mr Chan and Ms Lok. The contest was won by Bowie and Shirley's team, who wrote: "Year of the Chicken brings lots of money, highest ratings and the best development." Of course, the judges were attracted by the words "highest ratings"!

Mr Ho will be retiring at the end of April and this is the last annual dinner that he will be attending. He comments that it is time for him to let the new blood take over as there is so much talent in the company. When asked if he has made enough for retirement, he smiles: "I am sixty years old now, so of course I hope to take time out and go travelling. As for whether I have made enough, everyone has different needs and I just feel that after so many years working, I am starting to get tired and it is time to put work aside. (Will you miss the job?) I can't really say, everyone has experiences and it is all about attitudes." Although TVB staff have been issued bonuses worth half a month's pay, there has not been an overall pay rise announced, with only individual performance based considerations.

Myolie and Bowie have just returned from Atlantic City and responding to reports that Sheren Tang only had a 30% turnout for her show, Myolie says that she was more fortunate with almost a sell out show. This was her first trip to the city and she just went to take a look at the casinos, so she did not gamble. Bowie has not yet signed officially for TVB, but he says that he was invited to the dinner by Ms Lok and Catherine, so he has to accept their sincerity. When asked if he is afraid of following in Sheren Tang's footsteps with her rumours of being 'frozen' by TVB, Bowie says that he does not know what happened to her, but respect is up to other people to give, whereas embarrassment is brought on by oneself.

Gigi is currently filming for "Rouge and Powder" and as she has a heavy role in the show, nearly every scene has her in it and it has been hard work. Sometimes, she has only been getting two hours sleep for four nights in a row and even if she can sleep a little more on the fifth night, she is still unable to ease her exhaustion and as a result, her cough has not got better. At the dinner event, Gigi still seemed to look very fresh and it was commented that she is coping very well. When she heard this, she immediately said: "Don't say that, otherwise they will make me work even longer before I get time to rest!" As she is busy filming, she has not been able to complete two commitments in for promotional events China and two commitments in Hong Kong. As a result, her sponsors have sent her feedback that if she does not fulfil her obligation, then they will find someone else and demand their deposits back.

Rumoured couple Moses Chan and Bernice Liu seemed to avoid each other at first when they met at the meal, not only not talking to each other, but also standing far away from each other to avoid being snapped together by the press. However, by coincidence or deliberate arrangement, or maybe showing that they have an underlying fate, they ended up in the same team for the greeting design competition and as they got absorbed into the activity, they ended up standing beside each other anyway. Afterwards, they did talk and laugh with each other. As they have both been educated abroad, their creations went well together, combining a mixture of Chinese and English greetings.

Winnie was propping up her belly at the dinner and she says that since falling pregnant, she has gained 15 lbs, so she can no longer wear the clothe she had at home. She has been for a scan earlier and they revealed that she is carrying a daughter, but to be sure, she will be going for another scan soon. As her belly is now the size of a watermelon, her husband jokes that they should name their daughter "Melon". She also says that her pregnancy has not been as hard work as she had expected, so she plans to possibly have some more children.

Seeing Winnie's belly, Roger and Jessica couldn't resist stroking it and laughed that it felt good. When it was mentioned that Roger could make a baby for himself, he laughed: "It is not so easy because there is so much to plan, not around dates, but around finances. I have only just made myself a little pot of money, so I have to save a little more. Paul Chun who has been giving me tips on how to manage my money. (Isn't this best being handed over to a woman to do?) There is a chance, I will gradually let her look after it." As Roger will soon be filming the sequel to "Square Pegs", he has gained 6 lbs recently and he laughs that without having to limit his food, he has been very happy!

During the group photocall, Catherine called out to last years Favourite Male and Female Lead Role award winners Gigi and Bowie to stand in the middle, with TVB's male 'Top Dog' Roger being pushed to one side. Later when he was called to stand beside Bowie, the smile returned to Roger's face. He later indicated that he was fine before excitedly chatting away to Winnie and Jessica.


[Ta Kung Pao & Oriental Daily 03/02/05]

Combining a traditional singing competition with reality TV, TVB's new creation "The Cruellest Bell" began recording yesterday afternoon and General Manager Stephen Chan was there to lend his support. The hosts Hacken Lee and Joey Leung have high expectations for the show and hopes that it will go on to become a long running series.

Hacken laughs that all the contestants have amazing hidden talents and his role in the show is to stir up their emotions, but he will not make personal attacks. When asked which of yesterday's contestants left him with the deepest impression, Hacken would not reveal this because he feels this would be unfair to the other contestants. Hacken says: "Many contestants have come prepared and they all have their talents, able to dance and sings. I am confident that they will have the audience in stitches." As for suggestions that the singers are making clowns of themselves, the two hosts both deny this, saying: "Definitely not! Our ultimate aim is for them to win more prize money." As for whether there will be guest performers on the show, Hacken says that the second episode will have Andy Lau on and this will be followed by Joey Yung, Gigi Leung and Alan Tam. As well as performing, they will also be helping out with the 'dings'.

Eleven contestants were featured in yesterday's show and altogether they amassed singing time of 458 seconds. In other words, TVB handed out prize money of $45,800. All the singers were very absorbed and the winner on the night was 'Kenneth Fok lookalike Kwan Ho Yeung and his Latin Dancing, who sung "Lady Marmalade" for 75 seconds, winning $7,500. Currently studying in Form 6 of high school, 18 year old Ho Yeung took time off from school to take part and says that he has been doing Latin dance for 12 years. He is not worried about his schoolmates mocking him because this is an artform. In line with the forthcoming new year, Ho Yeung also won a gold chicken figure and will be invited back to defend his title in the next show.

Of course, there were plenty of the audience's favourite 'weird' entries, such as No 2 'Bald Eagle' Wong Yiu Wing who sung Kelly Chen's "Big Day" totally out of tune and with unintelligible lyrics. Being sent away after only 18 seconds to boos from the audience, he was the shortest act in the show. However, he still took away $1,800 in prize money - enough to take his family out for a slap up meal. The two hosts mentioned that he is a phenomenon that appears once in a hundred years and even has the image to match. Number 3 Chung Hoi Ki dressed up as a cutesy J-pop star singing "Nee", but after only 53 seconds, she was sent on her way after the hosts found her a little too sweet for their tastes. Number 6 Yip Kwok Hing, who referred to himself as a 'stuntman' did some flame throwing as he prepared to sing "Hot hot hot", but as the hosts complained about seeing the fire but not hearing the voice, he was dismissed after 22 seconds to avoid setting the studio alight. Yip was rather displeased at this and retorted: "Do you want to try?", at which point Hacken was worried that some real flares would be lit, so he instructed the two masked security officers to remove him from the stage.


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