Sunday, September 24, 2006

[Ta Kung Pao 25/09/06]

"Maiden's Vow" Promotion

Charmaine Sheh, Joe Ma, Sherming Yiu, Winnie Shum and Ram Tseung were among the cast members from "Maiden's Vow" who gathered yesterday at the Dragon Centre in Shamshuipo for a promotional event. With Mid-Autumn festival not far off, the artistes played some kissing games and although there was a piece of plastic between them, they still put their hearts into it, especially Charmaine and Joe, who seemed particularly serious about their kiss. Afterwards, they split into teams to design a lantern before handing out mooncakes to the audience.

Charmaine was asked whether she felt Joe was a little aggressive with his kiss, but she smiles that she doesn't know, saying: "We should put our hearts into everything we do and this was just a game. There was a piece of plastic there too so it is all a healthy stunt to push up the ratings." With the show gaining a peak of 34 points, Charmaine says she is very satisfied with this because it was very hard work to film this series because she appears in almost every scene and some shoots lasted 18 hours. To see this success makes her very happy. She smiles: "I am very greedy though, so I hope that the ratings for the next part will be even higher. (Does the high ratings improve your confidence of winning an award?) It is too early to say, there are still many scenes to be aired." Joe pledged that he will allow himself to be kissed freely for five minutes in public if the ratings reach 40 points, so when Charmaine was asked what she would do, she smiled: "I will help to take photographs."

With Joe so enthusiastic with his kissing, is Charmaine worried about upsetting rumoured boyfriend Benny Chan? Charmaine immediately laughed and changed the subject, saying: "I will just be talking about 'Maiden's Vow' today. I hope the ratings will keep going up and leave the work arrangements to the company to arrange. (Benny has had complaints with his recent filming?) I have not been in Hong Kong recently as I have been in the mainland and New Zealand, so I haven't paid much attention to the news. I don't think he is late all the time as I have worked with him on two or three occsaions and he is not a person who is late. (Reports suggest he has been unwell?) I will call him and see how he is."

Talking of the news that TVB top lady Jessica Hsuan has changed to 'per-series' contract, Charmaine says: "She is still with TVB. (She has taken the top spot for so long, do you hope for a change around after she has signed a different contract?) You can't use the word 'taken', for her to be in this position is only reasonable for her experience. Maybe she has found a happy lifestyle, so she has moved towards 'per-series', that is what life is about. (Do you hope to take her place as number one?) Liza (Wang) is next! (She is at another level, surely it should be you next with your length of service?) There are many leading ladies at TVB and there should be no differentiation. We are all working for TVB and we all love acting, so it is not about status, it is about our interests."

Talking of his pledge to allow five minutes of free kissing if the ratings reach 40 points, Joe points out that this is just a kiss on the cheeks. Asked if he would allow a kiss on the lips if the girl was pretty, he laughs: "Let's be fair, I will still only let them kiss my cheek." With the good ratings, does this increase Joe's confidence about winning an award this year? He says: "I just give my best performance, everything else is down to the company to arrange. Although I have been in the top five each year for the last few years, I don't know if I will have a breakthrough this year as this is down to the audience response. I hope everyone will support me." He also adds that there are too many elements to consider about winning an award and it is not just something you can get by wishing for it. If he wins, he will be happy, if he doesn't, then it doesn't matter.

Asked if deep down he would like to win, Joe smiles: "No special desire really, although I have been at TVB for 13 years, I have not won anything so far and I will not hold any expectation. (With your time in the industry, then surely it should be your turn this year?) To be fair, it is not about where you are in the queue as to whether you win an award, it is all down to giving a good performance." However, Joe has just renewed his three year 'per-episode' contract with TVB, so with a contract in hand, then this may raise his chances somewhat.


[Ta Kung Pao 25/09/06]

Joyce Cheng explains Lydia Shum's health condition

Lydia Shum underwent surgery to unblock her bile duct earlier and recently has checked into hospital again, admitted to the intensive care unit and only allowing a couple of close friends to visit her. This secrecy has raised rumours about her condition from the outside.

Lydia's daughter Joyce Cheng decided to quash the rumours and accompanied by Lydia's friend Florence Chan, she held an impromptu press conference yesterday outside her Kowloon Tong home. She maintained a smile throughout and explained that Lydia is in hospital for a check up and for rest and her health is fine. Wearing a pink T-shirt and jeans, Joyce said: "Thank you for your concern, my mother's condition is okay. She had an operation on her bile duct last time and in normal cases, this is a minor procedure, but as she is suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and weight problems, then she needs special care and rest to ensure her recovery. After her operation, she was so caught up in her work and talking on the phone that she didn't receive the recouperation that she needed." Asked if there was any rejection from Lydia's body after the operation, Florence quickly responded on Joyce's behalf, saying: "No rejection, it is just that she was too quick to return to work after her earlier operation and had too many visitors, so she did not have time to rest. She has not had a full body check for many years now, so she has to have total rest and the doctors have banned her from talking on the phone."

Joyce admitted that Lydia was staying in intensive care: "She can only get the true rest she needs by going into ICU. The doctors are not allowing her to use the phone or have too many visitors, so only family and closest friends can go and see her. They are also giving her a thorough body check that she has not had for several decades." When it was mentioned that her condition would be quite serious for Lydia to be admitted into intensive care, Joyce immediately explained cautiously: "It is not a big problem, touch wood!" Asked if the body check report had been issued yet, Joyce replied: "You really do not need to worry, give her more time to rest and regain her health. (When is the earliest she will be discharged?) The doctor has not said, but she is in good spirits and it will be when she gets better and stabilises." Asked if there were any other health problems, Florence interrupted and said: "We'll let her speak to you again once she has been discharged."

Joyce says she has been to see her mother every day and on Saturday, she was accompanied by her father Adam Cheng. Asked if her grandmother in Canada knows about this, Joyce says: "Yes, she knows everything now." Asked how Lydia's appetite is, Joyce says it is fine and she has been making soup for her mother, but keeping it very plain. Joyce also indicates she will be staying in Hong Kong for the time being because her mother needs looking after. Asked if Lydia is getting bored in hospital, Joyce says she is always complaining about the boredom, she she will go to the hospital to keep her company whenever she can.


[Ta Kung Pao 25/09/06]

Bernice Liu has Close Encounter with a Lizard

Bernice Liu was the guest at the opening of the Endangered Reptile and Amphibian Exhibition yesterday, where she joined four children dressed in amphibian and reptile costumes. Seeing them, she joined them in play as her childlike innocence emerged.

Bernice was then joined by the exhibition director, who led her through the exhibition, which included a selection of lizards and tortoises. Faced with a giant lizard, Bernice was not at all afraid and she even impersonated the lizard's expression as it lay perched on the tree. Then Bernice went on to feed lettus to a tortoise and said: "The largest tortoise there weighs 250 kilos and I only weigh 54 kilos, so it is heavier than me." Having grown up in Canada, she has had regular contact with animals, so she is not afraid of them and she adds: "I once danced with a snake in an anniversary show and I worked with spiders during filming for series. As long as it is not poisonous, I am not afraid. This event is very meaningful because it teaches us to love animals."

Talking of Lydia Shum's admittance to hospital, Bernice says she is aware of this and adds that her grandfather suffered from gallstones. Her other grandfather's cancer has returned, so she is currently very worried about him. She says: "Lydia loves her daughter and mother and often flies back and forth from Canada. She really should rest properly this time and bring her body back to health. In order to avoid disturbing her, then I don't think it is good to visit her right now."


[Ta Kung Pao 25/09/06]

Louisa So to Launch a Cookbook

Louisa So, Renee Tai and food writer Walter Kei took part in a food promotion event yesterday and 'Beautiful Cooking' champion Louisa not only opened the event, she also demonstrated her skills by making spring rolls.

After winning the cookery show, Louisa's work has increased and asked if she has made a lot of money from this, she laughs: "Don't say it like that, I am just making a living. However, I have had a lot of unexpected offers, such as publishing my own cookbook. I have already had the photoshoot of the process and I am now busy writing the words and shooting the cover. The feeling is like having a baby and I already have orders from friends and family for fifty copies, so I am very happy. Publishing a book is quite a big task and needs a lot of time, so whether I write another one will be down to the response of this one. If it does well, I will continue, but I may write about another subject, maybe about acting."


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