Amazingly, the "nude photos scandal" is still front page news in Hong Kong newspapers. The latest non-news is that Edison Chen has admitted he did take the photographs, and also announced that he will quit showbusiness "indefinitely". Beats me how that is worth more than a few paragraphs in a gossip column, but the SCMP has given the story half of the front page of the main paper and all of the front page of the city section, and most of page 3 as well. And not for the first time, either.
This follows on from the blanket coverage given to the death of "Fei Fei" (Lydia Shum) after her "long fight with cancer" as the SCMP put it. I felt sure it had been a "courageous battle", but what do I know?
Anyone, everyone knew that she was seriously ill, so this was not a shock by any means, and yet there was a huge (and very undignified) media scrum at the hospital on Tuesday, and it occupied the first 7 minutes of Cable TV news (with a long follow-up item later in the bulletin). Both TVB and ATV cleared their schedules for tributes in the evening, so we were able to see what a warm and truly funny person she had been. The SCMP filled us in on her career (and numerous health problems):
Shum, who was also known as Lydia Sum, was a much admired Hong Kong comedian and actress – famous for her plump size and dark-rimmed glasses. Hong Kong people affectionately called her Fei-fei (Fatty).
Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said he was greatly saddened by Shum’s death and extended his condolences to her family.
Liberal Party’s Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said: “She was such an important and talented actress in Hong Kong. Her positive, happy image always set a great example,” she said.
And there I was, thinking she was just a jolly, fat, woman who made people laugh.
Shum was born July 21, 1947 in Shanghai. She made her film debut in 1960 with the Shaw Brothers. She became well-known in widely televised TVB variety show Enjoy Yourself Tonight, first singing with the female group Four Golden Flowers in the 1970s.
Shum subsequently established herself as predominantly a comic and dramatic actress, appearing regularly in films over the past 40 years. These included The Lotus Lamp 1965, Three Women in a Factory 1967, The Country Bumpkin in Style 1974 and more recently In-Laws, Out-Laws 2004 and Where Are They Now? 2006, among others.
Somehow I seem to missed those cinematic classics. Except that it's possible that The Country Bumpkin in Style was the film that ATV showed on Tuesday night, and I did catch 5 minutes of that.
Yes, I'm afraid that I just don't get it. Why does TVB fill its schedules with variety shows peopled by their roster of artists doing unexceptional things with enthusiasm and little more. How did Shum win"Best Comedy Performance by an Actress" award at the 2003 Asian Television Awards (for Living with Lydia).
I feel like the bewildered foreigners in London in September 1997 who must have wondered why "Diana mania" seemed to have overtaken the whole population.
Back to the other big story, the one that Albert Cheng rightly called "nothing but a farce".
The newspapers look foolish because they have devoted huge amounts of space to a story that is really very trivial. When things like this happen in the USA or UK, you can read about it in the tabloids for a few days and then the story goes away.