THE entertainment industry in China is huge, with mainstream companies alone churning out well over 1,000 movies, TV episodes and music albums in a year.
According to the Annual Report on China’s Film Industry 2017, the country produced nearly 800 films in various categories such as comedy, action, thriller and fantasy, raking in a total box office of over 30bil yuan (RM18.6bil).
Even so, none of these is as dramatic and interesting as celebrity gossip, which can go on and on like a soap opera.
These stories can remain at the top of online search lists for weeks, with many people adding their own “inside stories” to the already messy situations.
Busybody netizens often dig out past interviews with those featured in the gossip and with their friends, claiming that these people have dropped hints about the scandals in those interviews.
Recently, the extramarital affair of B-list actress Li Xiaolu, 37, and a not-so-popular hip-hop artiste PG One, 24, grabbed headlines in mainstream media and social networking sites.
This so-called “Last Celebrity Scandal of 2017” was exposed by China’s No. 1 paparazzo Zhuo Wei on the last day of 2017.
First, there were news of Li spending a night at PG One’s home and pictures of him sending her home the next day.
As usual, those involved claimed innocence, saying the duo were good friends who were more like brother and sister.
It was explained that they had a gathering that day and there were others there.
There were many more excuses.
One of their mutual friends, actress Ma Su, immediately claimed to be among the guests, saying she was not seen in the photos because she was drunk and still sleeping.
However, not many people bought that account.
Suddenly, the incident blew out of proportion with seemingly every Tom, Dick and Harry contributing stories about Li and PG One and their women friends.
Li’s actor husband Jia Nailiang became a laughing stock because during a live broadcast on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, he said Li was getting her hair done when she was in another man’s arms, if you were to believe the gossip.
Then came the story of how Jia pursued his wife but she never really loved him, having married him only because she was pressured into it by her parents.
I was confused. And just as I was trying to sort out the messy relationships of these celebrities, out of nowhere, two businessmen jumped into the fray.
Wang Sichong (the Casanova son of Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man) and Huang Yiqing, who was once married to actress Huang Yi, ignited a flame war with the celebs.
There were plenty of allegations of lying and spreading of rumours.
Some netizens, believing that they were disciplinary watchdogs for show business, directed their anger at Li for her “immoral behaviour”.
But quite a few missed the target. Instead of reprimanding Li Xiaolu, they scolded Li Xiaoran (yet another Chinese actress) on Weibo. It was so hilarious!
Well, this drama is still very much alive, with revelations after revelations, but I have no more patience for it.
Another blast of celebrity gossip exposed by Zhuo involved Hong Kong showbiz veteran Eric Tsang and ex-actress Yammie Lam Kit-ying.
The scandal is linked to a video interview that Lam gave to Hong Kong’s Next Magazine in 2013, in response to reports that she had been increasingly unstable mentally.
In the interview, she claimed she was emotionally disturbed after two horrifying rapes by entertainment industry tai gors (big brothers). The two men were not named back then.
Her story shook the whole industry but because no names were mentioned, the furore died down quickly.
On Jan 10, the video resurfaced on the Internet but this time, the attackers were revealed to be Tsang and the late Alan Tang Kwong-Wing, a Hong Kong film actor, producer and director.
Tsang was accused of raping Lam in Singapore when he was shooting a film there.
Apparently, Lam had gone to visit her female friend who was also acting in the movie.
After the big blowup, the Chinese “Sherlock Holmes” could not sit still. They did their own investigations and pointed fingers at Tsang, saying he had destroyed the life of a striking beauty. They sifted through Tsang’s movies and linked one of them to the alleged rape.
Somebody unearthed an interview with Carina Lau Kar-ling conducted years ago. In the 1980s, Lau and Lam trained together to become artistes.
Based on Lau’s reference to Tsang and Lam in the interview, netizens have speculated that Lau was hinting at the identity of one of Lam’s alleged rapists.
After remaining silent for almost two weeks, Tsang held a press conference last Wednesday to deny the accusations.
He said the video clip was falsely edited, and that he had engaged a law firm to deal with the matter.
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