31 Dec – 2019 has been a very eventful year for the Hong Kong showbiz and the Chinese film industry at large.
Stars got married (Lin Chi-ling tying the knot with Akira, Joel Chan marrying long-time girlfriend Apple), stars got divorced (Katherine Ho and millionaire Wu Zhicheng), stars made comebacks (Fan Bingbing), stars fell from grace (Jacqueline Wong), stars welcomed baby (Aaron Kwok’s second daughter, Ada Choi’s third kid and first son), and stars lost their loved ones (Lee Siu Kei, Teresa Ha).
But here are the top five headlines of the year 2019:
Godfrey Gao’s Unexpected Death & The Loss of Michael Lai
Millions were shocked upon hearing the news that model-actor Godfrey Gao passed away on 27 November after collapsing on the set of Zhejiang TV reality show, “Chase Me”, due to a heart attack. Heartbroken fans pointed fingers towards the said programme for its extremely gruelling nature – causing it to be cancelled altogether. Godfrey’s body was later transferred back to Taiwan, where the funeral was attended by family and friends, as well as girlfriend Bella Su. Friends like Christine Fan and Wang Leehom also held a special gathering as a tribute to the actor.
Several days later, the Hong Kong entertainment industry was hit with another sad news – Michael Lai, renowned composer and the man who brought in many of the most talented Hong Kong stars of our generation, passed away.
Lai passed away at St. Paul’s Hospital on 1 December at the age of 73. Friends including best buddy and former girlfriend Nancy Sit mourned the loss and planned to hold a tribute concert for the composer next year.
Andy Hui-Jacqueline Wong’s Taxi Sexy Times
In April this year, a taxi cam footage showing TVB actress Jacqueline Wong kissing and hugging singer Andy Hui went viral, prompting the latter to hold a press conference to apologise for his behaviour and Jacqueline to write a long apology note on social media before leaving Hong Kong to “pursue her studies”.
Fans were livid, especially since Andy is already married to the biggest Cantopop star, Sammi Cheng, who decided to stick by her man. Meanwhile, Jacqueline’s boyfriend and TVB star Kenneth Ma decided to keep mum about the issue and gave no direct confirmation about the state of their relationship.
Jacqueline has since return to Hong Kong, while there is still no news as to whether Andy has plans to return to the stage anytime soon.
Steven Cheung and the Case of the Many Girlfriends
The BOY’Z member, who was preparing for the duo’s Hong Kong Coliseum show, found himself making headlines for all the wrong reasons when he decided to announce that he was engaged to marry his non-showbiz girlfriend and mother of his child, Au Man Man.
The news surprised many, especially stage actress April Leung, who was blind-sided by it as she was still dating Steven two days before his announcement. The actress also revealed that they had even rented an apartment together!
Many other women later came out and claimed that Steven had cheated them off their money as well, to which the singer responded with an apology and a promise to pay back all his debts.
The controversy also caused the Hong Kong Coliseum concert to be cancelled. Ironically, BOY’Z were initially given the venue to replace Andy Hui, who cancelled his show due to his extramarital affair!
The Aftermath of the Hong Kong Protests
The anti-extradition bill protests that sparked in the middle of 2019 brought with it several incidents and dramas of its own, from singer-activist Denise Ho being attacked with red paint by pro-China supporter during a gathering in Taiwan, to Alan Tam’s albums being burned and broken by protesters after he expressed his support for the Hong Kong Police.
The protests also caused a lot of issues for TVB after demonstrators accused the broadcaster of biased reporting and being pro-China, causing a massive boycott. The company had since laid off hundreds of employees. Meanwhile, celebrities found themselves picking sides, with those expressing support for the One China Policy being boycotted by the Hong Kong protesters, while artistes supporting the protest getting the backlash from mainland fans.
One of the biggest backlashes came against Disney’s “Mulan” actress Crystal Liu, who expressed her support for the police. Her statement caused a lot of uproar among sympathisers of the HK protests, resulting to the emergence of the #BoycottMulan campaign.
Radio Stations Cancel Live Awards Events
First it was Commercial Radio Hong Ong (CRHK) announcing that it will not be holding its annual Ultimate Song Chart Awards due to the safety concern caused by the ongoing Hong Kong protests. Metro Radio followed suit, saying that it will instead hold an online awarding event for its annual Hit Awards. RTHK later confirmed that it has also forgone its awards ceremony, the Top 10 Gold Songs Awards, for similar reasons.
It was reported that these stations were unable to come up with plans to ensure the safety of participants, and had to cancel the events because of it
Only JSG Top Ten Songs Awards confirmed that it will continue with its annual live event, and that figures, since it will be held in the safety of TVB City. Last week, CRHK announced that it will indeed continue on with its live awards on New Year’s Day through a collaboration with ViuTV.
(Photo Source: John Lamparski | Getty Images for Global Entertainment Industry Summit | Business Insider)