Friday, February 01, 2008

One of many reasons I'm glad I don't live in Hong Kong...

As my computer has been out of commission for the last while, I didn't realise until today, when I finally had the leisure of browsing blogs, that I discovered from the ESWN the huge scandal over some sex photos of several young Cantopop stars, including, again, Gillian Chung, who seemed to suffer more than her fair share of lurid attention from the porno segment of the HK population. Except it was way more explicit this time round - forget about being filmed fiddling with bra-straps through a key-hole camera, this time, apparently her full genitalia was on display, and it doesn't stop even there, as apparently she was captured during a sex act with fellow star and previously rumoured boyfriend Edison Chen, who apparently ensnared not just Gillian but also Cecilia Cheung and Bobo Chan in similarly compromising pictures.

And it doesn't stop even there - not satisfied that he (and it's invariably a he) has the kind of salacious material beyond the wildest wettest dreams of the perviest teenage peeping toms in HK, the poster chose to release his materials in a way that would induce the maximum damage to the female celebrities involved. Thus the release of teaser pictures, followed by promises of more sensational pictures to come, then the release of a few more pictures followed by promise of video clips. All this done on high-traffic forums, whipping the Chinese language blogosphere - followed closely by the mainstream media, and thus the entire Chinese populace across MC/HK/TW - into a veritable frenzy.

In the furore that followed, lawyers' advice was sought, police contacted, even Interpol got involved. Typical working days ground to a halt with office joes (and janes) crowded around computer screens passing judgements on the veracity of the photos and the physical anatomies and moral fibres of the stars involved. All this apparently happened since Sunday and the saga is continually being stoked by sensationalist front-page headlines in all the newspapers in the region.

This is so, so sad.

What does it say about the quality of the Chinese people when they could be so easily excited about smut? What's truly scandalous is not the fact that celebrities have sex lives, but the fact that the Chinese public found this fact of life scandalous.

What disgusts me the most are those who saw fit to pass moral judgements on the rights and wrongs of the stars involved. Somehow the fact that sex between consenting adults is a private matter escapes them completely. And somehow they don't think that there is anything wrong with prying into matters that are clearly none of their business. There are even those who clearly relish the opportunity to one-up the celebs, dissing their genitalia and their figures, in blissful ignorance of the fact that private parts are named "private" for a reason.

Just don't give me the crap about how the public feel "cheated" by the cleanly-scrubbed image of the stars. If you are so stupid as to think that Gillian Chung should remain a virgin forever just because she is "a role model for little girls", or that Cecilia Cheung should not have had any sex before marriage and that to do otherwise is sacrilegious, then clearly there is something wrong with you, and you should get a life. And don't get me started on the whole unsavoury virgin/whore complex the male of the species have about female stars, I could cite a whole load of Hannah Arendt / Susan Faludi / Gertrude Stein about the politics of the female body but such civilised arguments would simply go over the heads of those who equate feminism with their mothers telling them off, so I'm not even going to start.

If this latest in sexual exploitation and trial-by-media does result in ending Gillian Chung's career in the Hong Kong pop scene, she should really count herself lucky. What I mean is, time to get out of the cesspool, girl, you deserve way better.

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10 Comments:

At Fri Feb 01, 03:01:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger laichungleung said...

If there is an eighth sin, that got to be schadenfreude. I have sinned.

 
At Fri Feb 01, 06:08:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger Snowdrops said...

At least you recognise it as a sin... I just felt disgusted at those people who righteously jeer at the misfortune of the stars without recognising that they are the ones who are morally-suspect by prying into the private affairs of others and in so shameless a manner.

Btw, not sure if you've seen the Broadway musical Avenue Q? If not, you MUST GO SEE IT. It's absolutely hilarious (I saw it two Christmases ago at London's West End). It actually has a song dedicated to Schadenfreude (with the hilarious line about how appropriate that it's actually a German word).

 
At Fri Feb 01, 07:05:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger laichungleung said...

I was busy all morning which was kind of rare.

I would like to add something from my puny mind.

I think the police action is appalling. Are they just too busy sucking up to the rich and famous? The law enforcement is a total knee jerk reaction, arbitrary and selective. The guy who got arrested is guilty of being unemployed, poor and not resourceful I guess. The poor guy might have sinned but that doesn't make him a criminal. And even the cops aren't saying he is the source.


I would like to think celebrities are just like you and I but they aren't. They are public figures that live a very public live. The privilege they enjoy and earned are not the same as any regular Joe or Jan and are their privacies or lack thereof. Apparently their lives are news worthy and I think the mere publication of the photos and video for reporting and critical analysis should be allowed with certain restrictions as the content are sexually explicit and with hints of possible drug use.

Also what happens to the traditional media? Are they sleeping with their sources? Are they becoming the mouthpieces of the agency representing the alleged victims?

One of my co workers were asking about the blizzard in China, supposedly how it disrupted the Lunar New Year travel and more importantly, the interruption of coal transportation and how it is affecting the energy grid so on and so forth. What's more, the arrest of Hu Jia in the pre-Olympics would-up .... Well nothing matters more than this scandal now. It's news worthy because it just is.

 
At Fri Feb 01, 09:23:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Whoah steady on mate. I read that they arrested some guy, but I don't think they have determined him to be the original source yet? Anyway, I respectfully disagree with you regarding the criminality of releasing clearly private materials in the public domain without the subjects' consent, even if the subjects concerned are celebrities. Privacy laws do not preclude celebrities from their protection. Contrary to popular self-serving misconceptions, no part of artist contracts actually says that they are signing over their private lives to the public once people become performers. Performers are not politicians and do not have any obligations to live by a puritanical moral standard just because their fans or the general joe schmoes demand so. We have absolutely no right in demanding to know what goes on in their private lives just because they make their living from one or several of the performing arts. Their private lives are deemed "newsworthy" because of a dumbed-down media, and not because we have the right to know. One has every right to diss them for their piss-poor performances but to diss them for what they do behind closed doors with consenting partners says more about the public's lack of decorum and decency than the stars concerned.

Anyway, the police in this case are not concerned with the stars' privacy per se and are thus not acting in the interests of the celebrities and/or their agencies, but are simply asked to enforce ordinances relating to the dissemination of indecent materials. I would have preferred that they are acting also in the interest of privacy protection, but for that to happen there needs to be much stronger privacy laws in HK, but that is hardly going to happen when the SAR government is overshadowed by the Beijing administration keen to survey its own citizens and clamp down on individual freedoms (case in point being the arrest of the civil rights activist in the run-up to the Olympics that you mentioned). Asking a communist government to understand the concept of individual privacy, much less to legislate for it, is simply a non-starter.

That's why I'm glad I don't live in HK - not only because of the dumbed-down media, predominated by the gutter press, but also because there isn't any decent protection of individual privacy. In Ireland we have a Data Commissioner specifically tasked with ensuring individual's privacy is being respected especially given the proliferation of electronic media, and unfortunately I don't see that office being created by the Tsang administration (or come to think of it, the Bush administration, but at least you guys will have a regime change soon).

 
At Fri Feb 01, 11:02:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger laichungleung said...

It's just a simple case of leaked pictures.

OKAY, If I were to speculate like somebody actually stole the pictures, then the crime begins and ends with the person who first stole and leaked the stuff online. If the girls or anybody are forced or drugged to take those pictures or video then it's different. And okay, all the people who saw them are immoral or such.

Now it's just the alleged victim's company went way overboard to protect the subjects by claiming fake or doctored pictures to smear its client and the press is eating that up whole and going along with it and the law enforcement is going along with it...

I got to get back to work now I can't believe Friday evening I still work this late.

from the immoral

 
At Fri Feb 01, 11:13:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger laichungleung said...

By the way, I never heard of Avenue Q, the only musical I ever saw is Miss Saigon. I got no culture at all. Sometimes I feel sorry for my wife.

Bye

 
At Fri Feb 01, 11:15:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger laichungleung said...

You have some good character. And I don't say it in irony.

Got to go home now.

 
At Fri Feb 01, 11:37:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger Snowdrops said...

(To be honest am much surprised by the amount of comments on this post.)

Yes it is a simple case of leaked pictures, pictures which are of an explicit nature and extremely damaging to the subjects concerned and are leaked without the subjects' consent. So if and when they catch that person who first disseminated them online, it would be an open and shut case. As for those who assisted in the proliferation of the material by passing / re-pasting / linking them online, I agree that they don't deserve the heavy-handed tactics meted out to them by the police (I just realised that the guy was held without bail for 8 days, which is really way disproportional to the alleged crime).

As for those who simply saw the pictures, are they immoral? I don't know and I wouldn't want to be so quick to pass judgement. The people I found despicable, if you haven't realised by now, are those who didn't even recognise that they are infringing on others' privacy and are judging the stars for their recklessness without first questioning their own lack of sense of decency.

Btw, Avenue Q is NOT your usual Broadway show, it's made up of a cast ripped-off Sesame Street muppet characters dealing with their sexuality and life goals and, guess what, internet porn ;-) One does not need to be a pretensious arse to appreciate its brilliance - in fact, the less moralistic you are, the more you'll enjoy it!

Have fun this weekend!

 
At Fri Feb 01, 11:56:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Just a thought... Maybe you could bring your wife to go see Avenue Q? You won't regret it I guarantee you!

 
At Sat Feb 02, 02:39:00 a.m. GMT, Blogger laichungleung said...

Thank you for the exchange.

This case is getting ridiculous. The police are rounding up people for what, possessing porn? Meanwhile where is the victim, Chen is not in Hong Kong, the girl what's her name is sick, nobody is really talking now. OK, if the pictures are doctored, sure then it's defamation. If the pictures are stolen, yes find the guy who stole them. If the pictures are real then where is the defamation though? And maybe there is obstruction of justice if one gives false information like alleging the pictures are photoshoped.

Anyway, enough rant. Thanks again.

I just checked the tickets, it's way too expensive. But I guess I got to think of something for 2/14.

 

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