14 September 2014


From Singapore's Straits Times

Japanese singer-actress Li Xianglan dies of heart attack at 94

PUBLISHED ON SEP 14, 2014 3:45 PM
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China-born Japanese actress and singer Yoshiko "Shirley" Yamaguchi, who was known under her stage name Li Xianglan, has died at the age of 94 after a life as dramatic as any of her films. -- PHOTO: WIKIMEIDA COMMONS
TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese actress and singer Yoshiko "Shirley" Yamaguchi, who was nearly executed in China at the end of World War II, has died at the age of 94 after a life as dramatic as any of her films.
Yamaguchi, who was born to Japanese parents in pre-war Manchuria, where her father worked for the railway, entertained Chinese and Japanese audiences posing as a Chinese under her assumed identity Li Xianglan.
The actress, who formally went by the surname of her late husband and diplomat Hiroshi Otaka, succumbed to heart failure at her home in Tokyo on Sept 7, her family said Sunday.
"She always stayed home in recent years because of her old age but led a normal life," a family member said. "She watched various DVDs including movies and documentaries from other countries like China and the United States."
Yamaguchi was long regarded as Chinese after making her debut in the 1938 movie "Honeymoon Express" by Manchuria Film Productions.
Some of her movies at this time were seen as pro-Japanese propaganda, including "China Nights (1940)", in which she starred with Japanese heartthrob Kazuo Hasegawa, and she later expressed regret over them.
Arrested after the war as a collaborator, she narrowly avoided execution for treason by revealing her Japanese identity to the Chinese court.
Her hit songs included "Fragrance of the Night" and "Suzhou Serenade", which was banned in mainland China after the war.
Following her deportation from China in 1946, she relaunched her career in Japan under her birth name, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, and went on to star in Akira Kurosawa's "Scandal" and other films.
She also played a leading role in US movies and musicals in the 1950s as Shirley Yamaguchi, including Samuel Fuller's "A House of Bamboo" (1955).
She married Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi in 1951 but their marriage lasted just four years.
Yamaguchi later tied the knot with Japanese diplomat Hiroshi Otaka in 1958 and retired from show business. Her husband died in 2001.
In 1969, she returned to the limelight as hostess for a popular afternoon television show and covered the final phase of the Vietnam War and Middle East conflicts.
From 1974 to 1992, she served as a member of the upper house of parliament for the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party.
She was active in promoting relations with China and other Asian countries. One of her concerns was the issue of Japanese "comfort women" military brothels.
In her 1987 autobiography, Yamaguchi wrote she was shellshocked when she watched "China Nights" to prepare the book.
"Why did I have to appear in such a movie and perform as 'Chinese actress Ri Koran (Li Xianglan)? I felt miserable realising this at this advanced age and I had sleepless nights for months." However, according to some Japanese bloggers, the movie was not widely taken as a pure propaganda film but was appreciated by many people in both Japan and China.
- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/east-asia/story/japanese-actress-shirley-yamaguchi-dies-heart-attack-94-20140914#sthash.clfpjUke.dpuf

01 September 2014

Nicole Seah Quits Politics; Works in Thailand

From the Straits Times, Singapore

Opposition figure Nicole Seah quits National Solidarity Party, says 'job is done for now'

PUBLISHED ON AUG 29, 2014 3:10 PM
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Opposition figure Nicole Seah has resigned from the National Solidarity Party (NSP), a decision which she said was "extremely difficult and painful to make". -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Opposition figure Nicole Seah has resigned from the National Solidarity Party (NSP), a decision which she said was "extremely difficult and painful to make".
"There was nothing which might have happened to trigger this departure," she said in an e-mailed statement on Friday, adding that she started out in politics as a fresh graduate wanting to make a difference through raising political awareness and interest among youth.
"It's reached a point where I feel that my job is done (for now) and I have to move on and grow in other areas, before I can continue to give back to the communities I choose to place myself in," she said.
Ms Seah was part of the NSP team that contested in Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 General Election. She became the party's second assistant secretary-general last year.
The 28-year-old moved to Thailand in March to work at advertising firm IPG Mediabrands' Bangkok office.
She promised that this is "not a complete departure from politics, as I continue to keep tabs on what is happening back home" and added: "I will just need to find a more suitable platform to contribute and give back."
- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/opposition-figure-nicole-seah-quits-national-solidarity-#sthash.F0Os8hSy.dpuf

Chronicle of a Death Foretold: Andrea De Cruz

Pierre Png and Andrea De Cruz, the Singaporean celebrity couple, who are best known for Pierre's donation of a portion of his liver to save her life in 2002, are now bravely facing the prospect of Andrea's dying in less than a decade.

From the New Paper
Monday, Apr 28, 2014
The New Paper
By Jocelyn Lee, Judith Tan
SINGAPORE - Even at 39 years old, local personality Andrea De Cruz has not stopped thinking about being a mother - and the fact that she may have only eight years left to live.

De Cruz, who has been married to local actor Pierre Png, 40, for 11 years, is unable to have her own children as she is on anti-rejection medication after a liver transplant in 2002.
The couple made headlines back then, when De Cruz suffered liver failure after taking slimming pills Slim 10 and Png, her then-fiancé, donated part of his liver to her.
The celebrity couple were guests at a Lux event to unveil its new collection earlier this month, where they talked about what keeps their relationship alive and renewing their wedding vows in church last year.
Speaking to The New Paper at an interview afterwards, the lovebirds appeared at ease and were candid about their marriage and even about a topic as morbid as her life expectancy.
De Cruz said: "Statistics show that my body might reject the liver after 20 years. It's been 12 years now, so we have eight more years to go. What if the statistics are true? What if I lose my liver eight years later? Do I want to have a kid and let Pierre raise him or her on his own after that?
"That's a big concern for us."

The couple have thought about adopting since 2010, but have shelved their plans due to time commitment and health reasons.
"We are very realistic and practical about it. We won't say, 'Let's not think about this issue' because there is a possibility that something might happen eight years later. So for now, our fur kids will do," said Png, referring to their three dogs.
- See more at: http://yourhealth.asiaone.com/content/andrea-de-cruz-maybe-only-having-8-years-left-live#sthash.GiIXulKc.dpuf

25 August 2014

Beauty of the Month: May Pakdee

May Pakdee, Thai model, actress, and TV presenter, is based in Tokyo, Japan.  Although the picture above has been airbrushed for perfection, May is simply BEAUTIFUL and ELEGANT.  She and Chinese model Huang Xiaoming would make a perfect couple.