Ken Zhu Xiao Tian


Ken Zhu Xiao Tian / Zhu Xiao Tian / Ken Zhu / Ken Chu / Xiao Tian / Ken. Singer, actor, commercial model. F4 member.

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Internet Articles (2003)



http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00002636&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Top 10 New Year's Eve party guests we'd like to have
December 28, 2003 06:31:00(LA) / 22:31:00(Manila)

WHAT could be more sensational than rubbing elbows with these personalities when you say goodbye to the old and usher in the new?

10. FPJ - We might just believe, after a good many rounds of ice-cold beer, that the future's so bright we gotta wear shades, too.

9. Sadako - It would be interesting to see how the creepy girl from the well will fix herself up for a festive night out.

8. The characters of "Sex and the City" - You have a lawyer who can take up your case, a publicist who can put a good spin on your image, an art dealer you can count on for the party's aesthetics and a sex columnist who can give you the seven easy steps to orgasm. What more can you ask?

7. The characters of "Friends" - We can all reminisce about their 10-season hit TV show and brag after the party about hanging with Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, Monica and Joey.

6. Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal - To help us brush up on our Spanish over a dinner of burritos and tequila, before watching "Y Tu Mama Tambien" again and again and again.

5. The trio of Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Colin Farrell, and not one less, please - Wow! How can you not drop dead from the surplus gorgeousness?

4. Boy Abunda - He can give us the lowdown on his celebrity friends, especially you-know-who and her you-know-what.

3. Ai Ai de las Alas and Jim Carrey - Can you imagine what a crack up they're going to be once they start trading barbs, or crossing chins?

2. F4-and we'll charge for invites. Ka-ching!

1. Michael Jackson (in full freak-o regalia) and Gollum (in a really vile mood) - locked up in the same room. We can all can watch them through a one-way mirror. Hmmm, my precious! (INQ7)

-----

http://www.yehey.com/entertainment/music/article.aspx?i=3840
Yehey! Entertainment
Music News
F4 here, but where were the crowds?
Date: 12/26/2003 10:55:30 AM
Source: The Journal Group
By: Itchie Cabayan



The popularity of the Taiwanese boy band F4 has seemingly waned.

Yesterday, the quartet arrived together at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, but the screaming throngs of fans were no longer in sight, despite the promotions regarding the arrival of the singers for a concert tonight at the PSC-Philsports Arena (formerly ULTRA).

Only a handful of media people was at the NAIA to cover the event, as Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Vanness Wu and Ken Zhu arrived on board Eva Air Flight 271 from Taipei at around 11:35 a.m.

The reporters and photographers, few as they were, chided the organizers in charge of the F4’s arrival for allegedly rudely shooing them away, denying them the opportunity of taking photos or conducting interviews.

"Laos na nga ’yang F4 na ’yan, pinagyayabang n’yo pa. Kung ’di lang kami inutusang mag-cover dito, hindi naman kami magtitiyagang hintayin ’yan, ’no?" a fuming newshen told the organizers.

The absence of enthusiastic fans, though, pleased airport general manager Edgardo Manda and Gen. Angel Atutubo, chief of the Manila International Airport Authority’s security and emergency services.

Atutubo said the lack of unruly crowds was favorable to the management of the airport since it was a lot easier to maintain orderliness and security measures, a far cry from the previous arrivals of the members of F4 — who also starred in the Taiwanese TV soap opera Meteor Garden — when security personnel found a hard time controlling the fans that flocked to the NAIA to take a glimpse at the quartet.

Unlike the previous arrivals of the F4 members — as well as of their Meteor Garden leading lady Barbie Xu and her sister Dee Xu — yesterday was a different case.

Before, an emergency staircase was immediately attached to the aircraft carrying any of the singers once the plane landed on the tarmac, so he could go straight to a waiting vehicle and avoid the fans.

Yesterday, all four of them alighted at the NAIA along with ordinary passengers and even had to line up with the rest so they could await their turn to pass through the scanning units installed in the concourse area mnd manned by health personnel.

The scanning machines were ordered installed by Manda at the NAIA and the Centennial Terminal 2 to check if the passengers have fever, a primary symptom of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Once the F4 members had been checked, they entered the dignitaries’ lounge, from where they proceeded to their waiting vehicle.

The reporters noted that the F4 members were consistent in their snubbish ways, not even waving or taking a look at anybody, denying the media the chance to take good photos or interview them.

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00002568&category=PC
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Only 9,000 people can watch F4 concert live
December 24, 2003 01:40:00(LA) / 2003-12-24 17:40:00(Manila)

ONLY people carrying tickets worth at least 3,000 pesos will be allowed to watch the Taiwanese quartet F4 perform inside the Philsports Arena in Pasig City on Dec. 26, according to a concert consultant.

Those holding tickets that cost less than 3,000 pesos will have to make do with watching Jerry Yan, Vanness Wu, Vic Zhou and Ken Zhu on a wide screen at the open field outside the arena, said Susan Lim of Big Slim Entertainment.

Contrary to an earlier report, Boy Abunda's Backroom Inc. is not involved in the promotion of the concert. The promoter is Mega Media of Joed Serrano.

The Philsports Arena is usually used during basketball games.

The "F4 Live Happy New Year 2004" was originally set at the Fort open field in Taguig, which can accommodate 30,000. The Philsports Arena (formerly Ultra) has a seating capacity of only 9,000, said Lim.

Tickets to the concert are 20,000 pesos, 15,000 pesos, 10,000 pesos, 8,000 pesos, 7,500 pesos, 5,000 pesos, 3,000 pesos, 2,500 pesos, 1,500 pesos and 600 pesos.

"The Ultra has allowed the use of the football field bleachers to accommodate general admission ticketholders," Lim said on Monday.

Those who wish to get refunds for their tickets can go to any Ticketworld outlets, Lim added.

Chito Cabalu of East West Global Entertainment last Saturday backed out as co-producer of the F4 concert, saying Taiwanese producer DaiBei Productions Inc. failed to come up with the money to finance the show.

Cabalu also said DaiBei Productions failed to get the working permits for the performers and to comply with the security requirements for a show at The Fort.

Lawrence Lo of DaiBei Productions said he was able to secure all the necessary working papers last Monday morning.

"I cannot cancel the show because I've already made a commitment with the F4 and their fans, who will be coming from Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong," said Lo.

Jerry and Vic were guests in the "Happy 50TV" concert of ABS-CBN last Nov. 29, also at the Fort Bonifacio open field. Vanness and Ken performed at the Philsports football field last September.

In their Dec. 26 show, the pop idols from Taiwan will sing their hit singles "Can't Lose You," "Season of Fireworks," and "Can't Help Fallin'" from the phenomenally popular chinovela "Meteor Garden," shown on week nights on ABS-CBN.

"F4 Live! Happy New Year 2004" will be the first time in two years that all four members are performing in one show together. They are expected to arrive in Manila on Christmas Day. (INQ7)

-----

http://www.newsflash.org/2003/05/sb/sb003192.htm
F4 SHOW GOES ON AS SCHEDULED
MANILA
December 23, 2003
The Philippine Star, FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo



Are they coming, all four of them, or aren’t they?

As far as the avid fans of Taiwan’s Fab Four – Jerry Yan, Vanness Wu, Ken Zhu and Vic Zhou – are concerned, the question of the hour is not who FPJ’s running-mate would be (is she the one?) but whether or not the F4 (Flower 4) guys are coming for a concert on Dec. 26, Friday (a day after Christmas), or not.

The answer is yes, they’re coming – "Definitely," according to the people behind the much-awaited concert. I’m referring to the Taiwanese producer, DaiBei Productions and its new partner, Susan Lim’s group, which also produced the concert last September starring two of the F4 guys, Ken Zhu and Vanness Wu. A few weeks later, Jerry Yan came to drumbeat for Bench of which he’s a new image model and, again, three weeks later for a concert with Vic Zhou.

Yesterday, The STAR and other papers bannered the "cancellation" of the F4 Dec. 26 concert. It was a misunderstanding resulting from the breaking of ties between DaiBei Productions and East West Global Entertainment (headed by Chito Cabalu) which was behind the recent staging of the Mariah Carey concert and the MTV Summit 2004 both at the Fort Open Field in Taguig City.

East West backed out of the F4 concert after, according to Cabalu, DaiBei Productions failed to comply with certain requirements, including security requirements at the venue, also at The Fort, and the release of a certain amount for the hiring of bodyguards and ushers for the concert, and for the sound system, stage, barricades, chairs and portalets.

That was all that was canceled – the contract between East West and DaiBei, but the concert will go on as scheduled, now with Susan Lim’s group as DaiBei’s new partner.

"The new venue is the PCS Sports Arena (the old ULTRA)," assured somebody from Susan Lim’s group. "Tuloy na tuloy ang concert. Walang atrasan."

It’s the first time all four guys are performing together here, and possibly their last. The F4 fever has reached its peak and I’m sure that after the Dec. 26 concert, their popularity – and novelty – will die down. That’s what happened to Thalia/Marimar a few years ago, remember? The third time Thalia came back, she wasn’t as well-received as she was the first and second time. Well, you know, familiarity breeds...

Still and all, tickets to the F4 Live Happy New Year 2004 concert are selling like low-priced cellphone "loads," with the ones costing P20,000 and P15,000 mostly reserved by about 500 fans from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Indonesia. Other tickets are priced at P10,000, P8,000, P7,500, P5,000, P3,000, P2,500, P1,500 and P600.

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00002550&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
F4's Dec. 26 show to go on after all
December 23, 2003 02:37:00(LA) / December 23, 2003 18:37:00(Manila)

ONLY people carrying tickets worth 3,000 to 5,000 pesos will be allowed to watch the Taiwanese quartet F4 perform inside the Philsports Arena in Pasig City on Dec. 26, according to a concert consultant.

Those holding tickets that cost less than 3,000 pesos will have to make do with watching Jerry Yan, Vanness Wu, Vic Zhou and Ken Zhu on a wide screen at the open field outside the arena, said Susan Lim of Big Slim Entertainment. The Philsports Arena is usually used during basketball games.

The "F4 Live Happy New Year 2004" was originally set at the Fort Bonifacio open field in Taguig, which can accommodate 30,000. The Philsports Arena (formerly Ultra) has a seating capacity of only 9,000, said Lim.

Tickets to the concert are pegged at 20,000 pesos, 15,000 pesos, 10,000 pesos, 8,000 pesos, 7,500 pesos, 5,000 pesos, 3,000 pesos, 2,500 pesos, 1,500 pesos and 600 pesos.

"The Ultra has allowed the use of the football field bleachers to accommodate general admission ticket holders," Lim said on Monday.

Those who wish to get refunds for their tickets can go to any Ticketnet office, Lim added.

Chito Cabalu of East West Global Entertainment last Saturday backed out as co-producer of the F4 concert, saying Taiwanese producer DaiBei Productions Inc. failed to come up with the money to finance the show.

Cabalu also said DaiBei Productions failed to get the working permits for the performers and to comply with the security requirements for a show at The Fort.

Lawrence Lo of DaiBei Production said he was able to secure all the necessary working papers last Monday morning. He said he asked Boy Abunda's Backroom Inc. and Big Slim Entertainment to assist in the promotion of the show.

"I cannot cancel the show because I've already made a commitment with the F4 and their fans, who will be coming from Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong," Lo told Inquirer Entertainment on Monday.

"I got all the necessary working permits today (Dec. 22)," Lo said.

Jerry and Vic were guests in the "Happy 50TV" concert of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. last Nov. 29, also at the Fort Bonifacio open field. Vaness and Ken performed at the Philsports football field last September.

In their Dec. 26 show, the pop idols from Taiwan will sing their hit singles "Can't Lose You," "Season of Fireworks," and "Can't Help Fallin'" from the phenomenally popular chinovela "Meteor Garden," shown on week nights on ABS-CBN.

"F4 Live! Happy New Year 2004" will be the first time in two years that all four members are performing in one show together. They are expected to arrive in Manila on Christmas Day. (INQ7)

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00002343&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Bob Soler, disillusioned, leaves again for US
December 12, 2003 01:05:00(LA) / December 12, 2003 17:05:00(Manila)
(excerpts)

Bob Soler said he was disheartened by the unfortunate state of Philippine show business and was convinced that even the charm and powers of the fictional superhero that he portrayed in the '60s could not help improve it. "I never imagined that Filipinos would find Taiwanese talents more charming than their own," Bob told Inquirer Entertainment two days before he flew to Los Angeles, California, last Nov. 6. He was referring to Vanness Wu and Vic Zhuo, members of the wildly popular Taiwanese boy band F4, or Flower 4, who came to Manila last September to perform to a big crowd at the Ultra football field in Pasig.

"I was shocked when I found out how obsessed Filipinos are with these Taiwanese talents," he added. "I guess Filipinos today have no respect for their own. I myself was a victim of the same discrimination two years ago."

-----

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/man/2003/12/11/life/vic.zhou.ken.zhu.and.vivian.hsu.tv.s.newest.love.triangle.html
Sun Star Manila
Thursday, 11 December 2003
Vic Zhou, Ken Zhu and Vivian Hsu: TV's newest love triangle

After Meteor Garden, two F4 heartthrobs team up to present a love triangle with a unique twist - Vic Zhou and Ken Zhu are in love with one girl, the very, very lucky Vivian Hsu, in Taiwan's latest TV craze Love Storm.

Vivian plays an earnest girl who believes that fate will give her a sign as to who she will love forever and, after surviving a freak accident, she starts to believe that Vic is her destiny.

Unfortunately, Vic cannot love her because he's secretly a gangster involved with the mob boss's daughter. Ken plays the boy-next-door, in love with Vivian forever, waiting for her to realize that he's finally grown up. The TV show currently has leagues of fans through Asia and Filipino viewers are at the edge of their seats, waiting for Love Storm to be aired locally.

Accompanying the series is a romantic soundtrack featuring songs by Vivian Hsu, Vic Zhou, The Comic Boys and Ken Zhu. Vivian's "Decide to Love You" is a faithful translation of a popular Japanese song and sets the tone for her cheerful, perky character, as well as the light moments of the series. This is Vivian's comeback vehicle, with a brand new wholesome image, after much controversy in her younger years as an actress. She also sparked interest by formerly dating F4 member Vanness Wu.

Vanness' friends are now entangled with the reel Vivian, not only on film but in their music as well, as both their song contributions on the Love Storm Soundtrack are sweet declarations of love. Vic is true to form as the breathless balladeer, singing the voluptuous "I Feel You," also known in other Asian countries as "I Breathe You In." Ken Zhu won't be quietly waiting by the sidelines as he sings the all-English song, "Inside My Guitar," a ballad more endearing than his popular anthem "Here We Are." Incidentally, this is the same song he sang live at the ULTRA during his visit to Manila, last September.

The rest of the album is an engaging romp of cheerful ditties and instrumental versions of the important songs, used as main themes throughout the series. If you follow the TV series closely, you'll find that the saxophone version of "On The Long Love Journey" will become more endearing upon its next listen.

The CD comes with a full color 36-page photo album & an exclusive trivia VCD of the TV series, featuring behind-the-scenes shots, including footage of extensive make-up and of the actors preparing for seemingly difficult stunts.

There are also, of course, some of the funniest outtakes as Vic and Ken are known to be the most playful and easy-to-get-to-laugh members of F4. Don't wait for the series to start airing, just come on board the Love Storm with the Love Storm OST. Available in CDs and cassettes nationwide.

-----

http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/women/story/0%2C4395%2C223108%2C00.html
Vivian Hsu
By Tommy Wee
The Straits Times
December 3, 2003

SHE is arguably one of the prettiest singer-actresses in Asia, but Vivian Hsu has an ego as brittle as egg shells.

The 28-year-old stars in the new idol drama, Love Storm, opposite F4's Vic Zhou and Ken Zhu, as a rich but spoilt teenager.

Ask her why she can still pull off roles 10 years younger than she is, and she clams up defensively.

Failing to see the compliment in the question, her enormous eyes crinkle up and her pixie-face flushes.

Sprawled on a long couch in one of the executive suites at the Pan Pacific Singapore hotel, her petite 43kg, 85cm-57cm-85cm frame slumps into the cushion.

She gazes forlornly at her cute, pointy leather shoes before replying in soft, raspy-voiced Mandarin: 'I'm pretty stressed out and bothered by these questions. Many people in Hong Kong and Taiwan have accused me of trying to act younger and cuter than I am, but I don't.'

Visibly distressed, she takes a few seconds to compose herself.

While acknowledging that her winsome looks have played a part in her success, she stresses that it happened early in her career.

'Yes, I may have been given more opportunities due to my appearance, but in the long term, it's your talent and hard work that counts. I intend to have longevity in my career,' she says.

Hsu's interview, her first promotional work in Singapore, comes on the back of her new album, The Secret To Happiness Is Love.

Released by her new record label, Avex Trax, last month, it hit No. 2 on the Top 10 chart on its debut in Taiwan and sold an incredible 300,000 copies.

Despite her current success, her soft-porn past continues to haunt her.

After splitting from girl-group Shojo-Tai in 1994, the then 18-year-old released a risque pictorial called Angel Heart.

Featuring her in nude and topless shots, sales in Japan hit the 500,000 mark. In Taiwan, it sold 100,000 copies.

Admitting that she lost her youth to showbusiness - she was in Shojo-Tai when she was 15 - she now defines happiness as finding fulfilment in 'making the most of your life, music and career'.

Although she has been linked to plenty of male celebrities - including three members of F4 - she has only made one engagement official, that with Sugizo, the guitarist of defunct Japanese band Luna Sea.

Even though she is rumoured to be dating F4's Vanness Wu, she sounds resolute when she says she has no love life.

'I'm definitely waiting for love to happen. I hope to be married in June 2006. But sometimes, things don't go as planned. If the right man comes along, anything can happen.'

Scrunching up her face, she adds: 'He must really, really love me a lot.'

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00002202&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
1,000 security men for Ah Si, Lei
November 28, 2003 00:11:00(LA) / November 28, 2003 16:11:00(Manila)

TO PREVENT a repeat of the stampede that happened during the F4 concert last September, nearly 1,000 security personnel, 13 ambulances and five fire trucks will be deployed during the "Happy 50 TV" concert at the Fort open field on Saturday.

The concert will feature Jerry Yan and Vic Zhuo, two of the members of the wildly popular pop quartet. Jerry and Vic, popularly known as Dao Ming Si and Hua Zei Lei of the hit series "Meteor Garden" on ABS-CBN, are the special guests in the network's "Happy 50 TV" concert that will start at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Their "Meteor Garden" costars Vaness Wu (Mei Zuo), Ken Zhu (Xi Men) and Barbie Xu (Shan Cai) performed last September in "The Event" at the Philsports football field in Pasig City, where eight people were injured in a stampede.

Barbie and Dee will join Jerry and Vic at the Fort show Saturday.

A field hospital and 13 medical stations, manned by doctors and other medical personnel from the Department of Health, will be set up at the Fort, according to Cory Vidanes, ABS-CBN senior vice president for TV production.

The increased security for the one-night show is codenamed "Oplan Happy 50 TV," she said.

To secure the perimeter of the venue, about 120 container vans will be set up as a fence around the venue, instead of using galvanized metal sheets like the ones used during American singer Mariah Carey's concert last Nov. 18.

During Mariah's concert, about a hundred fans rushed to the general admission section of the venue, causing the makeshift fence to collapse. No one was reported hurt. For Saturday night, there will be 11 gates. Mariah's show had seven gates.

The gates will be opened to the public as early as 12 noon Saturday. Video and still cameras and tape recorders will be confiscated at the gate, Vidanes told Inquirer Entertainment.

The concert-goers can retrieve their cameras and recorders from depository booths after the show, she added.

Mineral water bottles and soft drink cans will be prohibited inside the venue.

Yan and Zhou will be joined in the Fort show by local stars such as Ai-Ai de las Alas, The Hunks (Piolo Pascual, Jericho Rosales, Diether Ocampo, Carlo Agassi and Bernard Palanca), Vina Morales, Kristine Hermosa, Claudine Barretto, and love teams John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, and John Prats and Heart Evangelista.

Star Cinema's blockbuster movie "Ang Tanging Ina" will be shown on the nine video walls at the concert site.

About 60 concessionaires will be selling snacks and refreshments. About 80 portable toilets will also be set up around the concert venue.

Jerry and Vic will arrive in Manila Saturday morning. Barbie and Dee are expected to fly in from Taiwan Friday.

Yan has also been hired by Philippine clothes magnate Ben Chan to be the newest image model of the Bench label. In his native Taiwan, Yan was a part-time commercial model.

Zhou is also known by his Chinese name Zhou Yu Min, or his pet name Zai Zai. At 20, he is considered the baby of F4.

He is the quiet one among the boys of "Meteor Garden" and is actually shy in real life.

Zhou earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the Lotung Industrial and Commercial Vocational High School and is currently attending night classes in business management at the Chung Kuo Institute of Technology. (INQ7)

-----

http://www.mctimes.net/2003/News/news_20031113-Interactive_TV_Philippine_Style.html
Metropolitan Computer Times
Interactive TV Philippine Style:
SMS Still Rules But MMS Gains Steam

By Prudencia R. Orani
Posted 13 November 2003
(excerpts)

Did you know that in the past three months, around 100,000 text messages daily have been taking part in the short message service (SMS)-enhanced interactive TV promotions around the TV series Meteor Garden shown on ABS-CBN Channel 2? These text messages include simple registration details to participate in the promo or requests to download logo and picture messages, costing PhP15 each, or color pictures costing PhP20 each.

Interactive TV Pays, Thanks to SMS

Katigbak admitted though that even if SMS or texting is very popular in countries like the Philippines because of the high penetration of mobile phones across all segments of society and in all areas of the country, the success of SMS-enhanced interactive TV promotions still hinges much on the popularity of the TV show.

But in the case of the Taiwan-born TV series, Meteor Garden that has gained millions of loyal viewers in the Philippines since it was started to be shown early this year through ABS-CBN Channel 2, Katigbak said it was only around three months ago that ABS-CBN Interactive was able to introduce SMS-based interactive TV promotions around the top-rated TV show.

Apparently, the license to use Meteor Garden for interactive TV promotions in the Philippines was separate from the license to show that program on TV in the country.

Meteor Garden owes its popularity not just to the refreshing faces of Taiwanese star Barbie Xu and the now famous Asian boy band F4 comprised of Jerry Yan, Vic Zhuo, Vanness Wu, and Ken Zhu, but also to the gripping and fast-paced storyline.

But Meteor Garden has really become that popular in the Philippines, as it had earlier been in other Asian countries where it was first shown (Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand), such that the volume of messages the number 2366 had received in relation to the promo around the TV show and its characters had been consistently around the 100,000 mark each day for the past three months since the promo started.

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00001837&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
'Meteor Garden' star takes Palace by storm
November 6, 2003 08:27:00(LA) / November 7, 2003 00:27:00(Manila)


(CAPTION: President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Taiwan’s hottest star Jerry Yan Cheng Xua mingle with the cancer-stricken and orphaned children from the Center for Health Improvement and Life Development (CHILD) who were among those who welcomed the Taiwanese member of the popular boy group called F4 upon his arrival this afternoon (November 6) at Malacanang. Malacanang Photo)

HE didn't speak a word; didn't even wave a hand. But his presence had women, gays, matrons and schoolgirls swooning.

Taiwanese pop star Jerry Yan, also known as "Dao Ming Si" from the television soap opera "Meteor Garden," took Malacañang by storm Thursday, stirring a mob never seen since Mexican telenovela star Thalia visited the Palace in the '90s.

"I want to faint," Christine Borja, a Malacañang correspondence writer, gushed. The tall TV star had just held her hand.

"We want his autograph," cousins Bernadette Suva, 9, and Claire Suva, 8, said while waiting for the arrival of the Taiwanese TV star.

Another autograph-seeker was Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye.

Journalists Aileen Intia of GMA Network radio station dzBB and Celerina del Mundo of Daily Manila Shimbun slipped into the Palace study room for a "scoop" photo opportunity with the visiting pop star, beating the entire Malacañang Press Corps to the draw.

Peering under streaked brown locks, Yan, wearing a black shirt and pants, paid a call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at her den before proceeding to the huge, chandeliered Ceremonial Hall for a traditional photo session with Malacañang officials and employees and their families, and with media.

Among the special guests were five cancer patients from the Philippine General Hospital and 9 children from an orphanage.

"One's not supposed to faint, get thrilled or even get near (the Taiwanese star)," the rules were spelled out by the master of ceremonies in Filipino 30 minutes before Yan's arrival.

"Okay, let's practice," assistant secretary Isabel de Leon announced, as she "choreographed" the sequence of the photo sessions.

A group of Chinese, most of them in black, entered the hall. They were part of Yan's 16-man entourage.

Then, suddenly, it was bedlam.

Yan had entered the hall, with Ms Macapagal. In less than five minutes, he was gone, whisked away by his entourage into a State Dining Room, away from the stampede.

Ms Macapagal just as promptly, also retreated to a private den.

"There's no F4, but we have FG here," a newsman said, referring to First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, who was showing off granddaughter Mikaela Angela for the cameras.

In the end, Yan returned to the Ceremonial Hall for the resumption of the photo session.

"F4" or "Flower 4" is the phenomenal Taiwanese boy band that spun off from the highly-successful "Meteor Garden" series where Yan belonged, together with Vic Zhou, Vanness Wu, and Ken Zhu, his co-stars in the soap opera.

Wu and Zhu had performed in a concert in Pasig City last September. Yan and Zhou were scheduled to perform in a concert later this month sponsored by the ABS-CBN television network.

Yan's visit was made possible by local garments firm Suyen Corporation, which markets the popular "Bench" brand. The pop star is the latest endorser of the brand, which also had Philippine showbiz luminaries in its stable of endorsers.

And so it was that for two hours at least, one Thursday afternoon, the brewing constitutional crises over the impeachment of Chief Justice Hilario Davide was elbowed out, pushed to the sidelines by a tall, charming television star who didn't speak English, much less understood what was eating up Malacañang these past days. (INQ7)

-----

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/man/2003/11/06/news/f4.s.jerry.yan.to.meet.gloria.html
Sun Star Manila
Thursday, November 06, 2003
F4's Jerry Yan to meet Gloria


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html

President Arroyo Wednesday said she is merely upholding the image of Filipinos as the most hospitable in the world by welcoming Taiwanese actor Jerry Yan of the boy band F4 in Malacañang Thursday afternoon.

Arroyo, in an interview by Radio Mindanao Network from Tagbiliran, confirmed her appointment with Yan (Chinese name: Yang Cheng Xu), who is set to make a courtesy call at 2 p.m.

Arroyo said there is no political color in the meeting nor is she using the actor to boost her presidential bid in May 2004.

The President in 2001 also welcomed Argentinian actress Natalia Oreiro (Monica Brava) who made a courtesy call in Malacañang. Other presidents have in the past entertained famous persons like Thalia (Marimar, Roslainda) who visited then president Fidel Ramos in Malacañang, Fernando Carillo (Marimar) and NBA Player Kobe Bryant who went to Malacañang when Joseph Estrada was president.

Yan would be staying in the Philippines for two days to endorse Bench products. He would be officially launched as the newest Bench product image model at 10:30 a.m. in a press conference at the Le Pavillion in Roxas Boulevard before proceeding to Malacañang for the courtesy call. He would leave Friday night.

The actor is more popularly known in the Philippines as Dao Ming Xi or the leader of the F4 in the Meteor Garden-Meteor Rain series. Other members of the F4 are Taiwanese actor Vic Zhou (Chinese name: Zhou Yu Min); Ken Zhu (Chinese name: Zhu Xiao Tian) and American Vanness Wu (Chinese name: Wu Jian Hao).

He would return Nov. 28 with fellow Zhou and singing sisters Barbie and Dee Xiu for the ABS-CBN 50th anniversary Kapamilya concert at the Fort in Fort Bonifcaio on Nov. 29. Barbie, the love interest of Yan in the Meteor Garden-Meteor Rain series, was in the Philippines from Sept. 18 to 19 with her sister and F4 members Zhu and Wu for a one-night concert.

-----

http://www.summitmedia.com.ph/news/yes-dec2003-PR.htm

Summit Media
News Releases
F4 Fever Hits Yes!



In the beginning of 2001, four relatively unknown young men were chosen to film a Taiwanese TV series called Meteor Garden. Almost overnight, they became the hottest thing to hit Asia. Today, it is rare to find a person who is not familiar with Jerry Yan, Ken Zhu, Vanness Wu and Vic Zhou, collectively known as F4. After all, their names and faces are everywhere; from billboards and record stores to soda cans and school bags. But how much do you really know about them?

This November, YES! lets you get up close and personal with F4 and introduces you to the women in their lives. Find out why these four gorgeous men are causing such a pandemonium among millions of women all over Asia and why they’re raking in the big bucks.

It’s another star-studded month for YES!, Your Entertainment Source! Grab your copy of the December issue of YES! now available in magazine shops, supermarkets and bookstores for only P75.

-----

http://www.inq7.net/ent/2003/oct/26/ent_1-1.htm
Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou coming for TV special
Posted: 9:52 PM (Manila Time) | October 25, 2003
By Marinel R. Cruz
Inquirer News Service


(image from http://comicfamily.mymuch.com/)

AFTER the successful if riotous concert of F4's Vanness Wu and Ken Zhu at the Philsports Football Field last September, the two other heartthrobs from the disbanded Taiwanese pop group are also coming to Manila.

Jerry Yan and Vic Zhou are set to perform at The Fort in ABS-CBN's "Happy 50 TV: The Concert," on Nov. 29, according to Maloli Espinosa-Manalastas, the network's vice president for government, corporate affairs and public relations.

Network officials refused to disclose the amount of the talent fees of the two Taiwanese stars. But the fees alone are said to be in the whopping eight figures.

Jerry and Vic will perform with Barbie Xu and her younger sister Dee Xu, who had also performed with Vanness and Ken at the Ultra last Sept. 13.

Negotiations to bring Jerry and Vic to Manila started last month, when ABS-CBN executives met with the Taiwanese producers and talent managers of the artists. The deal was sealed only recently, when network officials led by senior vice president for TV production Cory Vidanes went abroad to sign the contract.

Jerry and Vic, stars of the phenomenally popular chinovela, "Meteor Garden," will be joined in the Fort show by local stars such as Ai-Ai de las Alas, The Hunks, Vina Morales, Kristine Hermosa, Claudine Barretto, and young love teams John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, and John Prats and Heart Evangelista.

The Ultra concert of Vanness and Ken was produced by Susan Lim's Big Slim Productions, with ABS-CBN as co-presenter. The show of Jerry and Vic at The Fort will be produced solely by ABS-CBN.

Both born in Taiwan, Jerry and Vic hardly speak English, unlike Vanness and Ken. An interpreter will be on hand when Jerry and Vic visit Manila next month.

Jerry is said to be coming to Manila earlier, in the first week of November, to hold a press conference for Bench, of which he is a new image model. He will return to Manila with Vic on Nov. 28, a day before the concert.

Bench reportedly paid Jerry 250,000 dollars, or 14 million pesos.

-----

http://www.tsinoy.com/chopsuey/Spotlight.cfm?ID=32
SPOTLIGHT - 10/08/2003
Warning: Meteor Invasion!
by Blessy M. Feliciano


(image from http://www.tsinoy.com/chopsuey/Spotlight.cfm?ID=32)

It took cross and sword approach, years of divide and conquer strategy and a gallery of well-trained conquistadors for the Europeans to conquer the Philippines. A Taiwanese boy group did almost the same -- and more -- with just one hook, Meteor Garden.

Taken from a Japanese comic book series called Hana Yuri Dango (literally translated as "Men are Better than Flowers"), Meteor Garden tells the story of a poor girl falling in love with a rich boy-next-door and their journey of life and friendship with an elite college kada calling themselves "Flower Four" or simply "F4".

Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Ken Zhu, and Vanness Wu are the hunks behind this mass hysteria that glued the Filipinos into TV monitors. They are the rampaging boyband that has been sweeping the top spot in each radio station's hit list and the irony that makes non-Mandarin speakers sing Mandarin songs. And yes, they are also the very same reason why the Tsinoy Forum has been blogged with so many posts.

In appreciation to these dashing dudes who caused Filipinos the urge to run to Chinese restaurants and master the art of eating with chopsticks, Tsinoy.com focuses this month's Spotlight to the world's newest sensation. Browse on and get to know the basics of Dao Ming Si, Hua Ze Lei, Xi Men, and Mei Zu off the camera!

Hey, do you believe in the theory that dinosaur extinction was due to meteors hitting the face of the earth? Well, believe it, today's Meteor trampled the dinosaurian Mexican telenovelas away so, soap viewers, better say hello to these chinky idols for they are here to stay.

Enjoy!

-----

http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/october/1004to1006/1005to1006.html
Fluff
October 5, 2003
(excerpts)


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html)

F4's Jerry Yan Cheng-Xu arrived in Hong Kong yesterday to work on the new film MAGIC KITCHEN. As is the case when any member of F4 comes to Hong Kong, a large crowd of around two hundred fans gathered to greet him. MAGIC KITCHEN also stars Sammi Cheng Sau-Man, Andy Lau Tak-Wah and Nicola Cheung Sun-Yuet.

-----

http://www.sinorama.com.tw/en/search/show_issue.php3?id=2003109210012E.TXT&query=F4&page=1&row=1&total=8&scope=2&type=all&sort=desc&MaxResults=50
Mainland China Publishing During a Taiwan Craze
Eric Lin/tr. by Jonathan Barnard
October 2003
Page: 012
(excerpts)


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html)

Along with the growing literary ex-change between Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, tastes in books in these Chinese societies are converging. Books of inspiration, which have fared tremendously well in Taiwan in recent years, were the first genre to hop the strait and find favor with mainland readers. Then, fresh and accessible Internet literature came on the scene there, bringing numerous Web writers into the spotlight. Over the past two years Taiwanese illustrated books for children and adults,as well as books about the ambiguity of modern urban relationships, have also become favorites for the billion-plus Chinese language readers.

Readers in Taiwan and Hong Kong are highly capricious and easily tire of fashions, but the mainland market is vast, with great differences between the cities and the countryside. Bestseller lists support publishing trends in this vast market, but it takes several years time for a book's popularity to spread from the cities to remote bookstores in the countryside. Meanwhile, certain unique characteristics of the mainland's publishing market and readers are beginning to take shape.

The bookstores on Beijing's West Chang An Boulevard are packed on both working days and holidays. A petite Miss Wang is leafing through Separate Ways by the Taiwanese author Jimmy. She says that she lives in the suburbs and that it takes her an hour to get here, but that she comes every week to peruse the offerings: "It makes me feel that I'm not too far from a world of beauty."

"Jimmy's books will set you back RMB25 each-they're really too expensive-but I have collected several," says Wang, who also professes a fondness for inspirational books. When her spirits are low, she turns to Liu Yung's essays to help pick her up. She sells clothes in a shopping center and hopes to have her own boutique some day. These Taiwanese authors help motivate her to strive toward that dream.

Listening to Wang talk with confidence and composure, several college girls crowd around. Giggling and talking over each other, they say how much they like Wang Wenhua's Protein Girl: "The guys in it were like grown-up versions of the TV soap opera Meteor Garden starring [Taiwan singing group] F4," dreamily said a student named Chen. "I can't wait to start working so I can have romances like those."

-----

http://216.136.129.142/search/ph_webcache?p=Ken+Zhu&ei=UTF-8&cop=mss&y=ph&dx=1&icp=1&u=www.yehey.com.ph/entertainment/celebs/article.aspx%3Fi%3D3051&w=ken+zhu&d=E2D3A6CC2E&loc=east
9/23/2003 1:41:04 PM
Source: The Journal Group
By: Nitz Miralles

PATULOY na mamamayani ang Chinovela at patuloy na mapapanood sa local television ang F4 at si Barbie Xu kahit matapos ang Meteor Garden 2, pero hiwa-hiwalay na sila.

Sa ABS-CBN 2 matutunghayan ang Love Scar ni Jerry Yan katambal si Karen Mok. Ipinapakita na ang teaser nito na tungkol sa pagkakaribal ng magkapatid sa iisang babae. Sa Dos din ang Chinese Ghost Story ni Barbie kapareha si Daniel Chan. Mahaba ang istorya at umabot sa 40 episodes.

Sa GMA 7 naman ang Marmalade Boy ni Ken Zhu, whose teaser is already being aired. Ang Siyete rin daw ang nakakuha ng rights ng Love Storm, na magkasama sina Ken, Vic Zhou at Vivian Hsu.

Sa pag-aagawan ng Channels 2 at 7 sa mga TV drama ng F4, hindi kami magugulat kung maipalabas din ang Peach Girl ni Vanness Wu, The Teacher nina Jerry at Ken, at ang Come To My Place kahit supporting lang ang F4.


-----

http://www.keepmedia.com/ShowItemDetails.do?itemID=307810&extID=10032&oliID=213
Newsweek
The Boys in the Band
by Alexandra A. Seno (With Erin Prelypchan in Manila)
September 22 2003
(excerpts)

Many southeast Asians are full of worries about China, ranging from the effects of the region's new trade pact to how to compete with Beijing for foreign investment. But for tens of millions of young Asians, there is a far more burning question at hand: who is the cutest member of F4--Jerry, Vic, Ken or Vanness? The boy-band pop singers may be Taiwanese, but they sing in Mandarin and have Southeast Asia deep in the throes of a love affair with all things Chinese. Says Indonesian entertainment executive Daniel Tumiwa: "Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kongers. For ordinary people here, it doesn't matter; it's just Chinese to them. It makes no difference. F4 is huge, huge, huge."

Not to mention hot, hot, hot. F4 is the first Mandarin pop band to win a devoted--some would say fanatic--pan-Asian audience. In many places, they are even bigger than the local acts--highly unusual in Asia's widely segmented music market. Pop tastes in east Asia have traditionally been split, with the north looking to Japan and Hong Kong, and the south to their home markets. F4 has radically altered the equation. They've sold 3.5 million albums--an astonishing number on a continent where pirated CDs are the norm. In Manila last week, fans paid up to $200--the equivalent of several months' salary--to see F4 members sing and dance live. Their faces loom large on billboards advertising Pepsi along Bangkok's expressways. On streets throughout the region, children can be heard belting F4 lyrics in passable Mandarin. "This is the first time I've ever seen a group actually conquering all markets here," says Mishal Varma, Singapore-based vice president for talent relations at MTV Asia. "No one else has crossed over the way they have."

Their staggering appeal is not easy to explain--even among music experts. A la 'N Sync, they don't play any instruments and they are not great singers. Few people even know what they're singing about. But the four twentysomething band members--Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Ken Zhu and Vanness Wu--belt out frothy tunes with a bubble-gum beat, and possess clean-cut good looks that have landed them on magazine covers, posters, key chains, T shirts and the bedroom walls of countless teenage girls. Indeed, their most committed fans know not just their birth dates but their blood types as well. They seem to possess that elusive blend of charisma and good timing that strikes only rarely among musicians. "In life, there comes only one Elvis Presley, one Ricky Martin, one F4," says Varma.

Their wholesome image is a big selling point. In person, the bandmates tend to be exceptionally polite. During an interview, Wu, the only F4 member who speaks fluent English, tosses off lines like, "The Vanness dream is to take care of my family one day so they don't have to work so hard." Such emphasis on family values plays well with young Asians. "F4 represents something they can aspire to within reach," says Ian Stewart, CEO of The Filter Group, an Asian trend consultancy. "Compared with Robbie Williams, Asians can connect more with F4."

The band's rise began with "Meteor Garden," a slick television drama launched in Taiwan two years ago. Based on a Japanese comic book, the series revolves around a group of Taiwanese students nicknamed F4--"Flower Four"--because they are so pretty. The show, massively popular in Taiwan, also turned into a runaway hit on Southeast Asian TV when dubbed or subtitled in local languages.

The program ran for two seasons. Like many Asian actors, the four boys also sang and danced. They quickly released two albums under Sony Music, and began playing to sellout crowds from Hong Kong to Manila. Today, in addition to touring, making TV appearances and hanging out together, the members are also busy working on solo careers. "We want to grow," says Wu, who just finished shooting his first film, a Hong Kong martial arts movie.

Wu laughs when asked if he feels famous. Three years ago, he was living in his native Los Angeles (he is named after the famous street in L.A. and San Francisco) and working as a customer-service rep for a phone company. Then he decided to indulge his passion and pursue a show-business career in Taiwan, where his parents were born. For the first year, he slept on friends' couches in Taipei. Now, though he's glad to have his own place, he says the band is still adjusting to its stardom. "We had never met until 'Meteor Garden'," he says. "Our personalities are so different, which is probably why our fans like us." Indeed, there seems to be something for everyone. Wu says he thinks he's seen as the extrovert, Jerry Yan is the funny but mercurial one, Vic Zhou is quiet but "off the wall" and Ken Zhu is "cool and collected--but a deep thinker."

The members have turned into unwitting ambassadors for greater China. Thanks largely to F4, Thais, Filipinos and Indonesians--not generally known for their interest in contemporary Chinese culture--are embracing it with a vengeance. In Jakarta, "There is growing acceptance that Chinese boys are good looking," says Tumiwa. "It's quite a shift here." Indonesia has had a checkered history with its Chinese population, highlighted by anti-Chinese riots and targeted violence. Now, the only mobs are those lining up to see F4 perform in concert. Young people are adopting F4's style of dress, which tends to be casual with a flair, such as tight jeans and fitted white shirts. Fans have also copied their trademark long hairstyles. Says Bangkok hotel clerk Praphaphorn Sithuha, an admitted F4 fanatic: "F4 has good style, they sing well and are very funny."

The band members have also sparked an unlikely interest in the Mandarin language. "Now my workers are listening to Chinese songs all day long," says Charlie Clement, a flower-farm owner in the central Philippines. "They sing along but don't understand." At least one is going even further; Thai fan Praphaphorn has a friend who was so inspired by the group that she enrolled in Chinese language lessons.

Not surprisingly, everyone is trying to discover the next F4. TV executives in Manila, for example, have been snapping up other Taiwanese soaps, like "Lavender" and "MVP Valentine." In Jakarta, the Taiwan all-male hip-hop group Energy, which also sings only in Mandarin, has been performing to packed crowds. "They have good music," says Harry Hui, Asia president for Universal Music. "[But] teenagers in Southeast Asia don't yet think of China as a source of cool." Just give them time.

Newsweek International

-----

http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/september/0922to0924/0922.html
Fluff
September 22, 2003
(excerpts)


(image from http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/september/0922to0924/0922.html)

Demonstrating that the attack did not leave any lasting psychological scars, Cheung gave a sexy performance the night before last (left) at a benefit raising funds for Mainland flood victims. Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung, Twins, Edison Chen Kwoon-Hei, F4's Ken Zhu Xiao-Tian, Boy'z, Chris Wong Hoi-Kan, Leo Koo Gui-Gei, Joey Yung Tso-Yi and Jade Kwan Sum-Yin were among the other acts who performed for over 20,000 fans at the concert held in Suzhou City Stadium. Cheung and former flame Tse did not share the stage during the show and avoided each other at the post-concert party.

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00001067&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Lea like you've never heard her before
September 22, 2003 02:55:00(LA) / 2003-09-22 18:55:00(Manila)
(excerpts)

Four concerts were all happening that Saturday night. Martin Nievera was at Onstage in Greenbelt. Canadian singer Michael Bublé had an invitational show at the Meralco Theater. Robert Seña was performing at Music Museum. And the F4's Ken Zhu and Vanness Wu with Barbie Xu were stirring a storm at the Philsports football field. Still, it was a full-house crowd that watched Lea Salonga at the PICC for two nights, in the concert directed by the incomparable Bobby Garcia.

-----

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/ceb/2003/09/21/oped/melanie.t..lim.html
Sun Star Cebu
Sunday, September 21, 2003
Lim: F4 and more
By Melanie T. Lim


(image from http://www.sonymusic.com.tw/pop/f4/

My column last week, entitled, “Telenovela fans” led many to believe that the ensuing article was about F4.

For those who know me well, however, they would know that it would have been next to impossible for me to write about F4 because beyond the fact that I am not likely to know much about this Taiwan-based boy band due to my low IQ in music, I could never, in my lifetime, ever be a groupie.

Still, I contend F4 is a phenomenon. Only two members of the band came to Manila to sing but four songs yet the band together with its female co-star in the popular telenovela, “Meteor Garden,” spectacularly banned in the People’s Republic of China, attracted a crowd of 40,000. Some people actually paid up to P10,000 per ticket to see just half of this boy band.

Now aside from the fact that I am largely anti-social and would be inclined to avoid huge gatherings of people, I would never pay that much for a ticket. In fact, in my entire life, I have paid for less than ten concert tickets. And not because I don’t like music because I do despite my low IQ in this field. I just don’t believe in paying to see someone I can see for free like on tv.

Now, if you’re a concert queen, keep the blood pressure down. Different strokes for different folks. I spend my money elsewhere.

I must admit, though, that this Asian craze over F4 has given me a heightened awareness of this boy band. I have actually tried to sing their songs in the hope of broadening my views, improving my IQ in music and more importantly, practicing my Mandarin.

To my dismay, however, the lyrics of their songs are not expressed in pinyin (romanization of the Chinese language), at least on television. They are expressed in the usual pidgin version of pinyin that just drives a sword through the hearts of those who have been formally schooled under the pinyin method. So there goes my chance to be a karaoke queen.

Still, I really don’t see what the hysteria is all about. Is it their looks? Maybe I’m too old to appreciate them. Is it their music? Well, this, I can understand. But some fans actually have grand plans of stalking these people all the way to Taipei. Now, that’s major fanaticism.

I have seen a few international stars in the flesh like Michael Jackson, Jackie Chan and Donald Trump. They looked pretty normal to me despite their star status. If you’re curious about how a cheapskate like me got to rub elbows with these stars, well, it certainly wasn’t because I paid to see them. Oh no, that wouldn’t be me. That would be an impostor. I ran into these people in the course of my travels.

Any photos to prove these encounters? Well, it isn’t likely, is it? Don’t forget, I am no star-struck fan likely to be breaking through security for a photo op with some celebrity. So what am I doing writing about F4 this week?

Well, I don’t have to be a musical genius or groupie to recognize and appreciate the success of a band whose songs albeit I am unfamiliar with but whose fame has amazingly managed to penetrate even my musically challenged brain.

-----

F4 stars leave immediately for Taiwan
(excerpts)
9/15/2003 2:24:04 AM
Philstar.com

Taiwanese pop stars Ken Zhu and Vaness Wu, two
members of the popular group F4, and Barbie Xu,
who plays the role of San Cai in the hit
telenovela Meteor Garden were the last passengers
to board China Airlines flight No. Cl-632 bound
for Taipei, Taiwan at 11:15 a.m. yesterday.

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00000945&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Stampede mars show of 'Meteor Garden' stars
September 15, 2003 01:10:00(LA) / 2003-09-15 17:10:00(Manila)

EVEN before "Meteor Garden" stars Vanness Wu and Ken Zhu could sing "Can't Lose You" and other hits at their one-night concert on Saturday at the Philsports Football Field (formerly Ultra) in Pasig City, unruly fans broke the barricade at the exit gate, resulting in a stampede that injured eight people.

Concert organizer Big Slim Entertainment Production attributed the stampede to "incessant rain" and "meticulous security checks."

Fans started arriving as early as 4 p.m., which was about the same time the gate of the Philsports Football Field was opened, according to police investigator Felipe Ramos.

The steel gate is the only entrance to the stadium, which can accommodate a crowd of 50,000. Some 40,000 fans watched the show.

At 8:30 p.m., a large crowd rushed toward the gate, causing it to collapse. The gate fell on the victims, said Ramos.

"I would have been one of the injured people had I not managed to run away from the falling steel gate," said Armin Magsaysay. "At that time, everyone wanted to get in because the concert was about to start."

Police identified the victims as Maribel Padayao, 17; Rosita Legaspi, 45; Rolando Onchangco, 40; Consuelo Rejano, 25; Catherine Calamlam, 34; Silverio Atienza, 42; Jocelyn Atienza, 55; and Julien Atienza, 11. They were brought to the Medical City Hospital in Mandaluyong at about 9 p.m.

Five people were discharged at around 10 a.m. Sunday, said Medical City Hospital press relations officer Marilyn Atienza. Padayao, Onchangco and Legaspi were still confined at the hospital but were now out of danger, according to Atienza.

There is no word yet on whether Big Slim Entertainment Production will shoulder the hospital expenses.

In a statement, the concert organizer apologized to ticket buyers for "difficulties or any inconvenience experienced in entering the venue."

It said the "meticulous security checks conducted specifically for the safety of the public" and "incessant rains" made it extremely difficult for the people to enter the stadium. Those who brought video and still cameras, mineral water bottles and soft drink cans were at first barred by Philsports security personnel.

Flower 4

Vaness (Mei Zhuo), and Ken (Xi-Men), members of the former pop quartet F4, or Flower 4, and Barbie Xu (Shan Cai) are three of the lead stars of the phenomenal youth show "Meteor Garden" on ABS-CBN.

The two other band members, Jerry Yan (Dao Ming Shi in Meteor Garden) and Vic Zhuo (Hua Ze Lei), had a show in Taiwan on the same day.

Disappointed fans

The three Taiwanese celebrities, along with Barbie's younger sister Dee Xu, arrived in Manila on Friday aboard two separate China Airlines flight from Taiwan to perform in a show billed as "The Event."

They returned home Sunday at 11 a.m., disappointing millions of viewers who were expecting them to make a live guest appearance on ABS-CBN's Sunday noontime variety show "ASAP Mania." In a press statement, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. said it was "not in any way involved in the production of the concert" and was "merely a media partner" of the event producer.

The network, which holds the exclusive coverage of and interview rights to the visit of the Taiwanese stars, said it had "no participation in the handling or conduct of the concert."

The show started at 8:45 p.m. with half of its audience still standing outside the stadium.

Filipino talents Gary Valenciano, Kyla, The CompanY, Nina, South Border and Luke Mejares sang several songs before the Taiwanese celebrities were called to perform onstage at 10:30 p.m.

Big Slim Entertainment reportedly spent P25 million on talent fees alone for the three Taiwanese stars, in addition to picking up the tab for their accommodation and air fare and the cost of mounting the production.

This early, local producers are negotiating for their return in March, together with their "Meteor Garden" co-stars Jerry Yan and Vic Zhuo.(INQ7)

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00000938&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Complete F4 concert planned for March
September 14, 2003 06:12:00(LA) / 2003-09-14 22:12:00(Manila)

THIS early, local producers are negotiating for the return in March of Vaness Wu and Ken Zhu of the popular Taiwanese quartet F4, or Flower 4, together with their bandmates Jerry Yan and Vic Zhuo.

Vaness and Ken and their "Meteor Garden" co-star Barbie Xu performed in a concert called "The Event" at the Philsports football field last Saturday. Jerry and Vic had a show in Taiwan on the same day.

The arrangements for the March show were revealed by an official of the ABS-CBN, who asked not to be identified. The network had the exclusive rights to cover and interview the Taiwanese stars over the weekend.

The quartet is in the cast of the phenomenal Taiwanese show "Meteor Garden," aired daily on ABS-CBN.

In "Meteor Garden," Jerry is Dao Ming Shi, Vic is Hua Ze Lei, Vanness is Mei Zhuo and Ken is Xi-Men. Barbie is Shan Cai.

Vaness, Ken and Barbie arrived last Friday on board two China Airlines flights from Taiwan. They will fly back home at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Inquirer Entertainment also learned that actor and TV host Richard Gomez interviewed Jerry Yan in Hong Kong recently. GMA-7 show biz talk show "S-Files" will air the exclusive interview on Sunday. Jerry is the newest image model of Bench, a Philippine line of clothes for the young.

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00000921&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
'Meteor Garden' stars arrive for one-night gig
September 13, 2003 06:07:00(LA) / 2003-09-13 22:07:00(Manila)

WORK at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport came to a virtual stop for about 30 minutes Friday when two members of the phenomenally popular F4 boy band, who rose to fame through the successful "Meteor Garden" television drama series, flew in from Taiwan for a scheduled performance Saturday night at the Philsports football field.

Although only two members of the quartet made it here for the show, NAIA employees and visitors actually saw four, not just two Friday.


This was because of a neat trick devised by the concert organizers to protect the wildly popular band members who are the lead actors in the Taiwanese drama that has captured the hearts of Filipino soap opera fans.

While a huge crowd was gawking at what they thought were "Ken Zhu" and "Vaness Wu" as they emerged from a tube at Gate 4 of the NAIA Terminal 1, a smaller group was greeting the real Ken Zhu and Vaness Wu on the tarmac as soon as their China Airline plane touched down at 3:45 p.m.

The pair that came in through Gate 4 were actually Aaron Lim and MJ Coronel, employees of the ABS-CBN Talent Center who were dressed in maroon-colored shirts in the style of the real Ken and Vaness.

The network and the concert organizer, Vigslim Entertainment Production, had devised the plan to divert the attention of airport personnel, security, media and fans who were waiting for the arrival of the Taiwanese stars.

The genuine Vaness, who wore a plain white T-shirt, and Ken, who was dressed in an olive-green collarless shirt, rode in an ABS-CBN van, backed by a white Mercedez Benz van, that brought them to the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.

Most of the airport's workers left their posts a half-hour before the Taiwanese celebrities' scheduled arrival, and had gathered near Gate 4 to get a glimpse of their idols, unaware that the two young men they saw were decoys.

"Their (Ken and Vaness) Taiwanese handlers are extremely strict because of a traumatic experience that happened to the artists in another Asian country," explained Maloli Manalastas, ABS-CBN vice president for government, corporate affairs and public relations.

She said the ABS-CBN had been instructed to use only one video camera, and to ban the taking of still photos and even autograph signing.

Even the Taiwanese ambassador to the Philippines was reportedly not allowed to have his photo taken with the two F4 band members, Manalastas said.

The network holds the exclusive coverage and interview rights to the visit of the Taiwanese stars who are performing tonight in a show billed as "The Event."

Earlier Friday morning, the Meteor Garden's female star Barbie Xu (Shan Cai) had planed in with her sister Dee Xu, their mother and four Taiwanese delegates.

In the ensuing commotion, Barbie's mother was reportedly left behind on the plane, but she soon caught up with the six-member entourage.

The Inquirer learned that Ken and Vaness will be singing only four songs each in tonight's concert.

Filipino talents Gary Valenciano, Kyla, The CompanY, Nina, South Border, and Luke Mejares will fill up the rest of the show.

Tickets to the show cost 10,500 pesos, 5,000 pesos, 3,200 pesos, 2,000 pesos, 1,200 pesos and 500 pesos.

The two other F4 band members -- Jerry Yan and Vic Zhuo - were unable to make the trip due to previous commitments.

P25-M talent fee

Industry sources said Vigslim Entertainment spent 25 million pesos on talent fees alone for the three Taiwanese stars, in addition to picking up the tab for their accommodation and airfare and the cost of mounting the production.

Airport police chief Angel Atutubo said he was surprised at the "warm reception" that airport employees gave earlier Friday morning to Barbie's group and so decided to triple the security personnel for the arrival of Ken and Vaness in the afternoon.

"We didn't expect the airport staff members to be this excited. Even the janitors and security guards all wanted to see Shan Cai," said Atutubo.

Kristina Mapa, a Saudi Airlines passenger service agent, said she and other crewmembers left the plane as soon as it parked on the tarmac at 3 p.m. to await the arrival of the two "Meteor Garden" stars.

"This is my only chance to see the F4 because I was not able to buy tickets to their concert," said Andrea Custodio of Duty Free Philippines.

"I was told that as early as August, Ticketworld outlets were no longer selling tickets cheaper than 1,200 pesos," she said.

Aldo San Pedro, who described himself as a die-hard F4 fan, said: "I think the fans are being short-changed. They are not getting their money's worth. But I'm still going to watch the show."

At the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel, executives reportedly had to declare that the hotel was fully booked after receiving numerous reservations mostly from Chinese-Filipino fans of the group.

EDSA Shangri-la executive Sharon Cayanan suggested this may not just be because of the Taiwanese stars. She said the hotel was full because "there are lots of medical and international conventions going on."

On Sept. 21, ABS-CBN will air not the concert itself but a two-hour special to be hosted by Kris Aquino.

Ken, 24, was born in Taiwan but was raised in Singapore. He was a captain waiter in a Japanese restaurant before being discovered by the "Meteor Garden" producers.

Vaness, 24, was born in the US. He came to Taiwan to join a talent contest when he was asked to audition for the show.

Barbie is also popular in Taiwan as a singer and TV host. She is Big S in ASOS, a singing duo, with her sister, who is known as Small S.

She has been hosting a daily musical variety show in Taiwan, "100% Entertainment," for the past five years.

Police officials have warned motorists and commuters that unless they had pressing business in the area, they should stay away from the vicinity of the Philsports football field, formerly known as the Ultra Dome, in Pasig today.

Hundreds of vehicles are expected to clog up the streets surrounding the Dome as early as lunchtime as the concert of Vaness, Barbie Xu and Ken will be sure to draw thousands of fans from Metro Manila and nearby provinces, said Eastern Police District police chief Senior Superintendent Ernesto Catungal.

Catungal said authorities are not just concerned about the volume of vehicles but also car thieves.

Security will be extra tight, said EDP head Chief Superintendent Rolando Sacramento who met with Ultra Dome management and the concert's organizers on Wednesday to finalize security arrangements.

Plainclothes policemen will be fielded inside the concert hall itself and foot patrols and mobile cars will be doubled, he said.


"We have not received reports of sabotage or anything like that, but we are preparing all the same," Sacramento said.

"There is no stopping this concert now. Again, we urge the fans to be vigilant. If you see something that is not right, don't hesitate to approach the cops," he said.(INQ7)

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00000873&category=
Asian Journal
'Meteor Garden' stars to undergo SARS tests
Francis Earl A. Cueto / Newspixels
September 10, 2003 03:08:00(LA) / 2003-09-10 19:08:00(Manila)

Actors of the popular Taiwanese soap opera Meteor Garden will have to undergo SARS examination at the airport or face deportation, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) general manager Edgar Manda said Wednesday.

"All those arriving in the country are required to undergo a SARS examination upon their arrival at the NAIA," Manda said in an interview.

He said authorities had informed promoters and organizers of the Taiwanese talents of the requirement.

Barbie Xu, popularly known as San Cai to Filipinos, and two members of the F4 boy band are scheduled to arrive in Manila on Thursday for their concert in Pasig on Saturday.

-----

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/archive/detail.asp?cat=1&id=41133
Filipinos just love to keep in touch with Taiwan's boyband F4
September 9, 2003
The China Post
Nancy T. Lu


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html )

Unfamiliarity with Taiwan boyband F4 (Flower 4) in the Philippines nowadays means being out of touch. The names of the main characters in "Meteor Garden" and, of late, "Meteor Rain," have been on everyone's lips ever since the launching of the drama series on Philippines television in early May.

Try to listen closely. The "in" cellphone ring tone among young people is from the series, featuring the phenomenal foursome. Even the picture popping out on the screen of the cellphone features the hottest heartthrobs to hit the Philippine entertainment scene.

Sexy Philippine screen stars openly compare their boyfriends, husbands or lovers to the four members of F4 to drive home the point that the men in their lives are good-looking. Radio newscasters call each other Dao Ming Shi and his love interest, Shan Chai. Hua Zi Lei, Mei Zhuo and Xi Men, too, figure prominently in the fantasies of not just high-profile celebrities but also of lesser mortals like the ordinary men and women on the street. Take note: Filipinos identify them all by the names of the characters they portray in "Meteor Garden."

Dao Ming Shi, the lead male character portrayed by Jerry Yen (Yen Cheng-xu), threatened to be dislodged briefly at one point as the "crush ng bayan (crush of the entire country)" by Lt. Second Grade Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the military officers who led the failed July 27 mutiny in the financial district of Makati.

The hottest chinovela (as against the Mexican telenovela), which was produced in Taiwan, was impossible to ignore. The frequency of the plugs and commercials about it saw to that. The Philippine television network which carries the hit series even came up with a riotous spoof production, featuring popular midget stars.

After the program took the country by storm, Filipino children, in fact, tended to call every fair Chinese beauty or doll in the neighborhood Shan Chai. Young Filipinas meanwhile tried to copy her hairstyle.

The ABS-CBN television network was reported to be raking it in through commercials on "Meteor Garden" and "Meteor Rain." The figure quoted was one million Philippine pesos a day.

Even before the series made it halfway, "Meteor Garden" Rewind — meaning replay — kicked off on weekends to satisfy the public clamor for the drama series. Fans who got impatient with the episodes dragged out and stretched so much daily to accommodate more advertising contracts just went ahead and bought pirated copies of the hit series.

Actually the Philippine television network's marketing executives were reluctant at first to buy the TV series. After being informed that "Meteor Garden" was a big hit in Indonesia after it was aired in the Indonesian Bahasa language, they finally agreed to test the Philippine market. All the dialogues, however, were first dubbed in Tagalog. The rest was history.

Try visiting Metro Manila's shopping malls today. The four faces of Dao Ming Shi (Jerry Yen), Hua Zi Lei (Vic Chou), Mei Zhuo (Vanness Wu) and Xi Men (Ken Chu) pop up at every turn. Lately, they are not just affecting cool poses but also selling Pepsi.

The piped-in music in business establishments tends to be right out of "Meteor Garden." The Chinese songs of F4 are memorized by their Filipino fans. Youngsters who check out the hit chart in the cybercafes, in fact, sing effortlessly the F4 hits in Mandarin!

Philippine television today features an ongoing quest for the local version of the F4. The lip-synching contest sponsored by Sony Music regularly gathers in the TV studio young talents who copy the hairdos, the getups, the gestures and the dance steps of the incredibly successful boyband from neighboring Taiwan. Another competition urges children to audition for the chance to appear in a televised search for a kiddie version of the F4.

Even the magazine and comic book vendors in the wet markets are trying to cash in on the popularity of the F4 by selling their photographs and posters. Famous Filipino celebrities with big followings now have to play second fiddle to the imported idols.

Divisoria, the cheapest place in Metro Manila to buy just about anything, retails a whole gamut of F4 bargains: bookmarks, notebooks, mouse pads, stickers, fans, keychains, mugs, music cassettes, VCDs or DVDs and t-shirts. Pictures of the idolized four are helping sell tons of consumer products in the market.

And now that the news of a forthcoming visit by Vic Chou, Ken Chu and Barbie Hsu is out, fans are snapping up the tickets to the lone open-air concert dubbed "The Event" at the ULTRA in Metro Manila. The most expensive ticket costs no less than l0,000 Philippine pesos! The cheapest ticket is 500 pesos.

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00000815&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
ABS-CBN: Other networks not allowed to cover F4 visit
September 6, 2003 23:43:00(LA) / 2003-09-07 15:43:00(Manila)

THERE might not be a "Meteor" shower on local television.

Inquirer Entertainment learned that other TV networks are banned from covering the arrival of the stars of "Meteor Garden," ABS-CBN's phenomenally popular chinovela, as the network makes sure it does an exclusive coverage of their Manila visit.

Vanness Wu (Mei Zhuo) and Ken Zhu (Xi Men), members of the former pop quartet F4, or Flower 4, and Barbie Xu (San Cai) are scheduled to arrive on board two China Airlines flights from Taiwan on Sept. 11.

Maloli Manalastas, ABS-CBN vice president for government, corporate affairs and public relations, confirmed that the network has the exclusive right to the coverage of the arrival of the Taiwanese stars.

"Its true that we are not allowing any other network to cover the arrival," Manalastas told Inquirer Entertainment last Friday. "We are still discussing this with airport officials."

Vanness, Ken and Barbie, who will be with her sister Dee Xu, reportedly will be given a welcome fit for dignitaries, including use of the presidential lounge at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Centennial Terminal.

Only the President and other top officials of the land are allowed to use NAIA's presidential lounge. Even Hollywood stars Lou Diamond Philips and Tia Carrere, who recently flew in to attend the 5th Makati Cinemanila International Film Festival, did not get to use the lounge.

The Taiwanese stars are coming to Manila to perform in a one-night show called "The Event" on Sept. 13 at the Philsports (Ultra) Football Field in Pasig City.

On Sept. 21, ABS-CBN will air not the concert itself but a two-hour special featuring the "Meteor Garden" stars. Kris Aquino will host the program.

NAIA General Manager Edgar Manda told Inquirer Entertainment that the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) has requested him in writing for a "security cover" for the Taiwanese stars.

Manda, however, refused to give details of the security measures that airport personnel would implement for the arrival of the Taiwanese stars.

"(TECO officials) feel that, with F4's popularity among Filipinos, the crowds might get unruly during the arrival," said Manda. "They simply want to be sure of the group's safety. We will see what we can do about their request. We also don't want to compromise our own security measures."

The Taiwanese celebrities reportedly will be using a different exit so that no other network, aside from ABS-CBN, could have access to them at the airport.

It is also said that reporters and production crew members from stations other than ABS-CBN would not be granted entry passes for the arrival.

"Meteor Garden" is shown weekdays on ABS-CBN. It also stars Jerry Yan as Dao Ming Shi, and Vic Zhuo as Hua Ze Lei.

Ken, 24, was born in Taiwan but raised in Singapore. He was a captain waiter in a Japanese restaurant before the show's producers discovered him.

Vanness, 24, was born in the US. He came to Taiwan to join a talent contest when the "Meteor Garden" producers asked him to audition.

Barbie is also popular in Taiwan as a singer and TV host. She is Big S in ASOS, a singing duo, with her sister, who is known as Small S.(INQ7)

-----

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2003/sept/05/life/20030905lif2.html
The Manila Times
Life & Times
Friday, September 05, 2003
DEX & THE CITY
By Dexter Osorio
F4 is coming to town


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html

The good news is that F4 is really coming to town. The bad news is that F4 is not really coming to town; only two of its members have actually been booked for their much-awaited Manila concert, leaving entertainment writers no choice but to dub it as “the much awaited F2 concert” instead.

For those of you have been living in a cave for the last couple of months, F4 (pronounced “eff-por”) is the Taiwan­ese boyband that stars in the hit Chinese soap, Meteor Garden. Meteor Garden has the unique distinction of single-handedly lifting its home television network out of debt—and never mind if the said television network had to use its top anchorpersons to plug it every night on its evening newscasts.

Anyway, “Meteor Garden,” is based on a Japanese manga, or comic book, entitled Hana Yori Dango, which literally means, “men are better than flowers.” (I am not making this up.) The plot is simple enough: a poor but pretty girl named Shan Cai enters an exclusive school for filthy rich snobs and goes head-to-head with the school’s four handsome bullies, two of whom end up falling in love with her. The bullies are played by F4 (“Jerry” Yan Cheng Xu as Dao Ming Si, “Vic” Zhou Yu Ming as Hua Ze Lei, “Ken” Zhu Xiao Tian as Xi Men, and “Vanness” Wu Jian Hao as Mei Zhuo) while pretty Shan Cai is played by Barbie Xu.

The blood types of the four F4 members, for anybody who’s interested, are as follows: “Jerry” Yen Cheng Xu, blood type “B”; “Vic” Zhou Yu Ming, blood type “O”; “Ken” Zhu Xiao Tian, blood type “AB”; and “Vanness” Wu Jian Hao, blood type “A.”

These vital pieces of information, along with a host of others, are easily available through the four billion or so fansites posted on the web, presumably for the remote but not totally discount­able possibility that one of the F4 members might need a blood trans­fusion in the middle of a live perform­ance. (My advice to all you F4 fans: Be prepared.)

For their September 13 concert at the Ultra, only “Vanness” Wu Jian Hao and “Ken” Zhu Xiao Tian (no relation to Hap Tian) will be performing— although they will be joined by “Shan Cai” Barbie Xu.

But what has got everybody buzzing is the meteoric price of tickets— P10,500 for the best seats; P7,500 for the next best seats; P5,000 for the so-so seats; and so on, all the way down to P1,000 for the you-can-still-hear-them-even-if-you-can’t-see-them seats.

Some critics have pointed out that the ticket prices are too harsh, considering the current state of the economy and the sad plight of our less-fortunate country­men—and the fact that only half of F4 will be in Manila. So in effect, the Filipino audience is being asked to pay full price for half the group, so that they can have the privilege of listening to songs that they don’t even understand.

But the tickets are not really that ex­pen­sive—it’s just a matter of pers­pective. Of course, even the lowest-priced, P1,000 tickets will seem expensive if you consider that the average cost of living in Metro Manila for a family of six is only P530.01, but that’s an unfair comparison, if you ask me.

Think of it this way: the price of the most expensive F4 concert ticket is just two-hundred-millionth of the country’s Gross National Product. See? I told you it’s just a matter of perspective.

I guess Filipinos have no choice but to scrimp on some of their other luxuries if they want to see F4 live in concert. So I have taken the initiative and compiled a handy comparison guide based on current retail prices.

One front row ticket to the F4 concert is roughly equivalent to:

• 500 kilos of rice

• 724 bars of laundry soap


• 807 bottles of beer

• 954 rolls of toilet paper

• 1312 cans of sardines

• 2000 packs of instant ramen noodles

• 3230 chicken eggs

• 9,545 boxes of matches

• 10,500 Choc-nut bars

• 15,750 pieces of Storck menthol candy

• enough ikot jeepney fare to take you 3,000 times around the University of the Philippines.

-----

http://www.showbizpinoy.com/gossip/sept_wk1/f2.asp
Showbiz Pinoy
No special treatment for F2 and Barbie at NAIA



No special treatment awaits the members of the popular Taiwanese boy band F4, at least as far as the airport is concerned.

This was stressed yesterday by Edgardo Manda, general manager of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), amid reports that two of the four band members are set to arrive in the country any time next week to hold a concert here.

Reports have it that Vanness Wu Jian Hao and Ken Zhu Xiao Tian are set to arrive in the Philippines along with female Chinese singer-actress Barbie Xu Xi Yuan. The three portray Mei Zuo, Xi Men and Shan Cai, respectively, in the Chinovelas Meteor Garden and Meteor Garden 2 which are aired on ABS-CBN 2.

Manda said that like others who come from Taiwan, the three - as well as Dee Xu, Barbie's sister and co-member in the ASOS band - will be subjected to the usual checks required of all inbound passengers.

"We'll make sure that they will undergo the required screening," Manda said, in reference to the health checks being conducted by airport authorities on passengers coming from countries formerly listed by the World Health Organization as having been affected by the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory System.

Manda was planning to scale down the health screening processes on travelers coming from SARS-affected countries when most of the places in the WHO list were cleared after they licked the illness. Leading the list were Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Taiwan.

However, he changed his mind when two domestic helpers - one coming from Taiwan and another from Hong Kong - fell ill days after coming home, showing symptoms similar to those of SARS.

This prompted Manda to again raise the alert level against SARS, ordering that the rigid screening be continually done on inbound passengers at least until 2005.

The usual procedures consisted of passing through a thermal scanning machine and the putting of thermal strips on the forehead of a passenger, to make sure that he does not have fever, a main symptom of SARS.

Those found to be running a fever are immediately isolated, interviewed and further examined to ensure that they do not have SARS.

Once at the immigration counter, the passenger is asked questions which serve the purpose of contact tracing or determining who the passenger got in contact with before coming to the Philippines, where he will stay and for how long.

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00000620&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Only Ken, Vaness, Barbie coming for one-night show
August 22, 2003 05:02:00(LA) / 2003-08-22 21:02:00(Manila)

TWO MEMBERS of the wildly popular Taiwanese quartet F4, or Flower Four, and Barbie Xu, known as the chinovela character "San Cai," all of "Meteor Garden" fame, are being brought to Manila to perform in a one-night show called "The Event" on Sept. 13, reportedly at a cost of 25 million pesos.

A source from the concert organizers said the big amount would only pay for the talent fees of Vaness Wu (Mei Zhuo) and Ken Zhu (Xi-Men), two of the members of the now-disbanded F4, and Barbie Xu (San Cai).

The show will be held at the Philsports (ULTRA) Football Field in Pasig City.

Vaness, Ken and Barbie are three of the five lead stars of the phenomenal Taiwanese youth show "Meteor Garden," shown on weekdays on ABS-CBN. The series also stars Jerry Yan, who plays Dao Ming Shi, and Vic Zhou, who is Hua Ze Lei.

Former "That's Entertainment" talent Joed Serrano, now a concert producer through Vigslim Entertainment Production, refused to disclose the exact amount of the talent fees for the Taiwanese stars.

"All I can say is that the (talent fee) is super O.A. sa mahal," said Serrano, who is part of the marketing division of Vigslim Entertainment.

He said tickets to the concert are priced 10,500 pesos, 5,000 pesos, 3,200 pesos, 2,000 pesos, 1,000 pesos and 500 pesos.

He said "The Event" would also feature Barbie's younger sister, Small S, who is also a celebrity in Taiwan, as well as several Filipino artists.

Barbie, who is called Big S, also belongs to a band named ASOS.

The Philsports Football Field, which can accommodate a crowd of 50,000, was also the venue for the concerts of Boyz II Men, Phil Collins, Barry Manilow, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan and Earth, Wind and Fire.(INQ7)

-----

http://www.yehey.com/tabloids/print.aspx?a=12121
Yehey! Tabloids
Showbiz
The Meteor Garden Files (Part 43)
7/31/2003 1:37:00 PM
The Journal Group

The day Vic's eyelid got caught in Batbire's bra clasp

Here now are the comments of Barbie Xu Xi Yuan (Shan Cai) on F4, her costars in Meteor Garden and Meteor Garden 2, as well as thumbnail sketches of the F4 guys.

* * *

SHE is the only woman in a serial with four hot-blooded men.

How does Barbie Xu cope?

In between filming the Chinovela, she quips over the phone that her costars have yet to make a move on her.

"I am puzzled. After all, my qualities are quite good. If they did [court her], I’d definitely accept them because they’re all so cute!"

Never mind that she is older than them.

Barbie, who says she is very much like her Meteor Garden character Shan Cai ("I’m famous in Taiwan for being straightforward"), pre-empts any questions from the press about reel-to-real romance among the cast.

"Vic Zhou and I get along very well. I’ve even made him my god-brother. We talk to each other in incomplete, incoherent sentences, so people overhearing us often think we’re crazy."

She once told him to brush his teeth, gargle and chew gum before shooting their kissing scene, and was amused to see him following her instructions to the letter.

Of Jerry Yan, she says: "Jerry and I share some daring love scenes. My mother said she was embarrassed to watch them.

Sometimes we get bored with kissing take after take, so we’d start to fool around — he bit my nose once and the whole thing disintegrated into a joke.

Barbie had known Vanness before the serial and felt comfortable with him — another fact that Taiwan’s tabloids pounced on.

And what does she have to say about Ken?

"He likes to read.’"

JERRY YAN CHENG XU

Family: Raised by his mother.

Path to fame: Was a part-time model in his student days. Gained attention after he won Taiwanese magazine Men’s Uno model competition in 1998. Starred in many commercials before he was handpicked for Meteor Garden.

Plays: Dao Ming Si, leader of F4. Wealthy, obnoxious and a bully.

Real/reel similarity: "I’m rather bad-tempered like him. When it comes to love, we are also similar. When I like someone, I am direct about revealing how I feel."

Most memorable scene: A kissing scene with Barbie which took many takes, some lasting 20 minutes. "I was very nervous! But after a few tries, it got better. But I made sure not to touch her more intimately than necessary, so people won’t say we were playing for real."

First brush with tabloids: Scribes claimed amorous intent when talk-show host Matilda Tao gave him a diamond necklace in return for a pen he gave her.

From the horse’s mouth: "I fell down after filming and Tao Zi was very concerned about me. She came to the set to give me a massage. I call her ’sister.’"

VIC ZHOU YU MIN

Path to fame: A Mechanical Engineering student at a Taiwanese technical institute, Zhou accompanied a friend to audition for a role in the show, but was discovered by the producer instead.

Plays: Hua Ze Lei, the free-spirited and contemplative member of F4.

Real/reel similarity: "When the show became popular, I became even more reclusive like him! I’m afraid of the press spotting me if I go out in ratty clothes, so I simply refuse to go out much anymore."

Most memorable scene: His eyelid once got caught between Barbie’s bra clasp in a hugging scene. "Before that, there were a lot of NG (no good) scenes, so I just endured the pain until the director shouted ’Cut!’ When I told Barbie, she just laughed and hit me playfully."

Preferred girlfriend: He’s had a crush on Hsu Hsi-ti (Small S), Barbie’s sister and her comember in the band ASOS. "She’s very bubbly and open," he says.

Future plans: "I just want to act well and not think too far into the future.’ He also wants to continue with his studies.

KEN ZHU XIAO TIAN

Family: Born in Taiwan, but was raised in Singapore by a guardian. In the eight years he lived there, he attended Bukit Merah Primary and Boon Lay Secondary. "I consider myself a Singaporean. I miss the food and shopping."

Path to fame: Was discovered while working as a captain in a Japanese BBQ restaurant. This pretty boy is also a good cook who likes to whip up "simple dishes."

Plays: Xi Men, the playboy. In the show, the F4 frequently have to fend off disgruntled men who have had their girlfriends pinched by him.

Real/reel similarity: Ken is a diehard romantic. He reveals that his first love, in Secondary 3, had been a girl from Thomson Secondary named Lin Xin Yu, a "cute Malaysian girl, a friend of my sister’s. It ended when she went to Australia for further studies in 1996."

VANNESS WU JIAN HAO

Origin of name: His moniker is the name of a road in his hometown of Los Angeles. "My Dad chose it because he thought it sounded nice."

Family: American-born Chinese. "Growing up was hard; my parents are separated." But his family still enjoys "close, good relations. While filming, I missed home terribly and wanted to give up, but my family dissuaded me."

Path to fame: When he was 13, he started practising dance moves with ex-ABC boy band, The L.A. Boyz. He wanted to make a record, but it fell through. His sister, Stacy Wu Jia Jia, cut an album in 1995 with the group Babes. "I’ve always been interested in acting. So I came to Taiwan to be a part of the entertainment scene." He joined Super Sunday’s YMCA segment, a male talent contest-cum-pageant. He was spotted by the series’ producers, who asked him to audition.

Plays: Sly and playful Mei Zuo. "He’s a sunshine boy, happy-go-lucky and spur of the moment."

-----
http://tabloids.yehey.com/tabloids3.asp?id=12007&categ=18

F4 not disbanded; they’re doing ’Meteor Farm’ movie!
7/22/2003 2:12:00 PM
The Journal Group

Sa members ng F4, si Vic Zhou ang pinaka-busy.

Sa balitang nakuha namin dated March 2003, may
gagawin siyang bagong TV drama entitled Kuan Ai
Long Juan Feng. First time gaganap ng bad guy si
Vic; gangster ang kanyang papel. Ibang-iba ito sa
roles niya sa Meteor Garden at The Poor Prince.
Makakasama ni Vic sa bagong TV drama si Ken Zhu
ng F4 pa rin at ang Chinese actress na si Vivian
Hsu.

Kasama ang iba pang member ng F4, gagawa si Vic
ng pelikulang may pamagat na Meteor Farm. Kung
natuloy ang shooting nito noong May, baka tapos
na ang movie.

Ikatutuwa naman ng fans ng F4 ang balitang hindi
tuluyang disbanded ang Taiwanese group. In fact,
katatapos lang nilang lumabas sa Pepsi Blue
concert last March 8 sa Taiwan at sila ang
endorser nito. Kahit iba-iba na ang manager ng
apat, puwede pa rin daw silang magsama kung may
magandang project.
-----

http://www.newsflash.org/2003/05/sb/sb002891.htm
Quezon City
July 21 2003
FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
The Philippine Star
(excerpts)

Meteor Garden theme song translated

First, the bad news: The F4 guys, stars of the phenomenally-successful ABS-CBN chinovela (a word coined by Viva Boss Vic del Rosario, Jr.) Meteor Garden, aren’t coming for a concert. If they ever do, it might be long from now and by then, who knows, they might not be as popular as they are now.

And now, the happy news: The group hasn’t disbanded contrary to rumors. According to sources at Sony Music (distributor of F4 albums here), the four idols – Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Ken Zhu and Vanness Wu – are now busy recording their latest album which will be released early next year. Meteor Garden fans should pray hard that F4 will include the Philippines in its itinerary if ever they decide to embark on an Asian promo tour. F4 is a big hit not only in the Philippines but also in Taiwan (their home base), Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and other parts of Asia.

Meanwhile, Funfare readers have been requesting for the English translation of the Meteor Garden theme song entitled Qing Fei De Yi. Here it is, courtesy of Sony Music Philippines:

I. Nan yi wang ji chu ci jian ni

I’m finding it hard to forget the first time I laid eyes on you.

Yi shuang mi ren de yan jing

– A pair of mesmerizing eyes.

Zai wo nao hai li

In my mind,

Ni de shen ying

your shadow

Hui san bu qu


refuses to disperse.

II. Wo ni de shuang shou gan jue ni de wen rou

Holding your hands, feeling your gentleness,

Zhen de you dian tou bu guo qi

simply takes my breath away.

Ni de tian zhen

Your innocence

Wo xiang zhen xi

I want to cherish.

Kan dao ni shou wei qu

When I see you hurt

Wo hui shang xin

my heart is pained.

Chorus:

*Zhi pa wo zi ji hui ai shang ni

Only afraid that I’d fall in love with you.

Bu gan rang zi ji kao de tai jin

Not daring to let myself come too close.

Pa wo mei shen me neng gou gei ni

Afraid I have nothing to offer you.

Ai ni ye xu yao hen da de yong qi

Loving you takes a great deal of courage.

*Zhi pa wo zi ji hui ai shang ni

Only afraid that I’d fall in love with you.

Ye xu you tian hui qing bu zi jin

Perhaps one day my feelings will lose control.

Xiang nian zhi rang zi ji ku le zi ji

Longing for you can only torture me.

Ai shang ni shi wo qing fei de yi

I fell in love with you because I can’t stop this feeling.

Bridge: Shen me yuan yin

What could be the reason

Ya...

Wo jing ran you hui yu jian ni

I ran into you again.

Wo zhen de zhen de bu yuan yi

I’m really, really not willing to

Jiu zhe yang xian ru ai de xian jing.

fall into this love trap like this.

-----

http://www.asianjournal.com/cgi-bin/view_info.cgi?code=00000080&category=
Asian Journal
from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
July 16, 2003 00:45:00(LA) / 2003-07-16 16:45:00(Manila)
(excerpts)

Ayan, may kasabay na ring chinovela ang "Meteor Garden Rewind" ng Channel 2 sa Channel 7 at yan ay ang "Poor Prince," programang ang bida ay si Vic Zhou ng Meteor Garden at F4 din.

Hindi na solo ng ABS-CBN ang mga miyembro ng F4.

Sa mga malls, grabe ang merchandising ng F4. Mga unan, lighter, kalendaryo, picture franes, key chains, pamaypay, posters, notebooks. Name it, nandyan ang picture ng F4.

Ang 3R na mga colored pictures nila 20 pesos ang halaga at ang wallet size 10 pesos.

Lahat ng mga idolo ng mga Pinoy, tumumba sa F4.

Grabe ang nagawa ng grupong ito sa mga Pinoy, mapa-bata man o matanda. Mapa-baduy man o sosi. Mapa-high school o college o elementary.

Nakakaloka!

-----

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/bag/2003/07/13/oped/frank.cimatu.html
Sun Star Baguio
Sunday, July 13, 2003
Cimatu: The poster boys of Baguio poetry
By Frank Cimatu
(excerpts)

This brings me to my point because the last time I passed by the Baguio Center Mall, I can't find a single Che T-shirt. What replaced him is not Harry Potter or Le Bron James, the most famous NBA draft choice since Magic and Bird. It's the F4!

You see F4 everywhere. I haven't watched a single episode because I was never home that early but I guess everyone are back home watching them. They are the New Kids on The Block, Menudo, Boyzone. People are crazy over them and our leaders are dumbfounded. Maybe our presidential aspirants should form their own F4.

One morning, I switched to a local music TV channel and for 30 minutes, all they showed are the F4 singing their song in Chinese with lyrics in westernized Chinese. The only line we know is "Baby, baby O baby baby."

What are they singing, I asked a college student in STI, whose school is near our house. It's a song, it's a poem.

Oh my God, give me Joe Guevarra anytime.

-----

http://www.keepmedia.com/pubs/Forbes/2003/07/07/180636?from=search
Forbes
Big--But Not Here

These foreign acts tear up the charts--on their home turf. But making it over there doesn't mean you can make it anywhere.

by Alexandra Kirkman
July 07 2003
(excerpts)

F4

Taiwan/Boy band

Albums sold:

3.5 million

This previously unknown fluffy-haired foursome transformed itself into Asia's hottest boy band after star turns in Meteor Garden, a Taiwanese soap opera centered on label-conscious students at an elite high school. Their coiffed locks and slick looks send schoolgirls into hysterics at appearances throughout Asia. Typical fee earned by F4 for product endorsements (including Pepsi): $1 million to $1.5 million per sponsor.

-----

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/dav/2003/07/04/life/f4.will.just.fade.away.html
Sun Star Davao
Friday, July 04, 2003
F4 will just fade away
By Rene Lizada


(image from http://www.sonymusic.com.tw/pop/f4/

GRABE. And at the same time funny. If you have been following my column (which I hope you have been doing) you would have noticed that I have tried to do a variety of topics. I have talked about text, "rules" of marriage lessons, movies, Davao. And in those times I have received a few emails commenting on what I said.

I was so disturbed about the airport bombing that occurred that I had to ask permission from Mr. Ajero if I could just write something because I needed to. I was so relieved when he agreed. When I wrote about that incident I also got a few emails. But when I checked my email this morning I got a surprise. I had a record number of emails about my Meteor Garden article. Grabe!

Some of the letters agreed with what I said and then there were some who thought otherwise. One writer even said that I was so judgmental of those who watch that show and what did F4 do to me for them to merit my article. One writer even wrote that I was a crab trying to pull everyone down!

And this is exactly my point. The intensity that I wished people would have for something so painful as an airport bombing was nowhere to be found. I was hoping that after the bombing people would be so mad that they would take the time to write letters to express their feelings. I was hoping that they would sit down and vent out their anger and sorrow.

Even the Bacani article brought only silence. But F4? I got a flood of letters! Most of them by the way were extolling the virtues of Meteor Garden! I have nothing against F4 or Meteor Garden by the way. I am just sickened with the gullibility that we have. I am so mad at the apathy that we have. A lot of us are just too na‹ve.

There is killing in our streets and we do not say anything. Poverty is killing our people and we remain silent. Corruption strangles us. We have pedophiles, abusive priests, murderers in motorcycles, drug pushers and drug addicts and we say nothing. But when someone says something about F4, the silence is broken. Wow! No wonder this country is dying.

You know F4 and Meteor Garden do not really matter. They really do not. They could be swallowed by a black hole or be replaced anytime and we would have another boy group that will claim the hearts of our young women. Meteor Garden can go and be replaced by Asteroid Orchard or Supernova Farm or some other show. People will still gobble it up.

Ganun tayo ka.... No wonder we elect entertainers. No surprise that if a movie star flashes his or her smile most of us just drop dead. No wonder and surprise that whatever they say we believe.

One of the best definitions that I ever read about insanity goes something like this; that insanity is doing the same thing again and again but expecting a different result. That is so true and that is what madness is really like. Doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome.

First we had the Mexican soap opera and if you remember how we fell for it too. Everyone was talking about it. Then now we have this. And again the whole country is head over heels over F4. Next thing the men will be sporting their haircuts and speaking like them. A few nights ago I was so amused when I saw Lilo and Stich on TV but after awhile I had to change channels because guess who was singing over the Lilo and Stitch animation.

One writer claimed that this was just an escape from work and reality. And I suppose by watching we shall be able to solve our problems? And I guess that after reading this article some will be so irate that they will write me again?

Listen; take a look outside your window. Look for the child who sleeps in the cold pavement because he has no home. Look for the battered wife whose eyes seek the heavens for relief, seek out the man who needs to feed his family because they are literally starving to death, hold close to your bosom the aborted fetus, pause for a moment and think about all those who cannot eat tonight. And then try to do something. Find your rage and your fire. Do something.

F4 will go away. A flash in the pan so to speak and we will eventually tire of them but our problems will remain. And what shall we do? Get all the F4 posters and cover the stench? The stench will not go away because we are too busy watching some show that acts as an escape from the pain and the sorrow of life. We are too pained and sad to face life so that we have to turn to shows like Meteor Garden? Is that it?

If you need to write, write about the summary killings. If you need express your anger write about priests who defile the purity of celibacy, if you wish to wax indignant, march in the streets to fight for justice. But F4? Meteor Garden?

Well, I suppose this is a free country.

-----

http://www.peyups.com/article.khtml?sid=2325
Peyups: where bright minds meet
Tembtation : Meteor Garden sa Peyups
Contributed by tembarom (Edited by mananalaysay)
Friday, June 06, 2003 @ 12:00:26 AM


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html)

Ligtas na ang Pilipinas SARS virus, at least for now. Pero may bagong virus na kumakalat sa buong Asia at ngayo'y nasa atin na rin: ang F4 virus.


Kung hindi mo alam kung ano 'yung F4, okay lang 'yan. Dati, bago ako mahawa ng girlfriend ko, wala rin akong idea kung ano ang F4, maliban sa matatagpuan ito sa keyboard ng computer. (You know, parang Ctrl at End.) Ngunit huwag mo akong kasuklaman at sorry kung sabihin kong medyo slow ka.

So, for the benefit ng mga slow, ii-explain ko na 'yung F4 ay ang grupo ng apat na mga kabataang lalaki na bida sa Meteor Garden, isang drama sa TV na galing sa Taiwan. Sila sina Jerry Yan Cheng Xu na gumaganap bilang Dao Ming Si, Vic Zhou Yu Min as Hua Ze Lei, Ken Zhu Xiao Tian as Xi Men, at Vanness Wu Jian Hao as Mei Zuo.

Pero hindi lang ang F4 ang elemento ng F4 virus, siyempre pa'y hindi mawawala si Barbie Xu Xi Yuan na gumaganap naman bilang Shan Cai, ang magandang babaeng pinag-aagawan ng F4.

Halos buong bansa yata ay infected na ng F4 virus o Meteor Garden mania (na siguradong labis namang ikinatutuwa ng higanteng ABS-CBN dahil nag-aakyat ito tiyak ng grabeng tubo sa kanila). Pagsapit ng 5:30 p.m., nalilimutan ng bayan ang pagiging tuta ng Kano ng kanilang pangulo. Inaabangan ng marami ang palabas at kinikilig sa love triangle nina Dao Ming Si, Shan Cai, at Hua Ze Lei.

Umaabuso na nga ang ABS-CBN sa araw-araw na paggatong sa Meteor Garden mania. At habang nagwawala ang bagyong si Chedeng, ang mga Meteor Garden posters at pictures sa mga bangketa nama'y dinudumog ng mga fans na girls, boys, at charing.

Naiisip ko tuloy kung pati ang UP ay nahawahan na rin kaya ng pagkaadik sa Meteor Garden. Ang mga TV kaya sa Kalayaan at iba pang dorms ay nakatutok sa Channel 2 kapag 5:30 na? May mga nakadisplay na kayang Meteor Garden posters sa mga kuwarto ng mga iskolar ng bayan? O di kaya'y may mga larawan na ng F4 at ni Shan Cai sa kanilang mga wallet?

Balita ko, kaya yata Meteor Garden ang tawag sa palabas, dahil may isang eksena kung saan habang binibigyan ni Dao Ming Si si Shan Cai ng magandang kuwintas ay nagkaroon ng meteor shower. Nasa balkonahe yata sila ng mansyon ng lalaki at syempre, kadalasa'y tanay mula sa balkonahe ang hardin (di lang ako sure kung ganito ang ayos ng mga mansyon ni Erap para sa kanyang mga kulasisi). How romantic, 'no? Sabi nga lang ni Ate Glow (na taga-MassComm), ansaya-saya, 'no?

Meteor shower? Garden? Hmmm, familiar din 'yan sa mga taga-UP. Ilang beses na ba tayong nanood ng meteor shower sa Sunken Garden? Kahit nga sa Peyups.com forums, may thread pa tungkol sa panonood ng pagbagsak ng mga bituin mula sa kalawakan habang nakahiga at nagkakan...tahan sa Sunken.

At saka I'm sure, mas matitinding love story at kung anu-ano pa pa ang nabubuo (o kaya'y nawawasak o napupunit) sa Sunken.

Hmmm, kung gayo'y talagang hindi lamang sa Taiwan may Meteor Garden, sa pamantasang hirang din. Pero sana, kahit may SARS sa Taiwan, huwag nang magkaroon nito sa UP!

-----

http://www.inq7.net/ent/2003/jun/05/ent_2-1.htm
Entertainment

Ni hao, Taiwan soap 'Meteor Garden'
Posted: 10:31 PM (Manila Time) | June 04, 2003
By Leah Salterio
Inquirer News Service


BRISK sales in Quiapo of the posters of the Taiwanese stars of the TV soap, "Meteor Garden."
Photo by Eric Arazas, INS
(image from http://www.inq7.net/ent/2003/jun/05/ent_2-1.htm)

FROM "telenovela" to "chinovela."

The hearts of soap opera-crazy Filipino televiewers have found a new target: the Taiwanese drama series, "Meteor Garden."

And Filipinos have traded their infatuation for Mexican actors and are instead going ga-ga over the Taiwanese boy band F4, or Flower 4, who are the lead actors in the chinovela now being aired on ABS-CBN.

The chinovela revolves around the concerns of teenagers-their loves and their families.

"Meteor Garden," which is dubbed in Filipino, started airing in the country only last month, but its phenomenal success has prompted ABS-CBN to enter into negotiations with Taiwanese producers to bring F4 to the country for a concert at the Araneta Coliseum in August.

A source at the television network said the talent fee of the group alone would cost them one million dollars (53 million pesos).

One avid follower who never missed a single episode of the chinovela is Charity Cruz, a high school student at the O.B. Montessori in Sta. Ana, Manila. But the 14-year-old is now worried because classes are about to start. She said she might not be able to watch the series, and her idol Dao Ming Si.

Jocelyn Dy, an incoming high school senior at the Philippine Pasay Chung Hua Chinese School, is looking forward to the band's concert in the Philippines. She bought a poster of the quartet at the Pasay market where they were selling briskly.

Fifth grader Alexis Nadine Galimba is also crazy about the series. She keeps a poster of the popular quartet inside her bedroom.

Surprisingly, the fan base of "Meteor Garden" is not limited to young school girls.

Marie Jennylyn Rose Uyao, a mother of a 5-year-old, makes it a point to be in front of her TV at 5:30 p.m., when the program airs on ABS-CBN.


Housewife Pacita Abad has to fight with her son, who prefers MTV, just so she could watch "Meteor Garden."

Based on the popular Japanese manga (comic book) "Hana Yori Dango" ("Men Are Better Than Flowers"), "Meteor Garden" is set in an affluent high school in Taiwan.

The series opened with a plain girl, San Cai, (played by 25-year-old Makino Tsukushi) from a middle-class family entering the school of filthy-rich snobs. She stands up to four bullies (F4), and wins the hearts of two.

The members of F4 are Jerry Yen Cheng Xu, 25, who plays Dao Ming Si; Vic Zhou Yu Ming, 20, who plays Hua Ze Lei; Ken Zhu Xiao Tian, 22, who plays Xi Men; and Vanness Wu, 23, who plays Mei Zhuo.

The series transformed the four young men from virtual unknowns into pop idols who trigger mass hysteria.

The series debuted in Taiwan in April 2002, and in only a short time, the four men have become household names not only in Taiwan, but also in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Brunei.

Their debut album sold over 180,000 copies in Taiwan alone. The album made it to No. 3 in the local charts three days after it hit the shelves. It is bannered by the carrier single, "Meteor Rain."

The chinovela has become so popular in the Philippines that ABS-CBN had to move its timeslot from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

According to a May 27 survey by AGB Philippines, "Meteor Garden" got a 68-percent audience share among viewers in Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Bulacan. The survey was based on overnight ratings.

Overnight ratings are results for a specific day that are compiled over a one-week period before being officially released to the public. Usually, overnight ratings are reflective of the trend for the whole week.

Earlier AGB surveys (May 18-24) showed "Meteor Garden" getting a rating of 29.6 percent. It occupied the No. 5 slot that week.

With a report from Abigail Ho

-----

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/man/2003/06/03/life/f4.mania.intensifies.html
Sun Star Manila
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
F4 mania intensifies
By Annie Alejo

The times sure have changed. The ancient Chinese used to believe that the digit 4 is not a good number (the Chinese word for 4 sounds like the Chinese word for "die"). Now it seems 4 can be anything but unlucky. In fact, it definitely seems to be a lucky number now!

Banking on the popularity of the youth TV drama "Meteor Garden," F4 are now taking Asia by storm. In the Philippines, gone are the days when we've gone crazy over English-dubbed Spanish telenovelas. These days, these four boys rule!

Taiwanese sensation F4 are the four guys that captured the hearts and minds of so many teenage girls all across Asia. And wherever they go, throes of young, screaming females storm airports and shopping complexes where they appear, causing such a furor in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia. Here, their growing legion of fans can only hope they make a stopover too.

Undoubtedly, the top-rated TV show "Meteor Garden," in which they play the wealthy and enigmatic gang called F4, is the main key to their success. It is adapted from the manga or Japanese comic, "Hana Yori Dango," meaning Boys are Better Than Flowers, which is where F4's name comes from. "Hana Yori Dango" is a cult favorite that has already spawned a highly popular animated series, a movie and, of course, "Meteor Garden."

F4 is made up of Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Ken Zhu and Vanness Wu. All four agree that the characters they play in "Meteor Garden" are similar to their own real-life personalities. Jerry, who plays Dao Ming Shi, sees himself as aggressive and very direct when he likes a girl. Vanness, who plays the happy-go-lucky Mei Zhuo, is very easy-going and loves to have fun. Ken, who plays the playboy Xi Men, thinks of himself as a die-hard romantic. And Vic Zhou, who makes girls swoon as the serious

Hua Ze Lei, doesn't like the attention of celebrity, much like his reclusive alter ego.

Jerry was a student and a part-time model before he was handpicked to play F4's enigmatic leader. Vic was taking up mechanical engineering at a technical institute; he only accompanied his friend to the "Meteor Garden" auditions and was spotted instead. Ken was a chef when "Meteor Garden" producers spotted him dining in the restaurant where he worked. American-born Vanness, the only F4 member who can speak English, went to Taiwan to join the entertainment scene and was in a variety show contest when he was asked to audition for the series.

Halfway through the filming of the first season of "Meteor Garden," the boys recorded Meteor Rain, which has now been made available in record stores all over the Philippines. The album boasts of 10 radio-friendly romantic tracks written in Mandarin but with Western influences and some peppered with English lyrics.

Their second album, Fantasy 4ever, features the current hit, "Can't Lose You," also known by many non-Taiwanese speaking fans as the "Oh baby baby, my baby baby..." song. The album comes with a special bonus VCD with videos of "Can't Lose You" and the single that's also becoming popular with F4 fanatics, "Season of Fireworks."

But before you run off to your favorite record bars, fans that may actually miss some local episodes of "Meteor Garden" once school starts can comfort themselves with this good news. Aside from the two exciting F4 albums, two VCDs will also be released. Meteor Rain karaoke VCD features videos for all the songs you can find on Meteor Rain, with accompanying lyrics to sing along to. And the Fantasy 4 Live Concert World Tour, on the other hand, is a two-hour VCD of one of the biggest, most awesome concerts these boys have done. Not only will you see F4 performing their songs live, the concert is packed with fabulous dance numbers (the highlight is a special footage of Jerry and Vanness showing off their moves) and high-tech special effects.

Four handsome and talented boys, four must-have albums. If you still haven't caught the F4 fever, it's high time you check out what the fuss is all about. And chances are, F4 will not disappoint.

-----

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/man/2003/05/20/life/the.phenomenon.called.meteor.garden.html

Sun Star Manila
Tuesday, 20 May 2003
The phenomenon called Meteor Garden
By Annie Alejo

Everybody watches Meteor Garden, that Taiwanese telenovela about a strong, petulant girl and F4, a gang of the most impossible, irrepressible boys you'll ever meet.

The story is quite addicting, as avid viewers expectantly wait for Dao Ming Shi to make Shan Chai fall in love with him, for Hua Ze Lei to fall in love with Shan Chai, for Xi Men to finally fall in love period, for any of them to heed Mei Zhuo's world-wise advice.

The paths of F4 and Shan Chai cross when the notorious bullies bump into her friend and she stands up to them, especially to the leader of the group, Dao Ming Shi.

As they torment her and are unable to break her strong spirit, Dao Ming Shi slowly realizes he's falling for her. Meanwhile, Shan Chai gets to see the good side of one of F4, Hua Ze Lei, and starts to fall for him. Another member of F4, Xi Men, shakes his head at them and staunchly stands by his belief that relationships can only be good for one week. The fourth member, the happy-go-lucky Mei Zhuo, does his best to keep the peace between all three of his best friends.

Shan Chai is played by Barbie Xu Xi Yuan, already a celebrity in her native Taiwan. Jerry Yan Cheng Xu plays the part of the bull-headed Dao Ming Shi, Vic Zhuo Yu Min plays the soft-spoken and sensitive Hua Ze Lei, Vaness Wu Jian Hao plays the witty Mei Zhuo and Ken Zhu Xiao Tian plays the playboy Xi-Men.

In real life, they are all part of the biggest boyband in Asia, also called F4, and have released two top-selling albums, both multi-platinum in several countries.

The theme from the series, "Broken Vow" by Lara Fabian is already a big hit over radio and its video is already a staple on the top of the music channel charts on TV.

The song is included in Meteor Garden 2: The Original Soundtrack, as well as other songs featured in the series, like Eric Carmen's "All By Myself," Chayanne's "Te Amo," and many more.

The album comes with a special bonus VCD of videos with footage from the telenovela and an exclusive, ultra-thick booklet with lots of photos and info about the characters, as well as a sneak peek into Meteor Garden's 2nd season.

Watch out for more F4 and Meteor Garden memorabilia and merchandise, with the release of F4's albums, Meteor Rain and Fantasy 4ever; the latter also comes with a special bonus VCD with the current hit "I Can't Lose You (Baby, Baby)."

Also coming soon is a double VCD of their sold-out successful concert, F4: Live in Hong Kong.

Get them before the stampede begins!


-----

http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/may/0507to0509/0507to0508.html
Fluff
May 8, 2003
(excerpts)


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html

Production News: Shaun Tam Jun-Yin, Roy Chow Wing-Hang, Chin Kar-Lok and Andy On Chi-Kit are busy training for the new action movie SIU NIN AH FU (lit. YOUNG TIGER). Production of the prequel, of sorts, to Andy Lau Tak-Wah's hit A FIGHTER'S BLUES is slated to begin on May 14th. F4's Vanness Wu Kin-Hao and South Korean actress Kim Hyun-Joo co-star. Vanness Wu's F4 bandmates -- Vic Zhou Yu-Min and Ken Zhu Xiao-Tian -- will be making cameos.

-----

http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/march/0316to0318/0316.html
Fluff
March 16, 2003
(excerpts)


(image from http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/march/0316to0318/0316.html)

As promised, Gigi Leung Wing-Kei brought a funny face to the Hung Hom Coliseum for Friday night's opening of her three-concert Tall Girl Gigi Leung Wing-Kei Funny Face concert series. A full house watched as Leung made her entrance riding on the back of a mechanical swan. The usually demure Leung was wearing a green and white robe which she promptly ripped off to reveal a sexy hotpants ensemble. The outfit was not the only sexually suggestive part of her show as Leung would later do a dance routine that featured simulated groping by a female backup dancer. While boyfriend Ekin Cheng Yi-Kin could not be at the show because he was shooting MY DREAM GIRL in Shanghai, Leung's mother and her twin brother were in the crowd to support her. Unlike Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah, Leung held her emotions in check. The only time tears threatened to flow was when Leung dedicated a song to her mother. Sammi Cheng Sau-Man and F4's Ken Zhu Xiao-Tian were Leung's guest performers.

-----

http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/march/0310to0312/0310.html
Fluff
March 10, 2003

(excerpts)


F4 at post-concert party.

(image from http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/march/0310to0312/0310.html)

The Pepsi-Cola Blue Power Charity Concert took place in front of a full house on Saturday night at the Hung Hom Coliseum. All of Pepsi's Chinese market celebrity spokespersons -- F4, Jay Chou (Chow Kit-Lun), Sammi Cheng Sau-Man, Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing, Comic Boyz, Shine and Edison Chen Kwoon-Hei -- performed at the event. The show got off to a raucous start when a surprise appearance by Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing -- Pepsi's first Chinese region celebrity pitchman -- sent the crowd into a frenzy. Cheung joined Pepsi executives for the concert's opening festivities. Speaking to the audience, Cheung said: "I don't know what to say. I'm very happy to see the ability of this next generation of stars. I'm sure they will show you a good time. Although I won't be performing here on stage, I'll be in the crowd admiring their work and clapping for them."

With that, F4 started the show with a bang. The Taiwanese supergroup received the biggest ovation of the evening. Jay Chou, another Taiwan-based talent, received the second biggest ovation. The third loudest went to local artist Aaron Kwok with Sammi Cheng's ovation coming in fourth.

Miscellaneous notes from the event: Sammi Cheng and Jerry Yan Cheng-Xu of F4 performed a dance routine together. In its coverage of the segment, Oriental Daily News commented that Jerry Yan had more cleavage than "runway chest" Sammi Cheng ... Wearing a Vancouver Canucks throwback jersey, Edison Chen forgot the lyrics to his songs multiple times. He stopped mid-performance, yelled in digust and apologized to crowd. At the post-concert party, Chen blamed his poor performance on "Hung Hom Coliseum disease": "Every time I perform at the Coliseum it happens. I feel a lot of pressure when performing here. I'm not used to having the crowd all around me" ... Aaron Kwok also messed up some lyrics during his performance. Kwok, however, was battling a bout of the flu ... Contrary to speculation that their breakup was imminent, F4 appeared friendly towards each other on stage and at the post-concert party.

-----

http://www.keepmedia.com/pubs/Variety/2003/03/09/10298?from=search
Variety
Auds want their Hub TV
by MAGZ OSBORNE
March 09 2003

SINGAPORE Viewers in Singapore are doing more than just watching the telly, thanks to Hub TV.

They are interacting with all the shows on the channel, which airs 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, by sending SMS (Short Messaging Service) text messages and image MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) on cell phones.

The Hub TV screen is divided into four sections: the video panel for TV programs; an SMS "live" chat panel; MMS board; and the contests/polls panel.

Auds love it: Hub TV bowed Feb. 8 with an 18-day event featuring popular Taiwanese boy band F4. It chalked up 140,000 messages from viewers in its first six days.

Telco and cable TV provider StarHub is excited at the response. "This shows that viewers enjoy this combination of popular content and interactivity --- catching their favorite TV programs while sharing their thoughts with like-minded people simultaneously," says Tham Loke Kheng, StarHub's senior veep for consumer marketing. "We chose F4 for our first Hub TV event as the band is the hottest group in Asia. Our customers interacted with the larger F4 fan community like never before."

Noncable homes can access the channel by manually tuning their TV sets to StarHub CableTV's Preview Channel.

-----

Fluff
March 9, 2003
(excerpts)

Around Town: Sammi Cheng Sau-Man, F4, Jay Chou
(Jay Chow Kit-Lun), Edison Chen Kwoon-Hei, Shine
and Comic Boyz were among the celebrities who
gathered at the Hung Hom Coliseum at noon
yesterday for a spirits appeasement ceremony for
the Pepsi-Cola Blue Power Charity Concert. F4's
Jerry Yan Cheng-Xu arrived and left the ceremony
apart from the rest of his band fueling
speculation that there is dissension in the F4
ranks. Specifically, Jerry Yan and Vic Zhou
Yu-Min are reportedly at odds.

-----

Fluff
March 8, 2003
(excerpts)

Airport Beat: Taiwanese boy band Comic Boyz
arrived in Hong Kong yesterday. They are in town
to take part in tonight's Pepsi-Cola Blue Power
Charity Concert. Fellow Pepsi spokespersons F4,
Sammi Cheng Sau-Man, Edison Chen Kwoon-Hei,
Shine, Jay Chou (Chow Kit-Lun), Edwin Siu
Jing-Nam and Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing will also be
performing.

-----

http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/march/0307to0309/0307.html
Fluff
March 7, 2003
(excerpts)


(image from http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/march/0307to0309/0307.html)


The boys are back in town: F4's Vic Zhou Yu-Min, Ken Zhu Xiao-Tian and Vanness Wu Jian-Hao drew the usual gaggle of fans to the Hong Kong airport yesterday as they arrived in the city for this weekend's Pepsi-Cola Blue Power Charity Concert. The crowd became so boisterious, Vic Zhou decided to sprint away to a waiting car. Jerry Yan Cheng-Xu, the other member of the Taiwanese band, arrived the day before.

-----

http://www.hkentreview.com/2003/february/0219to0221/0219to0220.html
Fluff
February 19, 2003
(excerpts)


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html)

Babe Beat: Gigi Leung Wing-Kei attended a press conference at the Hyatt hotel yesterday promoting her upcoming "Tall Girl Gigi Leung Wing-Kei Funny Face" concert series. Leung will be giving three shows from March 14th to March 16th. Hacken Lee Hak-Ken, Eason Chan Yik-Shun, Andy Lau Tak-Wah and F4's Ken Zhu Xiao-Tian are rumoured to be the guest performers

-----

http://newpaper.asiaone.com/printfriendly/0%2C4139%2C14457-1043596740%2C00.html
The New Paper
26 January 2003
Oh Robbie You shouldn't have done that...
(excerpts)

Some juicy moments from backstage

From backstage scoops to massive oops, here's a rundown of some juicy moments that the cameras didn't catch.

F4 GET FRIED

Of course, it was more like F2 since only Vanness Wu and Ken Zhu - the Taiwanese boyband's less droolworthy members - showed up.

The guarded manner in which they fielded questions in the press room proved that for this pair, it's safety in numbers.

When asked whether they'd give away their Inspiration Award like Robbie Williams did, Ken sputtered rather sarcastically: 'We are not Robbie Williams.'

An intrepid reporter even ventured to ask the age-old will-F4-split-up-after- their-tour question.

Vanness replied irritably: 'We've been asked that a hundred times already! We'll just wait slowly and see. We have other projects, but F4 is forever going to be the four of us.'

Well, then where the meteor was Jerry Yen and Vic Zhou?

'They have other projects,' Vanness repeated. 'The best thing about F4 is that we can do separate things, but we can also come back together and be strong again.'

-----

http://www.celebrityaccess.com/news/news_article.html?id=3880&pass_headline=Boy+Band+F4+Draws+70%2C000+Indonesians
Celebrity Access Headline News
Boy Band F4 Draws 70,000 Indonesians
Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2003 12:47:11 PM MST



The Associated Press - JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Taiwanese boy band F4 played to nearly 70,000 Indonesian fans over the weekend, including President Megawati Sukarnoputri's daughter, despite being panned by the local media.

F4 played to packed houses on Friday and Saturday nights.

Megawati's daughter, Puan Maharani, booked 30 seats and showed up with a retinue of presidential bodyguards, organizers said.

But singers Ken Zhu, Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou and Vanness Wu forgot some of the lyrics and strained their voices when performing mostly Western and Taiwanese pop songs, the Jakarta Post reported.


Observers have touted F4 as an example of the changing tastes of thousands of Asians, who are growing tired of Western teen stars.

The band members also star in a popular Taiwanese soap opera, "Meteor Garden," which depicts a high school romance between a poor girl and a member of a gang of spoiled rich kids.

The series has been a success across East Asia, drawing large audiences in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Television stations in eastern and central China also started showing it last year, but quickly pulled it off the air, claiming it was a corrupting influence on young people.

-----

http://www.mtvasia.com/News/200301/06004410.html
MTV Asia
Asian Superstars Confirmed At Awards
January 6, 2003

MTV Asia is thrilled to announce that Asian superstars including F4 from Taiwan, Shaan from India and Ella from Malaysia will be performing at the 2003 MTV Asia Awards. They will be sharing the stage with previously announced performers Missy Elliott, Avril Lavigne and Nick Carter at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on January 24, 2003. Hosted by CoCo Lee and Shaggy, the pan-regional awards show is set to stun the audience with a superstar lineup and magical live performances fusing the best of East and West.

Top Asian celebrities adding to the glittering list of presenters include, Aishwarya Rai, David Tao, D2B, He Yao Sun, Ogie Alcasid, Palmy, Parokya Ni Edgar, Regine Velasquez, Silly Fools, Slapshock and Urban Xchange. They join previously announced international presenters Suede, Atomic Kitten and Linkin Park members Chester Bennington and Joe Hahn, with more performers and presenters still to be announced.

F4, Taiwan’s hottest quartet, have been hogging the headlines and capturing hearts across Asia since their Meteor Garden days. Made up of Jerry Yen, Vic Zhou, Ken Zhu and Vanness Wu, F4 has been compared to Japan’s ultra-successful SMAP, and it is not hard to see the connection, with the success of both the band’s collective success, as well as their individual success in the fields of singing and acting. The guys are sure to cause hearts to flutter when they take to the stage at the MTV Asia Awards.

India’s Shaan is a self-taught musician who has never received any formal training, but music must run in his blood as his father is the late renowned composer Manas Mukherjee. Shaan started out as a child singer for ad jingles, but moved on to singing remixes and cover versions when he grew older. Establishing himself as a solo artist was the logical next step, and Shaan proved to be a darling amongst critics and fans alike with his albums and foray into singing for Hindi films.

Favourite Music Artist - Malaysia nominee, Ella will also be kicking up a storm on stage with her performance at the Awards. Ella released her first solo album way back in 1988, winning more and more fans as the years (and albums) went by. She is also the first female artist in Malaysia to secure album sales of more than 350,000 units, and has even secured a spot in the Malaysia Book of Records for Most Albums Sold by a Female Artist. She will no doubt be gathering more fans when she appears at the MTV Asia Awards on January 24th.

Joining the list of presenters is Taiwan’s R&B star, David Tao, who after a hiatus, was back with a roar in 2002 with critically acclaimed album, Black Tangerine. Upping the glam factor of the evening will be Indian actress and former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai who will be presenting an award as well. Singapore’s very own He Yao Sun and Urban Xchange, both first-time nominees at the MTV Asia Awards, have also confirmed their roles as presenters. Joining the list of presenters also are Philippine music veterans Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Parokya Ni Edgar and Slapshock as well as Thailand’s D2B, Silly Fools and Palmy who are all vying for the respective local Favourite Music Artist award.

The MTV Asia Awards is the only pan-regional event of its kind in Asia that recognises and pays homage to international and local music talents. A total of 19 awards will be presented during the show to artists and talent voted by viewers across the region, making the event one that truly gives MTV viewers a voice on what they want. Due to the overwhelming voting response received to date, MTV Asia will be extending the online voting period from 31 December 2002 to 15 January 2003. Filmed before a live audience of over 7000 music lovers and broadcast to over 150 million homes in Asia, the event is set to bring the celebration of music in Asia to a brand new level. For the latest information and update on the MTV Asia Awards, please visit the official website at www.mtvasiaawards.com.

The official partner sponsors of 2003 MTV Asia Awards are MasterCard, Nokia, Panasonic and TOYOTA. The associate sponsor for the Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan markets is San Miguel Beer. Local sponsors include Shenzhen New Power Technology Limited in China, She in Indonesia, Korea Telecom Freetel in Korea, SMART Communications in the Philippines and StarHub in Singapore. The event is also supported by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) who will be promoting Asia’s biggest music award show beyond the shores of Singapore. -- MTV Asia Awards

-----

http://www.sinorama.com.tw/en/search/show_issue.php3?id=200319201071E.TXT&query=F4&page=1&row=3&total=8&scope=2&type=all&sort=desc&MaxResults=50
Mainland Chinese: Addicted to Taiwanese Entertainment?
Eric Lin/tr. by Bruce Humes
January 2003
Page: 071
(excerpts)


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html )

Stimulated by the entertainment industry in Taiwan and Hong Kong over the last few years, TV series and arts programming in China have developed a flavor all their own. In reality, ever since Teresa Teng in the 1970s, Taiwanese pop culture has been the darling of the China market. Back then, Teresa Teng's sweet songs broke through the Bamboo Curtain; but in today's China where economic reform is a raging fire, how are the Chinese masses getting their information about popular Taiwanese entertainment?

In the 21st century, capitalism is no longer "poison" in China. Instead, it is "good medicine" to help China escape from poverty. Public policy has been redefined to allow "bourgeois" entertainment to obtain certification as "politically correct." The gap between rich and poor continues to exist, but the pursuit of trendiness has become a mass movement. Raised during the "one-child family" era of the 1980s by doting parents who handled them with kid gloves, this generation's values have given them the courage to express their longing for popular entertainment.

My work unit is paying

Changes in China can be seen most clearly in spending on entertainment, particularly for concerts put on by pop stars. Typical ticket prices for concerts at venues such as Beijing's Capital Stadium and the Park Stadium range from 180 to 880 renminbi. Even though tickets for the much-idolized F4 group's concert in Shanghai were selling for a record 2000 renminbi, they were still in short supply.

"For a salaried employee, a sum of more than 800 renminbi is a sizeable amount of money. But there are plenty of people with money in China's large cities," says one Beijing concert agent who would only give his alias, Chen Shan. If you can't afford a ticket personally, then just use company funds. At any rate, the company can claim it as a tax deduction.

Demand for concerts is strong. In order to gain approval from the Ministry of Culture, big cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou exploit all sorts of events, such as the Sprite Music Chart Awards and Channel V Chinese Music Chart Awards, to invite a host of Taiwanese and Hong Kong stars to perform. Other fast-growing cities besides these metropolises are also a major battleground for artists to earn a few bucks and make a name for themselves.

-----

http://www.sinorama.com.tw/en/search/show_issue.php3?id=200319201062E.TXT&query=F4&page=1&row=2&total=8&scope=2&type=all&sort=desc&MaxResults=50
Taiwanese Satellite TV Firms Joust over Mainland Turf
Eric Lin/tr. by Bruce Humes
January 2003
Page: 062
(excerpts)


(image from http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/h/f/f4.html )

Ever since China flung open its gates to capitalism, demand from a population of more than one-billion Chinese for information and entertainment has become increasingly sharp. Add to that WTO membership, which has hastened the opening of China's markets, and all the big global media groups are casting covetous eyes upon the unlimited business opportunities inherent in this, the "last line of defense" left to the communist authorities. Satellite TV firms in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau are making the most of their shared language and culture, so in comparison to US and European media groups, they are better placed to get a foot in the door. Several Hong Kong TV stations have gradually obtained legal landing rights in some areas, and already possess sizeable audiences. Despite the restrictive political atmosphere reigning between authorities on either side of the Strait, two Taiwanese TV groups-Asia Plus Broadcasting and Eastern Broadcasting-are keen to "do battle for the Central Plains," i.e., the China market.

Sustained by the glow of the "Chinese Entertainment Center," Taiwanese satellite TV professionals are full of optimism about the China market, although they were a step behind in the first skirmish for satellite TV landing rights due to the hostile political atmosphere across the Taiwan Strait. Will the Chinese authorities readily relax their media defensive positions? What is the current state of the TV environment in China? And how can Taiwanese satellite TV groups reorganize and best exploit the resources of Taiwan's entertainment industry to ensure a rosy outlook for themselves in China?

Mid-autumn Shanghai. One gust of cold wind after another seeps in via the passageways. Inside Asia Plus's studio the lights are burning bright, but they barely block the footsteps of the early morning sun. Despite the chill, there is a thick scent of tropical Taiwan in the air as they shoot a variety show, Food Masters of the World. This episode features a quiz about Peking duck. At first a video is played, introducing the cuisines of various places in China. The guests then split into two groups and begin to fill in their answers, and the host occasionally walks to and fro, chatting with them about their recent developments. When the answer is revealed, the victors win the right to dine on the steaming hot, sumptuous dishes on the table.

This program's host and special guests are unknown faces to a Taiwanese audience, but the style of the program and the recording process could lead you into thinking you were in Taipei. Every now and then during an unoccupied moment between scenes, producer Joan Sun from Taiwan reminds the host what he should be saying, while program production center supervisor Liu Chi-ying, also a Taiwanese, moves all about, gazes here and there, and issues orders decisively despite her fatigued look.

"This week Asia Plus's Shanghai studio has major events every day. First there is the press conference for Japan's pop idols, the V6 band, then a series of recording sessions for studio and outdoor shots, and besides everyday work, we have to plan a new program, Dash Around the Globe," says Liu Chi-ying hoarsely. On the weekend for the F4 concert at Shanghai Stadium organized by Asia Plus, from the dress rehearsal to the actual performance, full support must be provided. TV staff at Asia Plus consider themselves "international citizens," who have to bear being separated from the land where they grew up. As China reforms its economy and a Chinese cultural circle is in the process of taking shape, the Chinese want to realize their dream of establishing media of international quality-with two-billion-plus Chinese speakers worldwide as a support base-which can counterbalance that of English-speaking countries.

-----

http://www.ateneo-celadon.com/chinoy/1f4.htm
Chinoy Magazine
Issue 3 Volume 4
January 2003
Chinoy Online


(image from http://www.ateneo-celadon.com/chinoy/1f4.htm)

ADMIT IT. You belong to 99% of the population who’s completely hooked on the Taiwanese soap “Meteor Garden” and its gorgeous stars. If not, here’s a crash course on what everybody’s been talking about.

Meteor Garden 101

Based on the popular Japanese animated series “Hana Yori Dango” (literally translated as “Men Are Better Than Flowers”), “Meteor Garden” is about a simple, strong-willed girl from a middle-class family who is enrolled by her parents in an exclusive prep school, in the hopes that she might snag a rich guy. Instead, she clashes with four handsome bullies, played by none other than Taiwan’s hottest male pop group F4, and turns their lives upside down.

Why has “Garden” made such a huge splash here in the Philippines? First of all, it’s the first Chinese drama series to be aired locally, which is a nice change from all those Spanish telenovelas. Second, the dubbing in Filipino seems more believable, as the stars all have Asian features. Third, the plot contains the quintessential love triangle that leaves the viewers in a pinch as to who should end up with whom. Fourth, starry-eyed viewers like the Cinderella aspect in the plot, wherein poor girl meets rich guy, and they all live happily ever after. (Or do they?) And fifth, its gorgeous stars. Need I say more?

Cast of heartthrobs

“Garden” boasts of an extraordinary cast of pop icons whose good looks can reduce grown women—and men—to mere puddles of mush. 26-year-old (yes, you read it correctly) Barbie Xu, who’s one-half of the sister pop duo SOS, takes on the role of 19-year-old heroine San Cai. Spunky and headstrong, San Cai defiantly holds her own against rich snobs and ends up winning the hearts of two of the hunkiest guys in school, Dao Ming Si and Hua Zhe Lei.

Dao Ming Si, played by Jerry Yan, is the wealthy, bad-boy leader of the notorious Flower Four. With a temper to match his fiery sex appeal, none dared cross paths with him until San Cai stands up to him and his group. Judging from the smitten reactions of viewers, it appears that 26-year-old Jerry is the resident heartthrob.

Vic Zhou plays the shy charmer Hua Zhe Lei. Quiet and unassuming, he is secretly the one who holds San Cai’s true affections, which brings him at odds with Dao Ming Si. The youngest at 22, Vic is known to his screaming gaggle of fans as Zai Zai, which is a nickname his grandmother had given him. He used to study Engineering before he got drafted as a member of F4.

The indomitable playboy Xi Men, played by 24-year-old Ken Zhu, is the cool, calm and collected member of the quartet. Xi Men’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that every woman becomes uninteresting a week after he gets to know her, so he shies away from long-term relationships. Although born in Taiwan, Ken has lived in Singapore for eight years and, like Vanness, can speak English well.

And last but not the least, Vanness Wu plays the smooth talker Mei Zhuo, whose happy-go-lucky personality adds a touch of humor to the show. Vanness has lived most of his 24 years in Los Angeles, California, which explains his flawless English. With his irritatingly gorgeous hair, he is the easiest to recognize among the four.

F4’s meteoric rise to fame

The F4 boys were virtual unknowns before “Garden” pushed them into the spotlight. Ironically, the group was originally formed for the series and not as a vocal pop group. Each of them was handpicked from the thousands who auditioned for the roles of the four big men on campus, dubbed as the Flower Four.

Jerry had actually been in the modeling business before he landed the leading role of Dao Ming Si. Vanness was spotted by the casting agents when he guested in a Taiwanese Sunday TV show. Vic went to the audition only to accompany his friend, but got the plum role of Hua Zhe Lei instead. And finally, Ken was discovered while he was working in a Japanese BBQ restaurant.

The quartet made “Garden” such a huge and instantaneous hit that they caught the attention of Sony. Two chartbusting albums (“Meteor Rain” and “Fantasy 4ever”) and a “Garden” sequel later, the fate of F4 as Taiwan’s newest pin-up gods was sealed, with the Philippine mania instantly rising to a fever pitch.

Spellbound viewers

Not only that, but it seems like the whole of Asia has fallen completely under their spell, and for a darn good reason, too. Their Oriental features are a refreshing alternative to a pop culture mostly dominated by Caucasian “boy bands.”

To date, F4 is the biggest Asian pop act to gain a cult following practically overnight. Critics may argue that they’re just another run-of-the-mill boy band with the same formula as that of their counterparts: wholesome good looks, funky clothes and little talent. But apparently, this formula is exactly what the viewing public wants. And boy, is it ever.


(image from http://www.ateneo-celadon.com/chinoy/1f4.htm)



 


F4 Mini Poll


Ken Zhu Xiao Tian Vote Caster
Free Vote Caster from Bravenet.com Free Vote Caster from Bravenet.com


Ken Zhu Xiao Tian Photo Album
Free Photo Albums from Bravenet.com Free Photo Albums from Bravenet.com


Ken Zhu Xiao Tian E-card
Free Greeting Cards from Bravenet.com Free Greeting Cards from Bravenet.com
Retrieving an E-Card?
Enter Card Pick-up ID below:


Ken Zhu Xiao Tian Calendar
Free Calendar from Bravenet.com Free Calendar from Bravenet.com


Ken Zhu Xiao Tian Guestbook
Free Guestbook from Bravenet.com Free Guestbook from Bravenet.com


Since 1 February 2005


Ken Zhu Xiao Tian Tag Board
Powered by TagBoard Message Board
Name

URL or Email

Messages(smilies)