Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Xia Yi I

I swore I wasn't going to post about this but, here we go -into the gutter! Readers from outside Taiwan will be puzzled, but for those on the island in the habit of watching Taiwan T.V. news, the story of Xia Yi and Ni Ming-jan, the variety show actor who hung himself,has been 24/7 for several weeks, only seeming to lose its legs the last few days. I'm no expert on the details of the story for the perfectly good reason that the personal lives of these people is none of my damn business. It would seem that Ni, twenty years married and with two children not yet grown, was having an affair with a fellow actor, Xia Yi, about thirty. Ni appears to have been suffering the symptoms of bipolar disorder in the months before his death. Xia said he would call his friends and have long conversations, repeating the same things over and over again. He was in danger of losing crucial jobs, even as his financial situation eroded. When he started the affair with Xia, his wife moved to America, but then Xia had had enough of him and moved to Japan and wanted to end the relationship. Ni disappeared for two weeks, then killed himself. That's as clear as I can make it out.

The friends of Ni - a good slice of the variety show celebrity stable - have since risen as one and accused Xia of essentially being responsible for Ni's suicide. It seems it is Xia who left Ni's wife a widow and his children orphans. Who else? Certainly not the sainted dead –The Clown Who Brought Laughter To Others While His Own Heart Was Breaking. Ugh! There are various sub-plots, including a dispute about whether Xia Yi should have the copyright to a play the two worked on together, but this is the essence of the story that has sent Taiwan's media into paroxysms of ecstasy.

Xia Yi didn't exactly help things by getting on a plane and flying right into the eye of the typhoon the minute the funeral services concluded. This set the scene for a classic Taoyuan airport scrum that made the reception given to Elton ("Vile Pigs! You're all animals!") John look tame by comparison. A press conference followed in which Xia stood holding a microphone for several minutes while the camera people jockeyed for position, interrupting her repeatedly by roundly cursing each other in gangster Taiwanese. Xia tried to explain herself point -by -point, but in the subsequent twenty-four hours the verdict from the Friends of Ni was emphatic. Murderer. Harlot. Tramp. “I'll never set foot on a stage with her again!”That sort of thing.