Why Aren't They Talking About Ho Yeow Sun?
The lack of publicity in Singapore about homegirl Ho Yeow Sun, popularly known as Sun (quite aptly, since she is bright and cheery), baffles me.
I first noticed this young lady when I was working as Editor-In-Chief of ELLE magazine in Singapore. At that job, I didn't get to go out much and the only SUN I got was the few rays that came streaming in my office in the morning, killing my cactus.
But my intrepid young reporter Michelle Bong pointed out to me one day that there was this cute Chinese pop singer who was also a pastor. We were at the time planning for our 2001 National Day issue, always a big song and dance and we tried to feature as many Singaporeans who were making waves (and who looked good) as possible.
"How about the singing pastor?" asked MJB (her middle name escapes my mind now but that's what we call her)
She waves an album cover at me. What a wholesome looking lass. "She's a PASTOR?"
"Yah, got belly button showing and all."
I had nothing against belly buttons showing, and I still don't have anything against it. The only time I object to belly buttons in my face is when I have to look for them between two folds of fat. Which is why you won't be seeing mine anytime soon. But this Ho Yeow Sun, she's pert and cute as a button. Some people think she's lian but I never had a problem with lians ? Fann Wong is also very lian but she's cool to me. If you speak Mandarin then you can be lian. If you only speak English and look lian THEN got problem.
The two years following that were something else! Her albums sold a lot of copies, and she started appearing in magazines, newspapers etc. Of course, MEDIA being media (MEDIA is short for "Mean Egotistical Diatribe-Inscribing A******* ? I know, I was one/am a recovering one).
She's materialistic lah, she's very "unholy" lah, her congregation was forced to buy her album so that she could get a number one spot in the charts lah, she wears slutty outfits lah ... you name it. It started with one Her World article I read where she apparently flaunted her Prada bag et al and the worst of it was probably the article slamming her for her red Armani gown.
See, being a person in the media has its advantages. You don't believe 90% of what you read in the papers. The other 10% is just there to make you laugh.
Poor girl got ripped to shreds. Even my Christian friends (and I was not Christian yet) said, "She's asking for it lor." I heard of people leaving City Harvest because of the hoohah. I honestly didn't see the big deal. God's not stupid. If she was a fake He'd fix her.
I prayed for her, mostly for her to wise up to the Things Not To Do When The Media Are Looking.
The stupid thing about the whole business was that the REAL stories were completely ignored!
* DAVID FOSTER was her producer!!! She was in Hollywood wearing Armani because HE BROUGHT HER! Now THAT'S a story! How many Singaporeans have caught the eye of a legendary music producer?
* ARMANI sponsored her dress! How many Singaporeans get Armani to sponsor their dress in HOLLYWOOD?! Maybe Fann Wong only!
* The girl was obviously making it big! Why run a story about a freaking DRESS and a bit of cleavage (not as if you haven't seen any -- okay maybe just not on a Pastor but she IS a woman, and a nice-looking one at that). I searched and searched but there was no story on HER SUCCESS!
These days the media's calmed down a little over her. But still there's a bit of a boycott, if I might call it that.
Last year she hit the number one spot on the Billboard Dance Charts (Top 25), knocking off Destiny's Child even. Not just that but she had THREE CONSECUTIVE NUMBER ONES on the Billboard Dance Charts!!! Good grief, that's unheard of for any Singaporean!
The report in the Straits Times was a tiny couple of paras in Life.
But when another Singaporean climbs (YET AGAIN) Mount Everest, it's full colour picture in the News section, Front page, Page 3 or front of Home News.
Something's not right.
My husband asked me yesterday "How come Ho Yeow Sun's making it so huge overseas and here you hardly hear about her?"
I don't have an answer, or rather, I'm AFRAID to answer! Could it be that our multi-religious society "fail" to see her as a talented singer because they'd rather not deal? Could it be that they have beaten her up so badly in the press before it seems like a reversal of position for them to do any decent story on her? Do I really want to read about a lard-eating cardiologist who obviously has no respect for his own body when I could be learning more about this woman who is putting Singapore on the map AND SINGAPORE CHOOSES NOT TO NOTICE?!
Aiyoh. In my mother's (bless her soul) words, this is very "chek ark".
I had the honour of meeting Sun because of the WMD anti-child sex tourism project I began. She donated $10,000 of her (and a few friends') money to the cause! She also agreed to have her photo taken as part of a celebrity T-shirt drive that begins 7 July.
Right now she is in LA completing a Praise & Worship album that City Harvest is putting out. It will be TRES COOL -- I know this because I've heard the songs and the treatment, and I am a former music editor of ETC magazine and I know cool when I hear it (HAHAHAHA). I definitely am buying it, no pastor needs to force me to put down money for it.
She has also become the new VON DUTCH chick. If you need to know what Von Dutch is, WHAT ARE YOU DOING READING MY BLOG?! Just head out your door, down the street and it will be less than 10 minutes before you see a Von Dutch bag/T-shirt/skirt. It is only the hippest surf brand in California, and Madonna and Halle Berry are also in the Von Dutch Hall of Fame. If you don't think that's cool for a Singaporean, something is majorly wrong with you.
In a sense, I'm GLAD local press don't give Sun due credit. It makes her seem so much cooler to me. It's like Blogging: by the time the Singapore press runs a story, YOU KNOW YOU ARE MAINSTREAM! YIKES!!!! To be in the same category as Phua Chu Kang!!!! ARGH!!!!
She's about to hit the major big time. Her 4th single comes out this month in the US, and she has signed an album deal in LA and will be recording there. The album is due out next Feb. I'm not a dance music fan, but I'm sure she will do a great job. She's got some excellent names producing this album (see below)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA (2 June 2005)?Sun's second single released in the UK, "Without Love" has conquered the dance charts, reaching Number #1 on ?Music Week's Upfront Club Top 40' Dance Chart and proving yet again the continual international success of "Without Love" and Sun. "Music Week" Magazine is Europe's industry standard for reporting music much the way "Billboard" Magazine in the United States is considered the ultimate resource. Sun and her #1 single shares the charts this week with singles from such notable artists as Mariah Carey, Ashanti, Kelly Clarkson, Kelly Osborne and Nelly. "Without Love" also hit #2 on "Music Week's Commercial Pop Club Chart" and #2 on "DMC" Magazine's Dance Club Chart as well.
"Without Love" which was produced by Jimmy Harry, who has worked with international pop superstars like Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, and remixed by notable remixers such as Mike Rizzo, Tony Moran, Eric Kupper, and Peter Presta, "Without Love" previously went Number #1 on the US "Billboard Magazine Dance Club Chart" back in December 2004 and sustained itself in the Top 25 "Billboard" Dance Radio Charts for over four astonishing months. For the UK release of "Without Love," Bimbo Jones, Motiv8, and Steve Solasso were brought in to provide additional remixes.
Sun's next follow-up single will be "Ends of the Earth," which will be released in the USA this summer. Famed producers, The Underdogs, invited Sun to record with them in their studio when Sun was in Los Angeles in September 2004 and after only two days of studio time, "Ends of the Earth" was created.