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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

PEOPLE

By Alexandra A. Seno


The Magic Soprano

MAESTRO ZUBIN MEHTA DESCRIBED her as the kind of "genius born once or twice a century." The late German conductor Herbert von Karajan called her voice a "gift from God." Jo Sumi, 34, is Korea's premier soprano. She can sail a range of three octaves from F to F and she has performed to glowing reviews in all the big five opera companies, including London's Covent Garden and New York's Metropolitan. What's next? "I want to conquer the Japanese market," Jo says. She is well on her way. Following her gala concert in Fukuoka and her recent solo concerts in Kobe, she performed in Tokyo -- with Prince Akishino in attendance. Next May, Jo will appear in "The Magic Flute" with the country's preeminent conductor, Ozawa Seiji. concert.

King of the Field and Top of the Charts

Singapore's ace footballer has just crossed onto an unfamiliar playing field. Last week, Fandi Ahmad, 34, made his singing debut with the release of an album, Anugerah. For more than ten years Malay rock singer Ramli Sarip has been encouraging him to get into music but, says Fandi, "It was only last year I felt brave enough." He needn't have worried. Anugerah is a soulful mix of English and Malay ballads and the title track is already monopolizing Singapore's airwaves. "In Malay, 'anugerah' means the 'gift of love,'" Fandi explains. "I chose it for its meaningful lyrics." Fandi will pledge his gift of love this December when he marries South African model, Wendy Jacobs, 21. The couple will hold a wedding reception for 6,000 -- including many adoring fans -- at the most appropriate of places: a football field.

Big Screen Steam

Want to know how to make celluloid sizzle? Take two of Hong Kong's hottest male heartthrobs and cast them in a movie together -- as each other's love interest. For his next feature, Buenos Aires Affair, director Wong Kar Wai has done exactly that: Leslie Cheung, left, resumes his usual persona as a gigolo -- only this time Cheung's conquest is another man, played by Tony Leung Chiu Wai, right. Other Hong Kong stars have been begging for roles -- and in some cases, bigger roles. This month, the film begins shooting in Buenos Aires. Maggie Cheung, who already plays a small part as Leung's girlfriend back in Hong Kong, has been suggesting a more complicated character who -- guess what -- flies to Argentina to win back her man. She says it would be "very important for story development," not to mention her holiday plans.


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