Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SCMP Editorial: Is TVB’s Jade Solid Gold Top Ten awards the blueprint for universal suffrage?

I actually got a kick out of reading this article so I figured I’d share it with everyone.  Why did I get such a kick out of it, you ask?  Well, because the article echoes my sentiments exactly when it comes to the topic of music awards in HK.  The part I found the most interesting is that the writer of the article compares the JSG voting thing to the universal suffrage debate currently going on in HK right now – I actually didn’t think about it in that light, but when it’s put in that context, the writer is absolutely correct (those who have been following the universal suffrage discussion in the news will probably understand the writer’s point of view). 

Of course, since the article is an editorial, take it for what it’s worth – whether people agree or disagree with the sentiment that the HK music industry is ‘dying’ (or, for some people, it’s actually already ‘dead’), that’s not really the point.  To me, the point of this article is to highlight the pathetic state that HK as a city / nation is in right now…though I guess in a sense, for us die-hard Hong Kongers, this also serves as yet another ‘depressing’ reminder of what our once beloved city has become.  Sad….


Is TVB’s Jade Solid Gold Top Ten awards the blueprint for universal suffrage? 

Source:  SCMP

Written by Vivienne Chow at SCMP

January is the music awards season in Hong Kong. They were big deals back in the days when Alan Tam Wing-lun was in tense competition with Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing in the 1980s and the Four Heavenly Kings – Andy Lau Tak-wah, Jacky Cheung Hok-yau, Aaron Kwok Fu-shing and Leon Lai Ming – ruled the 1990s. But ever since these super stars went tired of these games, and those who could barely sing the right notes became the new stars in the early 2000s, Canto-pop was dying. Few people care about these music award shows in the past five years or so.

Strange enough, attention to music award shows has resurfaced this year. It’s not just because Eason Chan Yik-shun shocked the crowd when he looked to his iPhone screen for lyrics and gave a performance that was worse than karaoke upon receiving the top awards (best male singer, album, etc) at Commercial Radio’s Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation on January 1. At the height of political debates over universal suffrage and Occupy Central, people began to compare these pathetic music awards shows with the political status of Hong Kong.

For those who aren’t familiar with the music awards shows (well, I never attended or covered them as, unlike the Hong Kong Film Awards, which is organised by an industry association and voted by the industry, these music awards have little credibility), Hong Kong has four major music awards organised by four media companies – Metro Broadcasts, Commercial Radio, RTHK and TVB. Every year, Metro Broadcasts hands out over a hundred awards to almost anyone in the showbiz. Commercial Radio’s awards have better reputation as it claims the awards are based on airplay but this means DJs and station management have a high chance to manipulate the results. RTHK...I don’t know what the criteria are. Just like how Hong Kong is run, these are simply no transparency. Perhaps they don’t need to as the awards are just another show, and they don’t have to be accountable to the audience.

TVB’s Jade Solid Gold Best Ten Music Awards Presentation, on the other hand, attempted to be accountable to the public but at the same time, many netizens argued that the TVB show was a preview of what 2017 universal suffrage might look like.

This year Jade Solid Gold followed Miss Hong Kong and The Voice of the Stars to bring public voting on board. Those who pre-registered with TVB online could vote for a number of awards, including most popular male and female singers as well as the song awards.

The game was “universal suffrage” in principle – you were allowed to vote as long as you have registered. But the problem is, many netizens argued, there weren’t that many choices available.

It turned out that only singers who have contracts with TVB (and turn up for the night) were allowed to participate in the race. This meant singers like Eason Chan, who is currently the best loved singer in Hong Kong and has won almost all the big awards at other awards shows, got banished from entering the TVB race. The remaining contracted male singers who fulfilled TVB’s requirements were either too inexperienced irrelevant – seriously I cannot name one single song by Raymond Lam Fung (but he won the most popular singer award with 30 per cent votes). Joey Yung Cho-yee won the most popular singer award for the ninth time in a row with 58,815 votes (well, 85 times more than CY Leung’s 689 votes).

TVB might have played transparent, but the screening process made the awards an unfair race by squeezing out the capable ones who deserved to win. If the Jade Solid Gold award is the blueprint for the 2017 so-called universal suffrage for Chief Executive, be prepared to struggle with choosing among a range of B to C-list candidates if you are stuck in Hong Kong by then.

Meanwhile, G.E.M. Gloria Tang Tsz-kei simply couldn’t care less about the stupid Hong Kong showbiz games and ventured into China. The young Canto-pop singer became an overnight singing sensation on the mainland after appearing in mainland reality show I’m A Singer, winning some 200,000 new followers on her Weibo after the first show. Hong Kong? Forget it. The real fame and cash on mainland matter more to some people.


  1. in 2017, HK ppl will have rights to cast votes for their CE ? They are lucky...we, Msian, dont even have that rights to choose.

    Back to JSG, never watched that show for a loooong time... so no idea how bad it was but current crop of singers that sells only are selling sex appeal/looks. Only a few are truly selling their voices.

    I didnt watch GEM in that China show coz I dont really like watching established singers battling other established singers. I did hear about how good she was. That's good to hear because IMO, she is truly wasted in HK. Go and earn RMB!!

    As for Eason Chan's performance in the other award show...first time I heard about it (I seldom read C-News). Is it that bad? Gosh, I like his songs..what happened to him? I watched his performance in Anita Mui's concert and he was bad - thought it was just a bad day for him but what happened ???

    1. I've heard about this show on weibo seems interesting. I do agree about GEM, since she was born in Shanghai she's fluent in Mandarin and shouldn't waste her time in HK market. She has the skills to make it in Taiwan, China, etc

      JSG is such a joke, I only watched two clips of it, one cause of Callstar and another cause the Hubert Wu's cover version of Denise Ho's Fa Dip (composed by her as well) was runner up for gold song and he thanked Denise/Hocc in front of Joey Yung :P

      I haven't watched JSG these past 3-4 years and don't plan on watching when 3/4 of HK singers aren't even part of it. The voting system is the joke when that many singers aren't included.

      Quite frankly ever since last year, all HK award shows has made me very very disappointed. Those who contribute great music continually to be snubbed! Independent singer-songwriter like Wallis Cho really deserves support, N.A.D feat. MastaMic was awesome. Same with Kelvin Kwan, Charmaine Fong, Jonathan Wong, Gin Lee, etc. Yet the likes of Andy Hui, Kary, Hacken, etc gets awards when their songs aren't even good.

    2. @fangorn: Well, that's the discussion that has been put on the table at the moment. Of course Hong Kongers are pushing hard for it, since HK has always enjoyed a certain amount of freedom even when under British rule, so they definitely don't want to give up any freedom now under China's rule.

      As for JSG -- I actually stopped watching the show more than a decade ago (pretty much when all the veteran singers started pulling out). It looks like I made the right decision, as the show has gotten worse and worse over the years -- to the point that now, the show has no credibility and no one gives a care about it anymore. I know this may sound mean, but the intention is well-meaning -- I actually would rather TVB cancel JSG then to continue keeping the show on when it is so meaningless least that way, TVB can still preserve JSG's legacy. Similar to what they did with EYT back in the 90s -- end it while it was still salvageable and preserve its reputation (I still miss EYT even now...).

      I'm not a GEM follower either and rarely ever listen to her songs, but based on what I've seen/heard so far, it's no doubt that she has singing talent, so it's good to see that she's finding success in Mainland. I truly do feel happy for her. The great thing is that the success is based purely on her singing talent (not looks or connections), which makes it even more admirable.

      And please don't even get me started on Eason -- I could go on forever about him. Like I said in my comments in another forum, Eason's actions at that particular awards ceremony is proof enough how unprofessional Eason is and how absolutely UNDESERVING he is of the 'new generation God of Songs' title (he sets a bad example for his juniors, that's for sure!!). I honestly don't feel that he has the passion for music or singing anymore because his recent performances have actually been quite bad -- not sure if it's because he's had no competition for years and so has no motivation to do better or whatever that psychological disorder he has is getting worse or he just doesn't give a damn's almost like he doesn't put much effort into his performances anymore, which is such a shame (and once again, further proof as to why he doesn't deserve that title I mentioned earlier -- a true God of Songs wouldn't do that kind of stuff).

    3. @sport3888: The thing I couldn't get over about this year's JSG awards was that most of the so-called 'winning songs' were actually covers of other artists' award-winning hits. Ivana won based on Jacky's song (a song that actually doesn't even fit her, since it's about a guy proposing to his girlfriend -- she didn't even bother to change the lyrics, which is why the song sounds SO WEIRD when she sings it), Hubert won with Denise's song (I like Denise's version better honestly), and I believe Adason also won an award with his cover of George Lam and Tina Lau's old old song from the 80s (I just glanced at the winners list and didn't really pay a whole lot of attention, so I could be wrong). I think there were others as well, but since I didn't pay much attention, probably missed some. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive, but I've always had a problem with artists covering classic songs (especially 'legendary' songs such as those from the 80s), especially since most of them aren't able to cover the song well and end up distorting the song from it's original (for example: Ivana's cover album of classic male songs -- no offense and nothing against her personally, but I honestly didn't like any of her cover performances at all....I like the originals better and sort of felt offended that the songs were 'butchered' in her hands). I understand the whole concept of putting an artist's own 'spin' or 'interpretation' to a classic hit, but honestly, sometimes, it's just better not to touch those classics unless you're going to bring value and perform the song at the same level or even better than the original (like Jacky did back in 2004 when he had that special charity concert Music is Live where during the entire concert, all he did was sing other artists' songs -- I actually started liking a few of those songs myself because Jacky sang them so well...I hunted down the original versions to listen to).

      For me, I've pretty much given up on HK award shows -- I actually can't remember the last time I watched an HK award show in its entirety (even TVB's anniversary awards show I ended up skipping some parts). Definitely a far cry from the 80s and 90s when I never wanted to miss even a minute of any of the award shows....

    4. lol llwy12 I have problem with artistes covering songs period! As a Denise fan I really thought Hubert Wu's cover version was hideous! His singing for it was just horrible such a weak voice and can't even sing the high notes, just ew!

      I also noticed how TVB gave most of the top10 to cover songs, like WTF?!

      I'd rather they give to to Alfred's overrated original song about youth than to his cover version of Hu Xia's where the original was so much better!

      Same with Adason, he has so many original Cantonese songs written by himself, any one would've been better than the cover version of George Lam's song!

      Seriously JSG and TVB does more harm then good for HK music industry. When people watch JSG or last year's RTHK 2012, they'll assume HK doesn't have any music talent since so many winning songs are covers! It's just so depressing when that's totally not the case! It's just DEPRESSING ><"

      Well as for covering male songs Ivana would not be the only one not changing lyrics. Bianca Wu covered Andy Lau's "His Woman "她的女人" a few years ago and did the same thing which was fine since it sounded like a girl loving a married woman instead of a guy.

    5. To add on, the singers doing most of the covers of Taiwan singers are TVB's singers especially those signed to Star Shine? Joyce Cheng, Alfred Hui, Hubert Wu *rolll eyes*. The fact that Star Shines' boss will be managing TVB's music company is just more harm done to the industry! Doing these covers of Taiwan singers just makes me dislike these HK singers because 1. the original were so much better 2. Those who like Taiwan/Mandarin singers already look down on HK singers and assumes they mostly do covers of other countries. For the pride of Hk music should these executives/managers of music compannies, radio stations all solely support original compositions?! 903 only supports original songs except when they awarded Sherman Chung's cover of a Japanese song few years ago, which I still don't get.

    6. It's like when East Asia allowed Andy Hui and William So to cover Exile's song "Lover's Again" which was just horrible! I'm a huge fan of Exile and their lead singer Atsushi so I was really pissed off! Just cause Exile signed with EA for their Asia marketing doesn't mean they can do horrid covers of their songs!

  2. Speaking of TVB anniversary awards, I think the only parts I forwarded was when they awarded the veterans and the 3 actresses for Best Actor speech. Come on, we all know "why" TVB is awarding them and quite frankly last's veterans awards and speeches were alot more interesting. I was especially happy when LaiSingChoeng and Sunny Chang won the previous year. Even ChinKaLok's win was entertaining since I actually watched his series that year and his role was memorable!