Thursday, November 26, 2015   

Beauty and the beasts

Nickkita Lau

Friday, October 23, 2009

It must seem for Chrissie Chau that the euphoria of success can be quickly punctured by envy.

Fortune really started smiling on the 24-year-old this year in the wake of shockwaves from an advertisement for slimming, a book of suggestive photographs and that even more suggestive bolster with her life-sized image.

Suddenly, everyone wanted a piece of her. She could not just go to the bank with a check after the work was done.

And she certainly could not snub an invitation to a University of Science and Technology seminar, especially when it was ostensibly in her honor.

But the "Unscrambling the Chrissie Chau Phenomenon" seminar was really an old-fashioned ambush.

That was certainly the impression of many when the seminar's host, Lingnan University associate professor Li Siu- leung, started firing off questions.

Some of them left Chrissie literally scratching her head. Do you have any impulse or desire to organize your complex self? Do you think it is important to find out what you are?

Chrissie was forced to ask Li to repeat his questions time and again. She was even forced to concede during the session that some of his questions were way over her head.

"I really felt a bit lost listening to the professor citing passages from the classics,'" she said later. "Perhaps he forgot I wasn't his student." She then resorted to a Chinese idiomatic expression to describe her level of learning: "I really don't have much ink in me."

The choice of Chrissie as a gue
st and Li's adversarial approach didn't go down well.

Among detractors, Eileen Cha Siu- yan said on her radio show that the university could have done a far better job than choosing Chrissie for a seminar series entitled "Knowledge Unlimited."

Cha bristled as she mused on Chrissie's impact on university students: "If I was a student and forced to learn from a langmo, I'd quit."

Other cynics in the audience thought Chrissie appeared lacking in the brainpower required for a bout with professors and university students.

The meanness went beyond the university and Cha's radio on the airwaves. At a promotional event at a tavern a day after the seminar, Chrissie was openly insulted by a woman, who said: "Chrissie Chau has big breasts but no brains." Chrissie has put on a brave front and acknowledges her limitations: "I won't be upset over this. It's true that I only have secondary five education."

But she has her defenders.

A reader of The Standard, Jason Chau, pointed out the indignity of Li's approach. "Too much education can sometimes cause discrimination in society because they make people close- minded and unkind"

To Li's credit, he phoned Chrissie a day after the seminar to apologize. And to Chrissie's credit, she said she had learned from the experience, and she hoped she would go to university one day.

That could be a dream come true for other students: most of those at the seminar really perked up when Chrissie got to speak.

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