A Ku Indeed!

Sex Tapes: East-West Style

Posted in China, Life by Chris on February 22, 2008

CNN.com likes to put National Enquirer type stories on their front page (lately they are getting really carried away with this and it gets on my nerves as it makes CNN sleazy). Today, though, one caught my eye. Apparently, racy film and photos of a prominent Hong Kong actor (appearing in the photos with other well-known Hong Kong starlets) were released onto the web. The way this situation has played out is interesting to anyone interested in East-West differences.

The difference here is too obvious. As we’re all aware, in the West, people rush to get these sorts of things on the web as a way of revving up, or in some cases jump starting, their show-biz careers. Think of some of them: Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian come to mind immediately. Have a sex tape on the internet and people start talking about you. You might even get a reality show (we know that for sure).

At the very least, we know that sex tapes don’t harm anyone’s career. Of course, most people act “shocked” that these things hit the internet, but most speculate that they either weren’t all that ignorant that it was going to happen (maybe even intending for it), or pleasantly surprised but putting on an act. Because they know: sex tapes boost your publicity, and in Hollywood no publicity is bad publicity.

With all that in mind, now watch the footage from this Asian sex-tape scandal to see how it turned out for this particular actor (above the fold in the CNN story clip). Did he get a reality show? No. Do you suspect that he’s pleasantly surprised? No. In fact, in his press conference he resigns from Hong Kong show business in disgrace.

It’s a very interesting commentary on how differently Eastern and Western cultures operate. It’s not just “showbiz” either. Stars crave attention from the public. So they are very aware of what the public wants, and what they need to do to get the public to pay attention to them. And what the public will put up with. How a culture treats its “stars” — and how that culture expects them to conduct themselves — says a lot. The difference here says volumes.


3 Responses

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  1. Million said, on February 22, 2008 at 3:14 pm


    I remember reading about the North Koreans and Kim John Ill’s father in undergrad. The thing that scared me so much is he used Confucian traditions to effectively shame people into acting a certain way; the North Korean Communist Party way. Not very gentleman-like but public displays of shame appear to be a common thing in the East. They are much more severe than here. It’s certainly questionable if it has to be this way (I don’t think it does) but the difference is still there.

    It’s as if public celebrities in the East are expected to be exemplars of some sort. And if the fail to live up to that standard? Well, that’s where the same issue comes in.

    Interesting to a Midwesterner who was taught not to care what other people think of him… 🙂

  2. Chris said, on February 22, 2008 at 3:36 pm


    That’s right. Funny enough, I was going to quote Charles Barkley in there — you remember what he said that time, “I am not a role model.”

    But I think that’s my point — it seems that there, when you are in the spotlight, you’re expected to be an exemplar. Here, it seems that being a negative exemplar is fine. In fact, it may even help your career.

  3. Charity Smith said, on February 23, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I wonder what Confucius would say about Paris Hilton, et al. I suspect he would take one look at reality television before quickly packing up his belongings and heading off to some quiet chain of mountain caves . . . I’m tempted by the idea myself sometimes, especially when I make the mistake of turning on CNN to hear the ‘news’.

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