updated 21 Dec 2011, 11:23
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Thu, Oct 13, 2011
The New Paper
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Bride and gloom
by Tan Kee Yun

Will things ever start looking up for poor bride-to-be Selina Jen?

The Taiwanese star of Mandopop all-girl trio S.H.E will walk down the aisle with lawyer Richard Chang on Oct 31.

But unlike other celebrities who have blissfully tied the knot this month - congratulations to Karen Mok, Gigi Leung and Sonija Kwok - it seems to be hurdle after hurdle for Jen, who also turns 30 on her big day.

She and Mr Chang, 39, had wanted to get married in April, but they were forced to shelve their plans after she suffered serious injuries in an on-set explosion in Shanghai a year ago.

They had just got engaged then, after living together for a few months.

In an interview last week with Taiwan news portal, Mr Chang revealed that Jen, who suffered third-degree burns, was still recuperating.

As a result of the "raw, fragile condition" of her skin, they have to sleep on separate beds in their new matrimonial home.

She wears a special full-body pressure suit to aid in the recovery, he said.

It has been difficult for him to even put a wedding band on her finger. A customised glove might have to be made for the ring to fit, he explained. Jen was facing other troubles too.

Last month, Taiwan's Next Weekly reported that a war of words had broken out on Facebook between MrChang and Jen's S.H.E. colleagues, Hebe Tien and Ella Chen.

Tien, 28 and Chen, 30, were said to have posted angry rants on their personal Facebook accounts against Mr Chang's attempts to "sow discord" among them.

According to Next Weekly, Mr Chang was unhappy with their record label, HIM International, for continuing with product endorsement deals for Tien and Chen while Jen was recovering.

Tien was said to be further incensed that Mr Chang "displayed unhappiness" over the release of Tien's latest solo ballad You, which hinted at Jen's ordeal and arduous road to recovery.

All parties have denied any falling-out.

As if all this wasn't bad enough, Jen's paternal grandfather died two weeks ago after a stroke.

Jen posted a sombre farewell note on her Sina Weibo microblog: "Goodbye grandpa, sorry I've not visited you... I've made much progress in my physiotherapy sessions."

Local fans of S.H.E. were unequivocal in their support for their bruised idol.

"No doubt she has had to overcome many obstacles, but I don't think we should see it as her being pitiful," said Miss Serene Law, 20, who works in the media industry.

"In my eyes, Selina will always be the most beautiful bride ever.

"And though she and her fiance had to postpone the wedding because of her burns, how nice it is that they're now getting hitched on her birthday." Dolled up

Real estate agent Ng Shi Hui, 24, said she was confident that Jen's bevy of "make-up artists and hairstylists" will ensure she is dolled up to be one pretty bride.

"Most of us (fans) are more worried about Selina's health. She might have to stand and walk around a lot on her wedding day... hopefully, she won't be tired out."

Ms Ng, who chairs Singapore's S.H.E fan club, said there are plans to send congratulatory handmade presents and cards to Jen in Taipei.

As for speculation about "S.H.E's rift" caused by Jen's fiance, 25-year-old graphic designer Darren Ang believed the incident arose from a "misunderstanding" and ballooned into "a media circus".

"True blue fans of S.H.E would know that Selina, Hebe and Ella are so close they would not let anything come between them," he said.

MediaCorp actress Eelyn Kok, 32, said she "admired" Jen's courage in the face of pain.

"She's very, very brave and her determination to get married shows she loves her fiance a lot," Kok told The New Paper.

"If I were in her shoes, I might have waited till I'm fully physically recuperated before deciding to walk down the aisle."

Kok recalled the obstacles she faced before her own wedding last October.

"The toughest part for my husband and I was that during a large part of our wedding preparations, I was away filming in Malaysia. Hence, it was hard to co-ordinate and convey messages to one another.

"What made it worse was that for a couple of months, I was on location in a rural area in Selangor. The Internet connection was really slow and there were times he couldn't reach me at all.

"I remember I once willingly endured a nearly two-hour drive to Kuala Lumpur, just so I could have better Internet access."

Losing a loved one before a joyous occasion inevitably dampens spirits.

Local actress Priscelia Chan, 32, who tied the knot in 2007 with actor Alan Tern, 35, said that while she could not speak for Jen as she "didn't know how close Selina and her grandfather were", she understood the "bittersweet feeling" of not having one's dearest around on such an important day.

"My mum died of illness a few years before my marriage with Alan," said Chan.

"Our wedding itself was an extremely happy event, but at the same time, I did have my personal private moment with my mum. I cried when I prayed to her."

But Jen's optimism will surely help her overcome difficulties she might encounter in the future.

"The scars on my body are imprints in my life," she said, in a statement released through HIM International.

On why she went ahead to take her wedding studio shots despite her injuries, Jen said: "I want to record these moments, as I know my scars will only get better and slowly, they'll fade away.

"I'm ready to savour all the happy things I come across and be a happy October bride."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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