updated 17 Dec 2011, 17:31
user id password
Thu, Oct 08, 2009
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
Is Sun a Gaga wannabe?
by Tan Kee Yun

THE music, the choreography, and yes, the numerous costume changes.

Watching the video of Sun Ho’s latest US single Fancy Free, one would think the Singaporean singer had suddenly become Lady Gaga.

The comparison isn’t lost on eager-eyed netizens, some of whom are accusing her of being unoriginal.

They’ve made their feelings known on local forums like Hardwarezone and SgClub.

Some even thought the video was too “skanky” for the a pastor’s wife.

It’s not the first time the 37-year-old singer, now based in the US, has come under fire.

Two years ago, she was criticised for being too scantily-clad when she appeared, geisha-like, in the music video for her song, China Wine, a collaboration with hip-hop maestro Wyclef Jean.

Comparisons a compliment

A quick comparison of Sun’s Fancy Free video with Lady Gaga’s, such as Poker Face, showed many similarities, from the choreographed dance pieces (both involving cavorting male dancers), to the numerous costume changes.

True to Gaga-form, Sun wore four different sets of outfit in Fancy Free, two of which look extremely Gaga-like – a slinky, black body-hugging piece and another with elaborate, exaggerated headgear.

In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, Sun acknowledged the comparison to the pop star, but stood by the originality of Fancy Free, calling it a “truly unique video”.

She said: “It’s pretty typical to compare someone to a person who is now at the focal point of attention in pop culture.

“I love Gaga and how she remains true to herself and her artistry, so comparing me with her is a compliment.”

However, she said she is confident that she, her management and Joseph Kahn, the director of the Fancy Free video, “did not dedicate so much effort merely to move in that direction”, meaning, to make the video a Gaga replica.

Kahn’s credits include Britney Spears’ Toxic, Gwen Stefani’s The Sweet Escape and U2’s Elevation. “I feel proud of our mutual artistic vision and the hard work we’ve put in,” said Sun, who is married to the Reverend Kong Hee, founder of City Harvest Church.

Hit singles

Sun entered the US entertainment scene in 2003 with her first dance hit Where Did Love Go, produced by veteran songwriter-producers David Foster and Peter Rafelson, who have written songs for the likes of Madonna, Elton John and The Corrs.

She followed it up with four back-to-back dance singles, all of which hit the top of the Billboard Dance Club Charts and the UK’s Music Week Dance Charts. Sun has also released five multi platinum-selling Mandarin albums in Asia.

She elaborated on the meaning of Fancy Free in a video web chat conducted on Facebook with fans from around the world.

During the webchat, she called Fancy Free a representation of her “life philosophy”.

She added: “It’s (the song) about loving your life and dreams. I believe that great dreams can be accomplished by ordinary people like you and me.”

Fancy Free is now available for purchase on iTunes in the US and will also be included in Sun’s upcoming English studio album Cause A Ruckus.

Slated to be released at the end of this year, the collection of pop-dance anthems is co-produced by Grammy-winning producers Danja and Rodney Jerkins.

The webchat drew 7,000 views in all, including participants from countries such as Indonesia, Taiwan and even Uganda.

Most of the questions were about Sun’s new music, as well as her life in the US. However, it did raise some eyebrows.

First, there was the low-cut tank top – with a denim vest over it – which Sun wore during the chat, exposing her cleavage.

Local undergraduate Chen Qi Ye, 24, who caught screengrabs of her web chat, felt Sun’s outfit was “very risque”.

But Mr Chen conceded that Sun has the right to “flaunt her assets, as part of her pursuit of stardom in the entertainment industry”.

Netizens on lifestyle portal also slammed Sun for putting on a “fake American twang” during her webchat.

From our observations of the webchat, Sun did not appear to fake an accent during the chat.

But at one point, she was asked what was the hardest part about doing music in the US, and Sun said it was “having to pick up an American accent, so as to be understood”.

Madam Zheng Min Hua, 58, who is in the education sector, felt uncomfortable by that particular comment.

“I feel that so long as Singaporeans do not use Singlish, our English and Chinese will be understood overseas,” she said.

“It’s the same as Singaporeans living in say, Beijing, in China. I’m sure they don’t have to put on a thick Beijing accent, it’s so fake.”

In our e-mail interview, Sun clarified her comment and said that the American accent she had to pick up was in reference to “recording her album tracks”.

“There are words, street slang and jargon used here that are totally unfamiliar to me,” she said.

“I’m doing a crossover to the US music scene after all, and I need the American audience to be able to connect with me within the four minutes of each song.”

She explained that it was the same situation she faced in Taiwan years ago.

“I remember when I started singing Mandarin pop songs in Asia, I had to have a Taiwanese mentor help me through the recording process, to correct the nuances in my pronunciation.”

As for her low-cut tank top, she brushed the negative comments away, retorting that “it’s the first time I’ve heard of it (her attire) being overly sexy”.

At the 2006 Global Music Awards held in Singapore, she had been criticised for turning up in a short grey-black dress (with black stockings and black boots) that barely covered her buttocks.

Earlier, in November 2003, Sun had worn a daring red Armani gown – with a plunging neckline – to the Hollywood Film Festival in Los Angeles.

This article was first published in The New Paper.


readers' comments

That's a good question.
So why? Cos Rev Kong Hee cannot "control" his own wife as "claimed" by you?
Posted by bbmwlover on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 15:59 PM

In the public? on a website or publications?
Posted by bbmwlover on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 15:54 PM
Dear gaaypo,

Have you read this reply?
What do you think?

Posted by bbmwlover on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 15:47 PM

You do not know him, neither do you know Sun. Sun is not "out of control" as you said. Neither is there any contradiction between what he preach and what he does, the contradiction is in yourself and your view of God and YOUR judgemental demands on other christians.

Many of your facts are wrong, he didn't claim to be a Reverend, he was ordained one. All celebrities inevitably has to be in the public (ie: become "famous), that doesn't mean that all she seeks is fame. You do not know her to comment.
Posted by melvinchen1 on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 15:11 PM

You are suggesting that his travelling expenses are paid by the church. This is certainly not true.

He is not salaried and all his expenses are his own. None of CHC's money goes to them.

There's nothing to expose. CHC's financial statements are in the public, and audited by independent public accountants. They did not use a cent of church money for themselves. Period.

In any think its fun to spend 30+ hours in a plane every think its a 'luxury' or 'fun choice'? You're very naive...I bet you have never taken a long haul flight before.
Posted by melvinchen1 on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 15:07 PM

Dear DeeJayer
You see I am just one of those who and will never agreed with what you are saying, there are so many others who and also will never agreed with your teaching.

WHen I quote Isa 50:3 I am telling you that the Lord had blinded your eyes and no matter what we said here you can never see the truth in it, you as usual will use verses that will suit yourself to justify what you are teaching.

Ask yourself why there are so many others churches in Singapore that we did not target at except your church City Harvest Church. Reason is so clear, look what the wife of your senior pastor(could be you are the one) behave, just at once glance once can tell what she is seeking is FRAME. Where does the Glory .....
Posted by gaaypo on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 13:24 PM

Hi middleman

Pls don't muddle in your "middleness" - pun intended.

Worked up? Yes, perhaps a little. Let's just seperate facts from fiction here - especially your own fiction.

G'day too!
Posted by DeeJayer on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 11:44 AM
Posted by DeeJayer on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 11:27 AM

HI Gaaypo

I really doubt if you know what you are quoting or understand the context of this discussion. False teacher? I think you are the erroneous 'bible quoter'.

Nevertheless, I leave you with this:

Isa 50:4
"The Lord God has given me
The tongue of the learned
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary
Therefore I have set My face like a flint
And I know I will not be ashamed"

And to those who stand for truth and for what is right:

Isa 51:7-8

"Listen to Me, who knows righteousness
You people in whose heart is My Law
Do not fear the reproach of men
Posted by DeeJayer on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 10:52 AM
it must be true then that he spends a lot on travelling between S'pore and US. How in the world can so many well-heeled ppl get conned to part with their money thinking it is used for God's work but in the end it ended up somewhere else. How gullible can ppl be. MediacorpTV should buy the programmes from US exposing these HYPHOCRATES who are clad in wolf's clothing. Many are in the wealth, health, happiness ministries who runs mega churches and their programs are aired on TV every SUNDAY.
Posted by justifly on Mon, 12 Oct 2009 at 10:21 AM

Copyright © 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.