The New Paper
Apr 24, 2015
It was said in jest to add spice to the show, but it changed Stefanie Sun's life.
When Sun was a rookie in the entertainment scene, she went on veteran Taiwanese host Jacky Wu's popular variety show, Jacky Go Go Go.
Wu, who is one of the most famous and richest entertainers in Taiwan, is known for his wit and his rapid-fire exchanges with guests.
On meeting Sun, he called her stupid.
What caused that?
He had asked her questions in Mandarin, but Sun did not seem to fully comprehend them. Wu then said: "Why are the newcomers so stupid nowadays?"
Asian Pop News reported via Apple Daily that Sun had a poor grasp of the Chinese language at the start of her career, and that it was Wu's jab that made her realise she had to brush up on her mother tongue.
Sun described Wu's statement as a slap to her face. She said that it pierced her heart.
The singer admitted that when she first started out, she had difficulty getting around Taiwan and conversing with the locals.
Sun's humiliating experience came up again after Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death last month
The 36-year-old singer had written in his book, Lee Kuan Yew, My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore's Bilingual Journey, about what had prompted her to start learning Chinese again.
But when the excerpt was posted online recently, Sun's fans were outraged on her behalf and slammed Wu.
No ulterior motive
News website China Topix reported that Wu recently posted on his Facebook page that he only said those words to raise the entertainment value of the show and that he did not mean them.
The 52-year-old host said his statement should not be taken in the wrong context as it was not his intention to critique Sun's language proficiency.
He added that although it seemed like he poked fun at many artists who appeared on his shows, his intention was merely to create a lasting impression of the artists in the viewers' minds.
"At the end of the day, the listeners always interpret the message of the speaker the way they want to, even if the latter had no ulterior motive."
He added that he will take it as an "occupational hazard".