21 September 2019
Celine Yeung (left), six, and Candy Lo Lam, 48, grab headlines for not acting their age, or is it in the eyes of the beholder? Photos: Facebook, Instagram
Celine Yeung (left), six, and Candy Lo Lam, 48, grab headlines for not acting their age, or is it in the eyes of the beholder? Photos: Facebook, Instagram

HK assails child ‘exploitation’, praises ageless grandma

Thank goodness, Hong Kong appears to have reached its saturation point when it comes to those scantily clad teenage models who descend on the annual book fair to promote their photo-album books.

None of those sexy young models appear to have generated much media mileage this year. But two members of the fairer sex did steal the limelight in the past week.

First was actress and model Candy Lo Lam, who came up with a photobook that shows off her incredibly youthful-looking face and body in various elegant poses.

Her biological age may be 48, but none of that fact shows in the pictures of her cherubic countenance and whistle-bait figure.

Lo, who grabbed the Miss Asia crown in 1991, was divorced from her rich husband two years ago, allowing her to focus on her career. Her performance in the romantic movie Enthralled was generally well-received.

What’s the secret of her age-defying charm? Her picture book won’t tell, but enough to say that Lo is a Hall of Famer whose career blossomed in the ’80s but whose beauty refuses to yield an inch to the ravages of time.

Even British tabloid Daily Mail was impressed. Gushes its headline: Mother-of-three you will NEVER believe is 50!” 

It can’t seem to get over the fact that the Chinese actress, with her angelic face, wrinkle-free skin and toned body, looks decades younger than her true age.

Another surprise at the book fair came from Celine Yeung whose photo album was eventually pulled out following complaints that it carried “indecent” pictures of the six-year-old TV commercial model.

Showcasing pictures of the child model taken by lensman Ronald Lam, the 130-page book, priced at HK$118, generated much controversy because of two photos: one showing the little girl in a top and white underpants with her legs wide open and another one showing her in underpants with her face buried in a pillow and her buttocks raised.

The Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration has received more than 130 complaints from the public about the photos. The office has yet to decide whether the book should be classified as an obscene or indecent publication.

The photographer said he couldn’t understand the hullabaloo; his intention was to portray the little model’s innocence and fun-loving character. The child was wearing clothes in all the pictures, he noted.

The mother said she accompanied Yeung in all the photo sessions, but admitted that she was not involved in the choice of the pictures that went into the photo album.

She has apologized to the public, saying she would never allow her child to be exploited.

Yeung’s photobook generated much debate on the internet.

It’s been noted that Hong Kong values press freedom, but a line must be drawn when it comes to child exploitation.

It’s not often that complaints about indecent child pictures are heard in the city, where parents do everything to provide the best education and upbringing to their kids.

Indeed, as much as it is a part of the Chinese family tradition to protect and care for the young, as seen in the case of the six-year-old model, it is also part of our customs to give respect to the elderly, as in the case of the 48-year-old beauty queen.

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EJ Insight writer