Asian News 9/13

Fundraiser Gone Wrong

Singapore’s High Court began hearing a case September 3 in which the Singapore Tourism Board is suing three parties for failure to fulfill their pledge to stage a celebrity-studded fundraising event several years ago.

In 2004 and 2005, the STB paid Tony Hollingsworth and his two companies, U.K.-based Children’s Media Ltd. and Tribute Third Millennium, a total of $6.16 million to organize a concert that would raise money to aid disadvantaged children all over the world.

The event, called Listen Live, which was to take place in the National Stadium, was conceived as a six-hour event beamed live to 500 million people in 80 countries.

The STB also hoped it would attract 20,000 tourists and bring in $30 million. Among the celebrities supposed to attend were Hollywood actors Kurt Russell and Jamie Lee Curtis, Asian musicians David Tao and A-Do, and dignitaries from the four corners of the globe.

The STB is accusing the defendants of breach of contract. Originally slated for March 2005, the concert was first postponed to the fall of 2005 and then again to the following April.

The first postponement was due to the organizers’ failure to confirm the artists and broadcasters and line up necessary sponsors. The second postponement was made because the conditions of the contract were not met. A third contract was signed but months later the organizers claimed they could not raise the $30 million needed to pay for the event. They then canceled it.

The STB has called Children’s Media a "sham or facade" organization. According to STB, Hollingsworth approached the Singapore government with the idea of Listen Live after negotiations to hold it in India broke down.

Defense lawyers have countered the STB charges by saying the agreement stipulated that the money the defendants received could be used for the entire Listen Campaign, a publicity activity to draw attention to the concert. The STB claims the money was only meant to be used for the concert.


Dienoji Crowned Air Guitar Champ

For the second year in a row, Yosuke "Dienoji" Ochi won the Air Guitar World Championship, held at the Teatria rock club in Oulu, Finland, September 7.

Ochi earned perfect scores from several judges during the final heat, earning him not only the title of the world’s greatest air-head, but a custom-made Flying Finn guitar worth $3,400. It is the second time a contestant has won the championship two years running, the first being Zac Munro of Great Britain in 2001-02.

According to reports, Ochi’s only real competition during the event was from France’s Guillaume "Moche Pitt" de Tonquedec and Austria’s Max "Herr Jacquelin" Heller.

The best American at the championship was 11th-place finisher Andrew "William Ocean" Litz, whose gimmick is to end his performance by back-flipping onto an empty beer can.

Other Japanese entrants finished 6th and 16th. The mandatory final song for the competition was Ozzy Osbourne’s "I Don’t Wanna Stop."

The 35-year-old Ochi is one-half of the comedy duo Dienoji, whose fortunes, to say the least, have improved since Ochi took up air guitar competitively. Though Ochi does not play guitar he sometimes plays drums in cover bands (his brother is the drummer in the popular indie rock group fOUL), and Dienoji often opens for rock artists.