Christmas comes early for Hsu's fans

This holiday season will be special for a couple of Singapore fans of Taiwanese singer-songwriter Peggy Hsu.

One will walk away with a present specially prepared by the singer during a mass gift exchange at her Christmas concert here on Saturday and the other will have the pleasure of having his gift received by Hsu.

Spending Christmas with her fans has become a tradition for Hsu over the past seven years in Taiwan. This year, she will be doing so for the first time in Singapore.

The gift exchange she takes part in with the audience at her Christmas concerts is one of the highlights of the show. All concertgoers are encouraged to each take along a gift worth any amount.

Speaking to Life! over the telephone from Taipei, Hsu, 32, says: "Exchanging Christmas gifts with my family and friends is an important activity for me during this holiday season. At the concert, I will get to pick a present too. It feels like a gathering of friends.

"I recently received a glowing snowman ornament from a fan at the Hong Kong show. It's really cool.

"I spend every Christmas working - it's a date I have with my fans every year. I'll save Christmas Eve or Christmas itself for the fans in Taipei. I feel very fortunate to be able to spend the day with people who love my music."

She will be jazzing up her songs to get the audience into the mood for Christmas during the 90-minute-long showcase at Switch by Timbre. The Mandarin pop live house can take up to 300 people but 200 tickets have been released for sale to the concert.

The intimate setting of the Singapore show is ideal for Hsu, who has a penchant for performing at such cosy venues as Riverside and The Wall Live House in Taipei and Kaohsiung.

Since she made her debut in 2001 with the hit song Balloon, Hsu has seemed to prefer to keep a low profile, largely flying under the mainstream music radar.

So the unassuming singer got a rude shock earlier this year when she starred in the Taiwanese musical Big Red Riding Hood - and was attacked by jealous fans of her co-star Qiu Sheng-yi, better known as Prince from boyband JPM, with whom she shares some romantic moments.

"It was the first time I faced such a situation since I entered show business. I'm usually very low-key.

"I can understand where the fans are coming from because we all have chased idols in our younger days," says the cheerful Hsu, who hopes to release her new album early next year.

Prince's fans need not worry about her sinking her claws into him - she has a long-time boyfriend whose identity is not known and whom the Taiwanese media call Iceman.

Does she have the urge to tie the knot with him, especially after she served as bridesmaid to Taiwanese-American singer Evonne Hsu in Bali earlier this year?

A coy Hsu has only this to say: "I've never fantasised about weddings. My younger sister just got married in September. Watching her go through the wedding preparations, it looked very tiring and troublesome.

"To me, it's more important that two people are happy together."

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