SINGAPORE - It's the kiss that has reportedly set many tongues wagging.
But the woman caught smack in the middle of it all says that she doesn't understand the fuss.
"I think the matter was blown out of proportion... We kissed for just one second," MediaCorp actress-host Vivian Lai told The New Paper on Wednesday.
"I kissed (Pang) to show my joy... It was a natural reaction."
Lai had kissed showbiz rookie Kate Pang when she was announced as one of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes at the Star Awards Show 2 held on Sunday night at Marina Bay Sands.
Amid much applause, she stood up and turned to hug Pang, 29, who was seated beside her. Then came the kiss on the lips.
The show of affection in the programme, which was shown live on nation-wide on Channel 8, irked some viewers so much that they complained to Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao, who splashed their views on its front page the next day.
A spokesman for MediaCorp said the shot will be censored for the repeat telecast this Sunday.
Lai, 36, who's married with two daughters aged six and two, told The New Paper in Mandarin: "At the Oscars, a lot of Caucasians also kiss each other because they are happy...
"Why is it okay for Hong Kong and Taiwan (female celebrities) to do the same, but not for Singapore artistes?"
Other than the Top 10 Most Popular Female Award, Lai also won Best Supporting Actress for her role as a brash and loud-mouthed woman from China in Love Thy Neighbour.
She said she gave Pang the peck on the lips because Pang had hugged her and asked her for a kiss right after Lai's name was announced.
Both have never kissed each other before.
When we asked Pang why a hug wasn't enough and why she wanted a kiss, she said she didn't think about it at that time. To her, it's really not a big deal for close friends to kiss.
Lai said she and Pang became close after hosting the Channel 8 variety programme My Fair Ladies.
Both women are Taiwanese and often hang out together. As Pang doesn't have any family here, Lai said she cares for her friend like she would a younger sister.
Pang, who won the Best Newcomer award on Sunday, also told TNP that she regards Lai as her sister.
She doesn't think that the incident will affect her career and image.
Said Pang: "I feel that as long as you love someone, you can kiss that person, regardless of whether it's a man or a woman
"I didn't do anything wrong or break the law, so it should be okay."
Lai also has no regrets as she feels she didn't do anything wrong. She also said she didn't know the camera was on her at that time, nor did it cross her mind that it was a live telecast.
She said: "Everyone has her own way of expressing her joy at that happy moment, but if the repercussions of my kiss is so serious, I will be more careful next time...
"But how I show my happiness is up to me to decide. Why should I watch what people say? "Of course, my actions must be within social values."
The actress-host doesn't think that she was a negative influence for doing what she did. If she had kissed Pang for more than a second or if she had "French-kissed" her, she said, she would then be guilty of undermining social morals.
|Girl-on-girl kiss to be censored in re-run of awards show
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST, TNP)