Saturday, November 27, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao 28/11/04]

Having made a great contribution to the film and television industry in Hong Kong in his lifetime and having trained many great stars from the TVB artiste classes, Teacher Lau Fong Kong passed away in Vancouver in November this year and left a great sadness among his students. In order to remember such a great teacher, a special remembrance ceremony was held in his honour yesterday by his students and friends as a final mark of respect and in the hall were displayed many photographs of Teacher Lau and his students, some photos of his appearances in films and his copy of the script from "My Pretty Wife at Home".

Each attendant at the service will donate $500 towards the costs of the ceremony and for the souvenir of Lau's life, with any funds left over going to charity. As Teacher Lau has a definite place in the hierarchy of the performance world and many famous students, there were many big names at the ceremony yesterday, including four of the classic TVB "Five Tigers" - Michael Miu, Kent Tong, Felix Wong and Andy Lau. The remaining tiger Tony Leung was unable to attend because is currently abroad, but Carina Lau was there. Other artistes present to pay their respects included Eddie Cheung, Jamie Chik, Liu Kai Chi and Chan Man Yee, Ken Tsang, Chan Man Fai, Ng Lai Chu, Maggie Chan and Tam Yuk Ying. TVB's Managing Director Ho Ding Kwan and EEG executive Ng Yu were also present as they were once close colleagues with Teacher Lau.

Maggie Chan indicated that Teacher Lau's funeral has all been completed now and his will to have his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean and not to have a memorial stone has been fulfilled. Although his family have not returned to Hong Kong to attend, they are grateful to his children Tak Ching and Tak Nam for lending his photographs. Maggie hopes that she can publish a book in memory of her teacher, because the philosophies and teachings of Lau have helped her a great deal during her performance career.

Andy Lau recounted some of his memories of Teacher Lau, saying that in 1986, when he was frozen by TVB, it was Teacher Lau who contacted him, told him not to worry and just keep on working hard. He reveals that when he heard that Director Cheung Chi Leung had headed over to Canada to arrange for Teacher Lau to move to an extremely good nursing home, Andy had wanted Cheung to pass on his good wishes to Teacher Lau, but did not get the message there in time and this is his greatest regret.

Michael Miu describes Teacher Lau as being like a father to his students - his children. However, Michael laughs that Teacher Lau would look after the girls with great care, but would be very strict with the men. He remembers that when they were in class, they would be very mischievous, but Teacher Lau only had to pass by outside for his power to make all the students become very serious. Felix Wong says: "Teacher for a day, Teacher for life." He explains that Teacher Lau changed his life and remembers: "We were always being scolded, saying we were not working hard enough, not singing well and not acting well. However, we all knew that he was saying the opposite to how he felt because this was his way of making us more determined." Felix says that Teacher Lau taught them that they had to love their wives. Jamie Chik says that she had tried to arrange for the five tigers to have dinner with Teacher Lau last year, because they were the greatest achievement in Teacher Lau's lifetime, and although not everyone could make it, it was a very happy occasion and the photos create beautiful memories.


[Sing Pao 09/11/04 - report on the news of Teacher Lau's death]

Once the Chief Principal of TVB's artiste classes and famed director in the 1970's Lau Fong Kong died of Liver Cancer last Wednesday (03/11/04) in Vancouver. Teacher Lau was responsible for the training of many famous names and made a major contribution to the world of film and television in Hong Kong. Although Teacher Lau has always been very low profile, there will be a memorial ceremony held in his honour later this month at the Hong Kong Film Information Centre.

Lau has worked in the performance industry for many years and during his years as principal of the TVB artiste training class, he created a number of household names such as Stephen Chow, Andy Lau, Tony Leung and Carina Lau. When they heard the news of his death, his students expressed a wish for a memorial service to be organised through the Artiste Training Alumni Association and arrangements will be made to show some exceprts from Teacher Lau's life and works.

There will also be some honoured guest speakers to talk about Teacher Lau's achievements and experiences, but these guests are to be confirmed. Teacher Lau was a man of few wishes, asking only that his ashes be scattered into the sea and arrangements for the ceremony will be in total accordance with the wishes of Teacher Lau's daughter Lau Tak Nam. One of Teacher Lau's students Maggie Chan indicated that although Teacher has passed away, he was in his seventies and was accompanied by his son and daughter when he departed peacefully, but many of his students felt that he led a very lonely life. Despite this, they feel that he lived a life without any regrets, because there were always many people who cared for him and loved him.

Maggie's deepest impression of Teacher Lau was when she was filming in Taiwan, Teacher would take her to drink coffee and then buy two different types of bread. Teacher Lau would then say: "I have breakfast for tomorrow now! (Why did they have to be different?) His son Tak Ching liked to eat them." This showed how strong Teacher Lau's love for his children was and how he showered them with it. Maggie says that she spoke to Teacher Lau last month, but he did not want anyone to know about his illness, so he kept hanging on.

Tony Leung indicated that Teacher Lau returned to Hong Kong a couple of months ago to see some old friends and he was full of jokes and laughter and very different from before. He believes that Teacher Lau already knew about his illness then, but did not want his friends to know, so he kept it a secret so that no-one would worry about him. It was Carina who told him the news of Teacher Lau's death and when asked if he had comforted her, Tony said: "What can I say? We are both unhappy, the only consolation is that Teacher did not leave in very much pain."


Siu Sang - 1927-2004

[Ta Kung Pao & Oriental Daily 29/11/04]

Veteran television production professional Siu Sang has been suffering for a long time from Liver Cancer and unfortunately passed away in the early hours of 27th November in Tseung Kwan O hospital. He was 77 years old and his family, including godson Eric Wan and student Yeung Siu Hung, was by his side when he died, taking his final steps with him.

Uncle Siu's wife thanks family and friends for their concern and indicates that Uncle died very peacefully and his funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.

Known across entertainment circles as simply "Uncle", Siu Sang has worked in television for over forty years and has productions across all five of the original television channels, that are remembered as classics. These include Commercial Television (CTV)'s "Legend of the Condor Heroes", Asia Television (ATV)'s "Dynasty" and "Reincarnated", TVB's "Return of the Condor Heroes" and more recently "Love in a Miracle". Uncle was a master at making martial arts series and is dubbed as a founding father in this genre of television. When he worked in the days of Rediffusion (predecessor to ATV), he was already adapting Jin Yong's martial arts novels for the small screen and received much support before heading to CTV to spark off a following for the Jin Yong cult that has been driven to the present day.

Uncle's martial arts television empire also raised many superstars from humble beginnings, including TVB's five tigers (Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Michael Miu, Felix Wong and Kent Tong) and also Michelle Yim and Pak Biu from "Legend of the Condor Heroes".

Even after many decades in the industry, Uncle refused to retire and was still full of energy, but when he found that there was a tumour in his liver and had to receive emergency treatment in hospital, he was rescued from the edge of death. This March, he was finally persuaded by his family to take retirement and move to Guangzhou to rest. When his liver condition returned earlier, he returned to Hong Kong for treatment, but there was little improvement and it was this that eventually took his life.

Uncle Siu's son Siu Chi Kong was interviewed by Metro Radio yesterday and he indicated that with the loss of a loved one, then the family are very sad and are taking his funeral arrangements in hand. He offered thanks on behalf of his family for all the support and wishes from everyone. He revealed that his father's liver condition is a recent illness and at first it was not very serious, and it was only very recently that it affected his health greatly. His father had hoped for his children to be successful when they grew up and to support each other as well as give a contribution to the family and society. Siu Chi Kong admires his father for having the never give up spirit and create great productions from very small budgets as well as looking after the newcomers.

When asked which of his productions was Uncle's favourite, Siu Chi Kong says that no matter which stage of his career he was at, his father was just as absorbed in his work. He felt that his father's favourites were TVB's "Return of the Condor Heroes" and "Demi Gods and Semi Devils" and also CTV's "Legend of Condor Heroes". As for his most admired people in the entertainment world, he would say it was his production students and his godson Kent Tong, who had been to visit Uncle in hospital earlier.

Siu Sang's Most Memorable Productions

1976 - Legend of the Condor Heroes (Pak Biu, Michelle Yim)
1977 - Return of the Condor Heroes (Law Lok Lam, Lee Tung Ming)

1979 - Reincarnation (Tsui Siu Keung)
1980 - Dynasty (Alex Man)

1982 - Demi Gods and Semi Devils (Kent Tong, Felix Wong)
1983 - Return of the Condor Heroes (Andy Lau, Idy Chan)
1984 - Qiu Jin (Liza Wang)
1984 - Chor Lau Heung (Michael Miu)
1987 - Genghis Khan (Alex Man)
1989 - Song bird (Leon Lai, Nnadia Chan)
1990 - Legend of the Zu Warriors (Aaron Kwok, Pauline Yeung, Anita Lee)

2003 - Thunder Cops
2004 - Love in a Miracle


[Ta Kung Pao 28/11/04]

Earlier, there were reports that Liu Kai Chi did not renew his contract with TVB because he was unhappy at the cuts in his workload, so when Uncle Chi attended the memorial ceremony for Teacher Lau earlier, he was interviewed by Cable entertainment news about this. Uncle Chi responded to the questions in Cantonese and when someone reminded him that he needed to respond in Mandarin to a non-TVB company, he laughed that he should be okay if he responded in Cantonese before continuing.

Afterwards, he was asked if he was worried about TVB being unhappy about this and Uncle Chi indicated that they should not be. He admitted that his basic contract with TVB has ended and he just has "The Herbalists Manual" to finish filming. Uncle Chi says that he did discuss a new contract with TVB earlier, but finally decided to leave. Is this because he was unhappy with the cut in agreed workload? Uncle Chi explained that he just wanted to rest for a while, spending more time with his son and putting more effort onto his family. However, he admits that he has been with TVB for over twenty years now and he will miss them, so this was not an easy decision to make. Chan Man Yee laughed that her husband is very sentimental and not as decisive as she is.


[Ta Kung Pao 28/11/04]

During an event for TVB's Cover Girl Contest, Kelly Chen and Kate Tsui were invited to be judges. Having previously judged Miss Hong Kong and Miss Chinese International, this is the third time that Kelly has been a judge at a beauty contest and she praises her own skills for being able to choose a winner. However, this contest is a little different because she will have a chance to get to know each contestant a little better before she has to judge and it will be hard to make a decision before the day of the competition.

Although Kelly is a renowned beauty, it turns out that before she entered the industry, she felt that she was not pretty enough and did not know how to dress up, so she never thought about entering a beauty contest. However she had great confidence in her intelligence and improvisation. As for whether she would appear on stage in a bikini, she laughs that if the swimsuit was quite big, then she would wear it, but if it was very skimpy, then it would not be so good. She remembers when she first entered showbiz, some magazines asked her to model some swimwear, but she was so scared that she turned them down immediately.

This is the first time that Kate has judged a beauty contest and she will be taking part herself representing Hong Kong for Miss Chinese International in January, so she hopes that the experience of being a judge this time will give her an insight into the criteria of beauty and be of help to her forthcoming pageant. When asked if she has already started to prepare, Kate says that some contestants suffer from anxiety and insomnia during the training period and this can leave them bloated, so she is slimming and hopes to relax as much as she can so that she can face the contest in her best form.


[Oriental Daily 28/11/04]

Earlier, Lancome invited Charmaine Sheh, Sofie Rahman and Amanda Lui to be their guest models at an event and the brand held a grand opening of a branch in Central's International Finance Centre, once again inviting the three beauties to take part. Unfortunately, due to filming, Charmaine arrived extremely late, but she refused to admit that she was at fault.

The opening was due to take place at 6pm, but as Charmaine had been busy filming for "Yummy Yummy", it was postponed by 45 minutes. All the guests and Sofie waited for a whole hour and with the build up of people, the organisers decided to go ahead with the ceremony without Charmaine. When the event ended, Charmaine had still not arrived and the organisers explained that they had arranged for a car to go and pick her up from TVB City, but it was stuck in traffic, so Charmaine finally arrived at 8pm. When she arrived, the company immediately arranged for her to receive her gift and raise a toast.

Chamraine insisted that her tardiness was not her fault, saying with frustration: "It was not that I was late, I was not going to come, because I could not fit it into my schedule, but they kept calling me and so I was taken by their sincerity and agreed to pay a visit during my meal break. It was very difficult for me to come and I haven't even had dinner yet!" The PR saw this situation and explained on Charmaine's behalf, sayuing: "The boss really wanted Charmaine to come and we do know how difficult it is for artistes to take time out, so the boss will not complain because it is better late than never!" Charmaine not only missed her dinner to attend, she also had a red patch on her chest due to rushing around so much and she indicated: "There was a problem with communication this time, but not with me, with the company."

Also currently filming for "Yummy Yummy", Kevin Cheng also took his meal time out to attend and arrived at 7pm to discuss his experiences of skincare. In response to Kevin arriving so early, Charmaine laughs: "He was filming on location, but I was in the studio."


[Oriental Daily 28/11/04]

It was Kenix Kwok's birthday yesterday and earlier when she was filming in Central's harbourside for "Revolving Doors of Vengeance" when a group of fans held a surprise birthday party for her, presenting her with a crystal award for "Best Female Lead of the Century". Although her husband Frankie Lam was busy working and could not take part, he had asked for a bunch of flowers to be delivered on his behalf and Kenix was so happy that she was beaming and by coincidence, there was a firework display on in Victoria Harbour that evening, that made her birthday even more memorable.

Kenix said, smiling sweetly: "I only started liking flowers recently and maybe Frankie noticed this. He has already given me some diamonds as a birthday present and I have to work on my birthday itself, so we will go for a meal later. He is not really a romantic person, but I like a bit of romance. I know he has done a lot for me already, I remember one year, he invited my mother into TV City to hold a surprise birthday party for me, this just proves how much he loves me. (Will you have a baby with you for your birthday next year?) There will be a day, but just not this year. I know that the fans have raised a five figure sum for me that they will be donating to charity, so I am very happy that I can use my popularity to move others to do charity work. My birthday wish this year is for health, happiness and simplicity."


[Oriental Daily 28/11/04]

Irene Wang played Bowie's wife Ho Suet in "War and Beauty", a character that tugged at people's sympathies and she laughs that she is most afraid of looking fat in the ancient costumes, so she was desperately trying to lose weight at the time. During which, she found a great dieting method, which was to stop eating meat and starches at the same time. Irene indicates: "This method is very simple, if in a meal you have decided to eat rice, then don't eat meat with it and eat vegetables instead. If you have decided to eat meat for the meal, then just have vegetables with the meat. Don't think that it seems quite odd, it really worked and after a month of eating like this, I lost quite a lot of weight, so I often suggest this to my friends."

As well as this little tip, Irene also recommends that exercise cannot be missed out if you want to lose weight, because diets alone are not enough to give real results. She says: "Because dieting is fake slimming, then as soon as you stop dieting, the weight will go back on. Doing exercise will not only help to lose the fat, but it will also tone the muscles and you get twice the effect."

Irene says that most city people have a condition, that is not having enough time, so she suggests that we should choose some exercise that is convenient to our lifestyles, such as a stepper, that can be used whilst you watch TV. She used this method to lose a lot of fat from her body.


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