Sunday, December 05, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao, The Sun & Oriental Daily 06/12/04]

The entertainment industry remembered the talented James Wong in a memorial service held at the Hong Kong Stadium where the simple scent of thousands of lilies and floribunda lingered to gently lift the spirits of the mourners.

Among those present were the speakers: Alan Tam and Liza Wang and also Pak Suet Sin, Kwan Kuk Ying, Yu Chang, Lo Ka Ying, Nat Chan, Kenny Chung, Pang Kin Sun, Sheila Chan, Ko Chi Sum, Cutie Mui, Margie Tsang, Frances Yip, Elisa Chan, Sam Hui, Damian Lau, Danny Summer, Lo Tai Yau, Emotion Cheung, Alice Lau, Lau Siu Ming, Cheung King Hin, Yu On On, Kwok Sau Wan, Leung Si Ho, Ander Jen, Vincent Kuk, Cheng Dan Shui, Ha Yu, Wong Yuk Man and Tony Ching. Other guests who dropped by to pay their respects included Ronald Cheng, Chuk Man Kwan, Liu Kai Chi and his wife Chan Man Yee, Juno Mak and Taichi.

Alan Tam told of some amusing experiences he had shared with Uncle Jim and he hopes that everyone can remember this well respected friend with laughter, because Uncle Jim's life was full of happiness and even though he has departed, he would still hope that everyone uses smiles to replace tears and look on life with a smile.

Wearing a black suit, Alan talked about his deep relationship with Uncle Jim. He says: "Talking about relationships, it was the 'Wynners' that brought us together. The title 'Uncle Jim' was coined by us and in 1975, he asked this bunch of monkeys to make a film and at the time I thought, who is this four-eyed guy? He could write, he could direct, he could act and he could write his own music and lyrics and even host a show in English, so we thought we had better refer to him as 'uncle'. Now the name 'Uncle Jim' has spread to the whole of Hong Kong."

Alan also says that at the time, Uncle Jim was very fiery at the time and was very absorbed and serious about his work and so was very strict with us, correcting all our mistakes. At the time he could not even pronounce the words for 'I' and 'You' correctly, so Uncle Jim would insist that he learned it all over again. "Take Kenny for example, he could not pronounce the word 'Love' properly and so he had to take eight days to learn how to say it. It could be seen by this that Uncle Jim sought perfection. On another occasion, I was recording a song when he burst in and made a dirty joke of the song title. Uncle Jim's sordid humour would appear at any time and he liked to 'ask about' [insult] people's families, but he never let himself slip while he was hosting and has never been caught swearing on camera because he has two different personalities."

At this point, Alan started singing some lines from a song "...the broadness of my mind are washed by the lakes and seas, my shadows and journeys can be found in the rivers and mountains..." - this represented the expanse of Uncle Jim's cultural knowledge and expertise. Then he sung "...I love you so much it makes me crazy, totally crazy..." to describe the craziness and blunter side of Uncle Jim.

Alan went on to explain that every word that Uncle Jim used had its own special circumstance and it was certainly not simple. They were full of embracement and full of joy. Often in his lyrics, the word for 'smile' or 'laughter' would appear, including "A gentle sound of laughter brings me the feeling of warmth...", "One sound of laughter in the deepest sea...", "I smile as I reply and say 'I am me'...". His songs reflect on life and whenever he had the chance, he would laugh out loud and even in the lowest point in his life, his joyous laughter had never stopped. "So his personality that smiled despite the changing of the wind and cloud is worth us learning from."

And so, Alan hopes that everyone can use a happy atmosphere to remember this predecessor: "Here, I represent every person in Hong Kong as I remember you and your song 'Play a Little'." At this point, the song appeared on the big screen and the words "There's nothing left to do, so the best thing is to play a little!" could be heard as everyone took a moment to use the sound of laughter to forget the sadness of the great talent's departure.

Liza Wang was the next speaker to express her memories of Uncle Jim and she started by stating her admirations for Uncle Jim's dedication to his art as well as his courage. She felt that Uncle Jim loved Hong Kong and loved China, so wherever there are Chinese people, then there will be some of his creations. He is the pride of Hong Kong, the treasure of China.

Liza says that at the beginning of this year, she was very unhappy for a time and she asked for help from one of her seniors. This was Uncle Jim: "It was the afternoon of 6th April and he listened to my question before saying: 'Liza, whether in television, singing or politics, you have done very well, so as long as you select and stick to your road, then it will be fine.' It was these simple words that gave me total strength. Talking to Uncle Jim was a very happy thing, because he was embracing and happy, he was very educated and talented and so he had many sharp swords by his side. I have always admired him greatly and in the seventies and eighties, I sung many of his creations. I feel that his later works were even better, like the best wines - the more mature he was, the finer he became."

Liza continues that she especially admires the devotion that Uncle Jim showed towards the arts, for example the three years he spent working with Hung Sin Nui on her 'Four Great Beauties' collection, showing the massive heart he had for the art. She also respects Uncle Jim for his courage: "He was no spur of the moment braveheart, his courage stemmed from his confidence, which in turn came from his knowledge, his imagination and his open attitudes. As a result, he was intelligent without being cunning and he was brave without fear. He used his eyes to find his path, stood by his thoughts and refused to blend in with the crowds. He had the courage to express his thoughts and also to accept and change his criticisms."

In Liza's eyes, Uncle Jim loved Hong Kong and also loved China. She says: "The songs 'Under Lion Rock', 'This is My Home', 'My Chinese Heart', 'Be a Brave Chinese' were all indications of Uncle Jim's deep love affair with his homeland and his creations will live on for generations to come. He is the pride of Hong Kong and the treasure of China."

Finally, Liza used the words "Deeply embracing eternity with you..." to end her thoughts on Uncle Jim.

The event drew to a close at around 6 pm and each artiste laid a flower for Uncle Jim before they parted. Many were overcome with emotion and tears flowed in a very touching scene. Uncle Jim's good friend and partner Michael Koo indicated that his emotions had settled down now and when asked if he had seen Uncle Jim's family, he says not yet. Nat Chan indicated that Uncle Jim is someone he truly respects and is half a mentor to him, because Uncle Jim taught him so much and steered him away from many unecessary paths. Although Uncle Jim has departed, Nat says he will not be unhappy because sickness and death are inevitabilities in life and Uncle Jim has led a happy life and has left many legacies that will change the lives of his juniors, so his life has been a worthwhile one. Nat says: "Uncle Jim and I actually spent most of our time together at ATV. At the time, we hosted the World Cup together and even forged the result that gave ATV 70% of the viewers, leaving TVB just 30%!. All in all, every moment I spent with Uncle Jim is just as memorable." As for the visitors fighting over the memorial brochure at the event, Nat says: "It will happen when there are a lot of people. If I had not been given one, then I would have fought for it as well."

Liu Kai Chi and Chan Man Yee left at around 5pm and Man Yee had cried so much that her nose and cheeks were red and sore. Uncle Chi says that Uncle Jim's works were part of everyone's history and he was also a great teacher and friend to everyone, so his feelings were the same as those of the public and he hopes that everyone will remember the sound of Uncle Jim's laughter.

TVB aired the memorial service live and although it overran by about 80 minutes, they decided to go against their arrangements and continue the broadcast without any advertisement breaks in a rare move. TVB External Affairs Assistant Chief Tsang Sing Ming indicated that the arrangement was made because they understand the respect that Hong Kong people have for Uncle Jim. He says: "TVB had arranged to air the show from 3pm to 4:30 pm and although it overran, we still have to look after the viewers' needs and show our own respect and remembrance for Uncle Jim and so we felt that there was a need to continue the uninterrupted live broadcast." He also says that he has informed the advertising clients of the arrangements and admitted that there was some losses to the company, but says: "There are terms that we agree with the clients that if there are special circumstances then the station has the right to change the schedules. Although we did not ask their permission first in advance, I believe that they will understand."


[Ta Kung Pao, Oriental Daily & The Sun 07/12/04]

Leo Ku, Gigi Lai and Fiona Yuen were guests at a special Christmas party yesterday and having just returned to Hong Kong from Malaysia, Leo responded to Beyond's earlier 'Crab Kings' remark, saying that he had admired Beyond all along and he is also thankful to the help that Alan Tam has offered him. However, he feels that as a singer, then the title is not important, the most important thing is to make the albums great. He says that since last year, he has been working hard at his music and he believes that friends in the media will agree. When Leo was asked if he was confident about winning an award this year, he did not respond directly, just saying that he has worked hard. When asked how he feels about being dubbed one of the 'New Four Heavenly Kings', he says it would be better if people did not mention that too much as this would help to reduce the pressure on him. He had hoped a long time ago that he would not be given this title because he is just an ordinary person who likes to sing.

Gigi worked together with Leo on a music video for her song "White Shirt" many years ago and meeting up once again, she felt that he has matured a lot and hopes that they can work together once again in the future. Originally Gigi had decided to take some time out for a vacation, but as she has too much work, then she has had to cancel this and spend Christmas working. When asked if she has made a lot of money from this, she smiles and says that there are some jobs that she does not get paid for. Earlier there were rumours that she has exchanged a contract for her 'Most Favourite Female Lead' award with TVB, but when asked about whether she has already signed the contract, she says it is nearly completed, but she cannot reveal the details.

There was an incident at the party when they pulled some party poppers, Leo saw that Gigi was struggling to pull it so he offered to help her. The popper backfired and injured Leo's thumb and nearly hit his sensitive area. Afterwards, Leo said: "My thumb has swollen up and there is a bruise on my thigh, but my 'little brother' is okay. It was quite dangerous, but this is my first party popper related injury!"


[Ta Kung Pao, Oriental Daily & The Sun 07/12/04]

Yesterday morning a group of cast members from "Kung Fu Soccer" including Dicky Cheung, Jerry Lamb, Anson Leung, Joey Yung, Mandy Chiang, Deep Ng and Natalie Ng took part in a promotional event at TVB City to mark the airing of the show this evening. The event was supposed to start at 11:20, but Dicky arrived late and the event started 45 minutes later than planned. Later, Dicky explained: "Sorry, I thought the event was at 12 noon, so I thought I was only a little bit late."

During the event, the artistes played a match against some under-10 's and despite working very hard, the artiste team lost 3-0. Talking of his hopes for "Kung Fu Soccer", Dicky says: "I am confident in the ratings because the show is also currently being aired in Guangdong and the results there are good. The other high rated shows there are also my productions!" When Dicky was asked whether he would still be releasing any albums, he says: "Definitely, I am still very enthusiastic about singing and I like to play my own songs when I am driving. (Isn't that a little egotistic?) A little, yes!"

Dicky reveals that after the promotional events for "Kung Fu Soccer", he will be resting for a little while, taking his girlfriend and mother to the Maldives for a well earned break as well as moving out to the city from the New Territories. When asked whether the move is an indication of his intention to get married, he says cheekily: "I am only moving with my mum!" He adds: "I have lived in the New Territories for many years, but when I am filming I am always in the country, so I don't want to be a wild man all my life and I decided to move back to the city. Originally I was living on my own, but I am moving back with my mother and being a good son." Dicky has been rather unlucky though because he bought a set of sofas for the new house but they would not fit in the elevator. He says: "I live on the 68th floor, so if I paid someone $100 per floor to move it up the stairs, then this would come to nearly $7000 and the sofa only cost $9000. In the end, I gave it to my brother and bought a smaller one for myself."


[Oriental Daily & The Sun 07/12/04]

Claire Yiu lives in Sai Kung with her mother and on Saturday night, her home was broken into and three phones and $1000 in cash was stolen. Fifteen hours after reporting the crime, the police indicated that they had arrested a 16-year old illegal immigrant suspect connected with the crime. Claire was asked to identify the stolen phones at the police station yesterday and when the items were recognised as the stolen phones, the police charged the suspect with the offences.

Claire retold the incident, saying that at around 3am, her mother was awoken by the barking of their nine dogs and felt something was wrong, so she went into the study to check and saw that the place had been ransacked. Realising that they had been broken into, they called the police, who arrived to lift some fingerprints and take a statement. As the amout lost was not very great, Claire and her mother were both very relieved.

On the same day, police officers in Kowloon stopped a suspicious man and arrested an illegal immigrant, who had three mobile phones, all without SIM cards. When they saw that on one of the phones, there were some photographs of Claire stored in it, they contacted her about the find.

Due to the rising number of burglaries in the Sai Kung area, the police are taking the matter very seriously and Claire found out from the police that there are organised burglary rings in the area and they once arrested a man who had information about all the movements of residents in the low-density housing areas. When Claire's boyfriend Thomas Lam heard about this, he was very anxious and instructed Claire to cover up even at home to avoid people spying on her and people committing crimes.

Claire always thought that her nine dogs would deter people from breaking into her home, but after this lesson, she will not be careless any more and has decided to put in some security measures. She hopes that the 16 year old will change for the better.


[Oriental Daily 07/12/04]

Liza Wang and Myolie Wu were filming for new series "My Sassy Mother-in-Law" yesterday and they had to do some graceful steps for the scene. Myolie laughs: "I am not very good at shaking my bottom, so I am afraid I will not do it properly, but luckily Liza has a dance background and she says I have passed, so it should be OK. This scene tells of Liza, who plays my mother in law thinking that she will catch me having an affair, but it is all a misunderstanding and there are a lot of laughs." Liza says that she has been busy preparing for her concert, filming and preparing for James Wong's memorial speech, so she has not had enought sleep.


[Oriental Daily 07/12/04]

Sammul Chan was at the "Strength of Youth Performance" in Tsuen Wan yesterday, where he was appointed the "Junior Red Cross Ambassador". Sammul reveals that he has given blood since he was at school and has donated twenty six times so far. He says: "The first time I went, I was a little afraid and many of my schoolmates were afraid of it hurting or of blood and did not take part, but I felt that to save another person would be a very meaningful thing, so I even joined the Red Cross." Earlier Sammul had witnessed a traffic accident and luckily he was able to help out with his basic first aid knowledge. He says: "The learning process was quite hard work, but when it comes into use in helping others, then you feel that all the effort was worth it."


Back to top