It's sing or swim

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 August, 2002, 12:00am

WHEN SWIMMER-turned-Canto-pop-star Alex Fong Lik-sun first qualified for next month's Busan Asian Games, he was unsure whether to take part.

He had doubts about managing the big event along with his studies and showbiz career. But after careful consideration, he made his mind up to compete. 'I don't want to end my athletic career yet,' he said.

The SAR record-holder will go with Hong Kong's 19-member swimming squad to the Games, which start on September 29. The Busan Games will be the third major competition the 22-year-old will participate in since his showbiz career took off, the first two being the East Asian Games and the All China Games.

'I don't want to let this opportunity go,' he said, even though he knows his chance of winning a medal is slim.

'Big events like the Asian Games are precious for every athlete. I want to feel the atmosphere at the Games and have memories of being there, no matter how I do.'

Fong currently has five to six training sessions a week - an amateur-level schedule, he acknowledged.

'My forte used to be the 400-metre medley. However, as I cannot afford to spend too much time on swimming anymore, I will compete in the 100 m backstroke which requires comparatively less training,' he said.

Fong, a Sunday Young Post columnist for more than nine months, will perform and meet readers at the Pure Sound Summer Concert this Saturday. The free show organised by Young Post will be held at the Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre.

'The newspaper column gives me an opportunity to write. I am happy that I can share with people what I really want to say - things I seldom mention at interviews,' he said.

He has written about his family, friends, showbiz career, swimming and studies.

'Quite a lot of fans and friends read the column. They can learn more about me,' he said.

Writing the column is a challenge which adds pressure to his tight schedule.

'First of all, English is not my mother tongue and I'm not very good at writing in the language. I can't write a 400-word piece in just 15 minutes. I need time to think how to write,' he said.

'My deadline is two weeks before the column is published. Nowadays, I usually can't meet the deadline. I might be a week late. Once I missed the deadline by nine or 10 days. But fortunately, I haven't missed a publishing date yet.'

On top of his training, Fong, a business administration student at the University of Hong Kong, will also be busy next month at rehearsals for a Commercial Radio drama production and his third CD.

'My time-table will be totally packed. It's good that I will not be too busy with my studies as the term begins,' he said.

Among the songs in his upcoming EP is one written by Ronald Ng Lok-shing and Lam Chik and dedicated to a friend of Fong's.

'It's a true story. It's about a good friend of mine who had cancer and passed away. I've already talked about it in the column,' he said.

'I told lyricist Lam the story and faxed him the article I wrote. I hope the song will encourage people not to give up on life so easily.'

Fong will also experiment with different music genres and include some more upbeat tunes in his new record.

'I would like to try a variety of songs, and ones that involve more singing skills,' he said.