Canto-pop godfather's memory lives on

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 March, 2017, 12:08pm

Memories of Canto-pop 'godfather' Roman Tam Pak-sin will live on at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum after family members donated 3,000 items of memorabilia from his long career.

The Roman Tam Collection, part of which is on display from today until April 21, is believed to be the first complete collection of a Hong Kong pop artist.

The star's sisters, Tam Man-yuk and Tam Ming-yuk, approached the museum shortly after he died of liver cancer in 2002 with the idea of the donation, which they made last year.

'Only after coming to Hong Kong was Roman able to bring his talent into full play,' elder sister Tam Man-yuk said yesterday - the fifth anniversary of her brother's death. 'Had he stayed in Guangzhou, he would not have amounted to anything.'

She said the donation was made to thank Hongkongers for their support of her brother.

'It was Hong Kong that nurtured Roman's career, so the collection belongs to all people in Hong Kong,' Tam Man-yuk said, adding the family also believed the star's memorabilia would be better kept and appreciated in the museum.

Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Thomas Chow Tat-ming said the collection would play a significant role in local pop culture.

'Because of its comprehensiveness, the collection also has considerable value as a reference source for research into Roman's life and career as well as the development of pop music in Hong Kong,' Mr Chow said.

The collection includes costumes, props, trophies, news clippings, photo albums, posters and many other mementos from his life.

Sixty items are being displayed until April and others will be featured at a separate exhibition on Hong Kong's Canto-pop development to be held from November 11.

In a three-decade career, Roman Tam was one of a few Hong Kong singers to become a cultural icon. His songs were particularly popular for a generation who came of age in the 1970s and 1980s. Thousands of fans lined the streets to pay their respects when he died five years ago.

Roman Tam was the first star to rock Hong Kong in 1973 with a cross dyed on his crew cut, a teardrop drawn on his cheek and one eye slathered with blue eye-shadow. And he introduced dungarees to the public - minus the underwear.