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Teresa Teng: five things you may not know about Taiwanese singer remembered with Google Doodle to mark her 65th birthday

The much-loved performer known for songs such as The Moon Represents My Heart died of an asthma attack in 1995 in Thailand; she would have been 65 on January 29

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 January, 2018, 12:16pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 February, 2018, 11:06am

Google Doodle recently marked what would have been the 65th birthday of late Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng with an image of her performing in front of a full moon. Teng died suddenly on January 29, 1995, of an asthma attack while holidaying in Chiang Mai, Thailand, aged 42.

Teng had a huge fan base in Asia, singing folk songs and love ballads in Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and English, and scoring hits with songs such as The Moon Represents My Heart and When Will You Return?

Her songs were often used as political tools when cross-strait relations became tense.

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Hongkongers also loved her: the 1996 Hong Kong film Comrades: Almost a Love Story, directed by Peter Chan, features the legacy of Teng in a subplot. The film won best picture at award ceremonies in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and at the Seattle International Film Festival.

She has also been immortalised with a wax statue at Madame Tussauds, and there’s no escaping the singer’s face at the Teresa New Life Coffee Shop in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Here are five things you may not have known about the star:

1. Known in Chinese as Deng Lijun, Teng’s surname was the same as that of Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader. This led to her being jokingly known as Little Deng.

2. On May 27, 1989, more than 300,000 people attended a concert called “Democratic songs dedicated to China” at the Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong. One of the highlights was Teng’s version of My Home is on the Other Side of the Mountain.

3. Teng had a huge following in Japan, despite reports that the star was briefly barred from the country in 1979 for having a fake Indonesian passport she bought for US$20,000.

4. So loved was Teng in Taiwan that she was given state honours at her funeral. Among the thousands attending was then-president Lee Teng-hui.

5. Many know about her love affair with actor Jackie Chan, but less known was her brief engagement in 1982 to Beau Kuok, a Malaysian businessman and son of multibillionaire Robert Kuok, former owner of the South China Morning Post.