Fei Fei: a night to remember
Charity show celebrates life and times of beloved entertainer Lydia Shum, writes Lee Wing-sze
The now-defunct variety show Enjoy Yourself Tonight, the longest-running programme in Hong Kong television history, was a breeding ground for an array of local stars. Iconic Hong Kong comedienne Lydia Shum Din-ha was one of them.
Shum, affectionately known as Fei Fei for her plump physique, succumbed to liver cancer in 2008, at the age of 62. She may have gone but she has not been forgotten, and a memorial concert for the entertainer will be staged at the Hong Kong Coliseum on June 1, Shum's birthday.
The line-up features Canto-pop king Jacky Cheung Hok-yau, Taiwanese singer-actor Richie Jen Hsien-chi, singer-songwriter Emil Chau Wakin, Canto-pop trio Grasshopper, as well as fellow Enjoy Yourself Tonight comedian Lo Hoi-pang. The concert will also showcase videos of Shum that display her familiar charms. Shum's daughter, singer Joyce Cheng Yan-yee, will also present a performance dedicated to her mother.
"My mother was an icon of happiness, strength and positivity. It's awesome that so many of her friends are able to take part in this memorial show. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of negativity in the world. This show is a reminder to all that a healthy, positive mind can help us get through it all. What better way to let my mum's spirit live on?" she says.
"For this show, I've prepared something spectacular. My mother always said no matter what age we are, what stage of life we're at, there's always something new to learn. There is always a new challenge. In this show, for my number one fan - my mother - I've heeded her words of wisdom and am going to make breakthroughs," she says.
Shum, who was born in Shanghai, embarked on her entertainment career as a child actress in Hong Kong films produced by Shaw Brothers, at the age of 15. When local television station TVB launched in 1967, Shum joined the network as a host of Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Her lighthearted persona and infectious laugh won the hearts of viewers.
The actress also formed the Canto-pop group Four Golden Flowers with Elizabeth "Liza" Wang Ming-chun and two other Enjoy Yourself Tonight alumni. She also performed as a duo with late singer Roman Tam Pak-sin during the 1970s.
In 1985, Shum married actor Adam Cheng Siu-chow in Canada. The couple ended their marriage in 1988, eight months after daughter Joyce was born.
Although Shum was experiencing ups and downs in her private life, her acting career reached another milestone with the role of the money-grubbing mother of a lottery-winning family in the It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World series of films, which ran from 1987 to 1992.
All proceeds from concert tickets will go to the Caring For Children Foundation. Tse says: "We hope to bring the message that we should love and cherish the people around us and spread happiness and joy to others unconditionally - as Fei Fei did."
Always Love Lydia, June 1, 8.15pm, Hong Kong Coliseum, 9 Cheong Wan Road, Hung Hom, HK$280-HK$680, Urbtix. Inquires: 2734 9009