Bubbly actress Lana Wong will again be first in line to burn new year incense

Once again, the effervescent actress will be first in line to offer incense at Wong Tai Sin Temple

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 January, 2014, 3:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 January, 2014, 5:32am

To many in Hong Kong, Lunar New Year just wouldn't be the same without the bubbly Lana Wong Har-wai.

For over a decade, the actress, now 81, has battled the crowds at the Wong Tai Sin Temple in her dramatic outfits to be the first in the new year to offer incense to the Chinese deity known as the Great Immortal Wong.

She will return to the fray at 5pm today in a Year of the Horse outfit and wait until the clock strikes midnight to make her offering. "Being the first shows my sincerity to God," Wong said. Every year I pray for world peace and that everyone has a job and a roof over their head."

Watch: Hong Kong actress Wong Ha-wai gives you the do's and don'ts for the Chinese New Year

Asked why she dressed up, the actress - who despite her age once appeared at the temple as the Japanese schoolgirl cartoon character Sailormoon - said: "I just want to cheer up everybody."

Wong is also known for taking a stand against what she perceives as injustice.

When Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana barred Hongkongers from taking photographs of its window display in Tsim Sha Tsui in 2012, Wong staged a protest, posing for pictures outside the store.

She took food and drinks to striking dock workers protesting outside the Cheung Kong Center in Central last year.

Old folk are also on her mind.

"There's virtually no welfare for old people. Can't this government just give them a little more?" she lamented yesterday.

Wong's outspoken nature and quirkiness have won her applause from social media users, who call her "goddess" or "Ha-wai BB".

BB means baby in Cantonese and is an affectionate form of address for a girlfriend or boyfriend.

"Young people's love for me is a big surprise," she said.

Wong's popularity today didn't come easily. She graduated from Belilios Public School and became an actress at 18. But she gave up showbiz soon after she hooked up with the late Woo Pak-chuen, a former legislator and executive councillor.

She said she had four sons and three daughters with him although he was married, but it was a difficult relationship.

"People called me the second wife," Wong said, recalling that she was once so upset that she nearly killed herself.

"Luckily I didn't die. It was a very stupid thing to do."