Mui-interview of those days



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Mingpao Weekly 895  Jan 5, 1986

Yam Pak taught Anita Mui how to protect her voice

Anita Mui's concert of 15 shows started on the last night of 1985 at Hong Kong Coliseum.

The night before the concert, on the morning of new year's eve, I saw Anita Mui.   She changed her normal image of never stopped laughing, she suddenly talked softly.  She frightened me as I thought she lost her voice, because I had to pay real attention before I could hear her.

Ah Mui explained: [I have to protect my voice.  At first I didn't know, then Yam Jei taught me method to protect my voice.]


Yam Jei is the famous Cantonese opera singer Yam Tsim Fai.  One is a Cantonese opera singer, one is canto pop singer, different areas, how one would teach the other.  Credit has to be given to Ah Mui's costume and image director, Eddie Lau.  Eddies knows Yam Jei well, so Yam and Pak privately have taught Ah Mui their secret method of protecting their voice.

Ah Mui said:  [One day, Yam Jei chatted with her in the phone.  I was so afraid that I would  be too nervous, and if I lose my voice then it will be real trouble.  So Yam Jei told me I have to speak softly, as long as people can hear me it is good enough.  I should never scream or shout.  Yam Jei also told me to boil a pot of water, then breathe in the steam from the hot water.  I do it accordingly everyday.  After breathe in the warm steam, I really feel very good.]

Yam and Pak also told Ah Mui, in order not to lose voice, the best way is keep on talking, but has to talk softly.  This is more effective than not talking at all.

But the organizers, the one in charge of Yiu Wing and the one of CA, think differently.  Ah Mui never has had any rest during the period.  She has to do rehearsal during these  days.  She gets up early to practice singing, for 6 hours.  Then she has to rehearse dancing, for 4 hours.  During the rehearsal she can't sit, so everyday she has to stand there for more than 10 hours. The one in charge of CA is afraid that she will be too tired, so during the concert especially before the concert, Ah Mui is not allowed to talk.

After the first show, Ah Mui planned to go to supper with the staff working at backstage.  Permission was asked from the General Manager of CA, So Hoi Leung, but Mr. So didn't like Ah Mui to go.  All begged him for Ah Mui, Mr. So said: [Must send her home by 12:00 mid night.] Then Ah Mui was allowed to go.

I asked her if she went to sleep right after she arrived at home, Ah Mui shook her head and said: [After I returned home, I had to watch the video tape, studied what dancing pose was good.  Though the concert has already started, I cannot stop, have to continue to give a good show.  I am most pleased that audience have reaction.  I don't want to cheat their money, and let them have that feeling.]

One of the monologues during the show is selected by Anita Mui, and CA is not notified before hand.  It is like this: [I know among those who come to see me, some want to see me how I die, to see if I can stand 3 hours, for 15 shows... but I won't fail, won't let them see me fail.  Even I get sick, I will leave it to happen at home...]

I thought she was kidding, but Ah Mui said: [It is true that there are such people.  I am sure about it.  But I will keep on going with my whole energy, even if I will die, I will die at home after 15 shows.  Those who wish me to fail will definitely be disappointed.]

After a while Ah Mui continued: [But I am very touched, lots of people help me.  I was not frightened on stage, but I blame myself as some dancing steps were not correct.]

Ah Mui told me another small secret: [During the first night, when I was singing "Walk My Road All By Myself", I wept secretly, tears came down, I wiped them away immediately.  I believe not too many people saw that.]  She is a strong girl, but when she sang the sad part, she cried.  This means: artistes are human beings too.

Besides Yam/Pak taught her how to protect her voice, Mui Ma, her sister Ann and her amah, almost the whole family have to take care Ah Mui, cooking soup for her.  Mui Ma is expert in cooking soup will deer茸, and Ah Mui is week, she can't take nourishment, so all kinds of soup have to be steamed.  Ah Mui is forced to feed on those soups for 2 months.

As Eddie Lau said he told Ah Mui to do push-up.  Ah Mui said: [No, didn't do jogging regularly either, very difficult to keep it consistent.  But everyday I went to gym, no matter how busy I was, I went to do exercise, for 2 to 3 hours.  See my muscles, very firm?]

I touched her thigh, and pressed a few times, really very firm.

[Huh, really very firm lar.] Ah Mui said proudly.

During the concert, people already saw Ah Mui's firm legs .  But Eddie Lau once told me, during the concert, Ah Mui would display her legs, arms and etc, so to prove that the rumors about her "tattoos" were not true.  However, this time, people only saw her legs, her shoulders, but not her arms

So I told Eddie Lau: [You didn't give the right merchandise.]

Eddie replied: [I did give the right thing.  That purple low cut suit, with a long shawl.  The shawl originally had to be slipped low at the back, so the 2 shoulders would be shown, then it would keep on slipping.  But Anita pulled it back again.  My original idea was changed, I don't understand why, maybe she was too nervous.]

Ah Mui was really too nervous.  She showed me her shoulders, there were 2 red marks.  Her low cut suit happened to be too loose at the bust, when she moved her arms, it looked like she had a false bust.  So she used 2 fish lines to hook it up, it became a halter. And she kept on pulling her shawl, so her shoulders could not be seen.

Talking about the costumes, the white suit she wears at the last scene, under that it is a gown studded with 1,250 stones.  I feel that this costumes is the most beautiful among all, but I didn't know it brought lots of trouble to Ah Mui and Eddie.

This suit is 80lbs, also the crystal ornament Ah Mui wears at the her wrists, each weights more than 10 lbs. Then the ear rings, and the diamond ring, the total weight of all these is heavier than Ah Mui.

All these ornaments were ordered by Eddie from London.  Each one is very special, cost HK$40,000 and it took one and half month to manufacture them.  Just about 10 pieces of ornament, but weights more than 100 lbs.

Also, in order to prepare this design, every time before Ah Mui will be lifted up to the stage, Eddie has to spread the skirt properly.  When he finishes, the staff would shout [The lift already up there lar], Eddie has to jump off the lift quickly.  So during every jump, he will yell: [Sooner or later I will become limp because of Ah Mui.]

Therefore he told me: [After the show of Anita Mui, I will retire, I didn't make much.]

[CA would not let you go.] I said.

[My goodness.  I must leave, I have to sell clothes too.  Enough, Roman, Lisa Wang, Leslie Cheung, and Ah Mui, I have worked for their shows already.  That is enough.  In 1986, I have to start selling my own clothes.]

There is another news about this concert.  Lai Siu Ting said: [Originally it was not planned to invite guests for Ah Mui's show.  But I had "too many mouths", I told the company: "Invite some guests, every night different guests."  The company immediately agreed and said it was good idea, so I was responsible to look for guests.  Though Leslie Cheung, Jacky Cheung, Kenny B, Lui Fong, Danny Chan all agreed to come, all are busy persons.  Though said that they wwill come, might not show up.  So I have to look for guests in the last minute.]

But Lai said: [So Hoi Leung is a good pianist, can ask him to play. piano.]

He added: [Originally Sam Hui agreed that he will come, but he has just gone to the hospital, how his condition is, or if he can come, nobody really knows.  But all those guests are really bonus for the show.]

《明報週刊》第895期    1986年1月5日



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