Mui - Magazine



Mingpao Weekly 1700  June 9, 2001

Anita Mui complained that I showed favoritism towards Leslie Cheung

by Florence Chan

We always wanted to develop overseas market for our artists, besides Hong Kong, so to bring their career to another peak, and to recruit more overseas fans, hoping to bring HK entertain culture to Chinese audience all over the world, to bring them happiness and soothing their 

In the 80s, TV soap operas of Hong Kong started to be welcomed  by overseas audience.  Many artists went to have shows in Singapore, Malaysia and many other places.  The venues for performance were usually comparatively small, mostly in night clubs, so production was usually quite simple, most of the shows would only use tape for music or local bands.  Besides the South East Asia market, I also tried to open up markets for our artists to Europe, America, Canada, Australia and etc.

At that time, as there wasn't too many chance to perform overseas, so every time when the bands or dancers heard that there would be overseas performance, they all enthusiastically applied for it, that included all people (singers, bands, working stall and etc.), they would not care about the salary, only hoping they had a chance for overseas traveling.. It was entirely different from now.  As of today, almost all bands or dancers and staff working at backstage have traveled over half of the world already, working overseas is not a fresh idea for them anymore.  If not too many shows, they would even refuse to go or they would make  many requests.  Comparing with those old days, really a tremendous difference.

A pair of "fighting lovers"

In those days, the markets for Chinese were not too big.  Most of the audience were working in restaurants,  they could only come after work, so the show  mostly had to start after 11:30 p.m.  At that time our production was already considered as on bigger scale, as we would bring our own bands, technicians for stage lighting, acoustic and etc. But singers had to be responsible for their own hair setting and make-up .

At the very beginning, we had arranged Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui to have overseas performance together.  They were a pair of "fighting lovers".  But whenever there were expected things happened suddenly, they would help each other to overcome the problems.  Once when they were performing in a theatre in England, the set-up time was very short, the acoustics at the venue was very poor too.  Leslie Cheung always demanded very high standard, and he had his rehearsal first, but he could not accept all these, so he put down his microphone and returned to backstage without saying anything.  After Ah Mui finished rehearsal, we went backstage together to coax Leslie , Ah Mui told him: [Acoustics have just been adjusted, now not too bad, can be accepted.]  Under the persuasion of all, he finally agreed to continue rehearsal and to perform that night.

Another time, they went to perform in a night club in Malaysia, some audience were drunk and made a lot of noises.  They also wanted to sing in duet with Ah Mui on stage.  Leslie immediately went to help her and helped her to finish the performance of that night.  They 2 could be regarded as the best partners.

About 10 years ago, we went to Australia, and that was our happiest trip.  This was the first time that Chinese singers could perform at Sydney Entertainment Centre (Now many HK artists sing perform at that venue).  That place looks like HK Coliseum, and can hold an audience of 15,000 people.  In the past only American singers (of considerable popularity) could perform there, even local (Australian) signers, not too many held performance there.  Since not too much opportunity to go to Australia, so many applied to go, regardless of salary, only hoping to take part, just like joining a free tour.  Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui were the leading singers, other singers included Lui Fong, Grasshoppers, Law Ming Chu.  Lai Siu Tin was responsible for the backstage, Lai Hok Bun was the leader of the band and other working staff, Chan Chi Keung was the guest of backstage (just went to have fun, joined the crowd)....and etc.  We were arranged to stay in the Regent Hotel in Sydney.  Besides performing and rehearsal, everyday we went everywhere for  sightseeing, dining trying the local delicacy.  Everyone  was so happy and all tried their best to enjoy the food and having fun during their free time. 

Once when we went to perform in France, Ah Mui and other working staff were playing hide-and-seek in the garden of the hotel, she suddenly disappeared.  We all thought she returned to her room, so all stopped playing.  But we could not find her in her room, so we went back to the garden to look for her.  Aiya, she suddenly felt sick, fainted among grasses, fortunately we went to look for her and discovered her there.

Restaurants used the opportunity

When we performing in Europe, many organizers would arrange our whole group to dine in the restaurants of some sponsors.  Those restaurant owners would use this opportunity to tell the media beforehand  what day and what time those artists would appear (some even worse mentioning that there  would be performance), they tried to attract guests.  After the artists appeared, they would use all sorts of excuses to ask the artists to sing on stage.  We had such experience in France.  They hoped our singers to accept their souvenir on stage.  We insisted to accept it off the stage.  But they insisted and started to play the music.  Fortunately we were well prepared, once the music started, Lai Siu Tin would go onto the stage, and conducting the band to stop (very funny way), also he would gladly accept the souvenirs on behalf of the singers.  At the same time, our singers already retreated to the entrance of the restaurant, and waved to show gratitude and left immediately. Though most of the time the organizers had to promise to keep our requested condition before we went to eat in those places, but this often happened in Europe and America, because to have shows in those countries, the organizers relied a lot on sponsors.

Actually to arrange a whole group to Europe, only the plane tickets  and hotels were already very expensive.  The venue normally could not hold too many audience, and the tickets could not be sold too high either.

Ah Mui liked to fight for righteousness

I remember during that European trip, the organizer tried for the first time, in order to reduce the cost, and I wished to take care of artists easier, (take as an example, in HK, artists stay in Regent Hotel, the rest of the staff stay at the one next to it, New World Harbor Hotel), after arrival, Ah Mui's habit of fighting for righteousness showed again, she insisted staying in the same hotel with all staff.  The hotel rooms had been paid already, because of her, the organizer spent more instead of saving more.  Also it was agreed by me before hand, and  my intention was for the better benefit of the artists.  When the whole thing could not be justified, Ah Mui felt unhappy with me and gave me trouble for everything after that.  So I had to ask  David to take care of her temporarily, and I took care of Leslie Cheung alone, just to avoid further conflict.  After we returned Hong Kong, I heard Ah Mui complained that I showed favoritism towards Leslie, and neglected her.  Actually I loved  them both.    But, I had to admit that I failed this time, in order to consider the whole situation, I could not make everyone happy.  Ah Mui of today is more mature, and also as a manager of 2 singers (Denise Ho and Samuel Pang), she will understand my way of handling things at that time.

Two groups of Tai Gor fight

Another time when Leslie Cheung had his performance in the States, it was said two groups of Tai Gor (triads) were fighting, we almost got dragged into trouble.  The local organizer was very warm at first, but after our arrival, he only appeared for 2 or 3 times.  The reason was that he was afraid people would come to look for him for trouble, and in order not to frighten us, he tried not to contact us.  During the performance, we sat with him to watch the show.  Who knows, after we arrived at Canada, we were told, during the day of the show, the organizer was afraid that his opponent would come to make trouble (actually he got news about that), so there were people on guard outside and inside the theatre, also many weapons were placed inside the theatre.  They never mentioned this to us beforehand, because they were afraid that we would all run away if we knew.  Really can't imagine how Leslie Cheung would sing among  bullets, guess such scenes would only appear in films?!

《明報周刊》    第1700期    2001年6月9日









  十多年前有次去澳洲是最好玩的,該次是華人歌手第一次能踏足Sydney Entertainment Centre的舞台上做演唱會(現在很多香港藝人仍然在這場地演出),這個場地有點像香港的紅館,能容納一萬人左右,以往只有美國的歌星能有這份量在這媯n台,就算本土(澳洲)歌手亦少之又少。因為很少有機會往澳洲登台,故此很多人報名,不計較酬勞,只求能一起參與,好像參加免費旅行團般。該次演出是由張國榮及梅艷芳擔大旗,其他演出嘉賓還有呂方、草蜢、羅明珠,負責幕後的黎小田、黎學斌領導的大樂隊及其他工作人員,更有幕後嘉賓陳自強(只是去玩,大家湊熱鬧而已)......等。當地主辦商安排我們入住悉尼的麗晶酒店,除演出及綵排外,每天都到各名勝地點觀光遊覽,品嘗當地美食,大家都能在公餘時間盡情喫喝玩樂,很是開心。