HomeBusinessHong Kong crowds 20 years since Leslie Cheung's dying

Hong Kong crowds 20 years since Leslie Cheung’s dying

Followers of late Canto-pop icon Leslie Cheung, one of many first singers to come back out as homosexual in Hong Kong, flocked to town this week to commemorate their idol’s dying 20 years in the past — revisiting his legacy of pioneering work made throughout a socially conservative time.

Cheung, who was 46 when he died, was a famous person recognized for his singing, dancing and appearing in the course of the heyday of Hong Kong’s leisure business within the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s. His supporters, who span throughout Asia, fondly remembered his norm-breaking works and known as him “forward of time.”

The twentieth anniversary of Cheung’s dying on Saturday drew crowds of each native followers and supporters from mainland China to go to exhibitions about him in Hong Kong. Even the federal government included concert events and movie screenings about him within the metropolis’s first popular culture pageant, which is slated to formally kick off in three weeks.

Outdoors of the official reveals, a gentle stream of followers visited the Mandarin Oriental Lodge, the place Cheung had killed himself. The slender strip of pavement subsequent to the lodge was fully coated by a sea of flowers, playing cards, origami and posters.

The native reminiscences of Cheung show the late superstar stays a preferred icon throughout generations of Hong Kongers and displays the need for reviving town’s cultural affect, stated Anthony Fung, professor of the college of journalism and communication on the Chinese language College of Hong Kong.

“After so a few years, we hardly discover any new icons, new superstars who might attain that stage of significance,” he stated.

Cheung, who was affectionately often known as Gor Gor — “large brother” in Cantonese — produced many hits that even non-Cantonese talking music lovers in different components of Asia might sing alongside to. These embody “Monica,” “Sleepless Nights Stressed Coronary heart” and “Chase.” He additionally starred in basic movies together with John Woo’s “A Higher Tomorrow,” Wong Kar-wai’s “Pleased Collectively,” Stanley Kwan’s “Rouge” and Chen Kaige’s “Farewell My Concubine.”

However behind all of his success, Cheung suffered from melancholy. He jumped to his dying from the Mandarin Oriental Lodge in central Hong Kong on April 1 in 2003, sending shockwaves throughout town. His dying got here as his hometown was battling the SARS epidemic, which finally killed tons of and crippled the native economic system.

“We actually miss him. His songs and movies take us again to the fantastic time of Hong Kong which isn’t the identical as these days. We’ll miss it,” stated Justin Cho, a fan from town who got here along with his buddy to put flowers on the lodge in honor of the actor.

Hong Kong fan Connie Leung, a retiree now in her 60s, recalled her disbelief when she first heard in regards to the information of his dying from a former colleague. “I stated ‘don’t make such a joke on April Fools’ Day’,” she stated.

She stated Cheung’s songs by no means turned outdated and his trend tastes, together with his iconic lengthy hair, have been fashionable — even by at the moment’s requirements.

Chris Choi, Cheung’s live performance choreographer within the 2000s, stated the late famous person broke by means of many gender boundaries by introducing “unisex” concepts, a few of which have been dangerous on the time. Amongst his stage costumes, for instance, have been seashell culottes and crimson excessive heels.

“It informed individuals artwork has no boundaries,” he stated.

Cheung additionally broke by means of town’s cultural established order by boldly revealing his homosexual relationship in a conservative native society at the moment— a choice that would have ruined his profession however has earned him a variety of respect from the homosexual group, Fung stated. The breakthrough was in regards to the plurality of tradition that he celebrated, he stated.

“He really crossed by means of the boundary, make a noise and affect on the tradition of Hong Kong,” Fung stated.

Cheung’s work not solely impressed older generations of followers but additionally those that have been simply toddlers when he died.

College scholar Justin Jiang stated he was solely 3 years outdated when Cheung died, however he later turned a fan in highschool after studying extra about Cheung’s persona and charisma from his legacy of works. This week, the 22-year-old, who lives in neighboring Guangzhou, visited Hong Kong with a buddy to pay tribute to his idol.

He praised Cheung’s boldness in expressing his views and breaking by means of a society strongly influenced by gender stereotypes years in the past.

“Gor Gor could be very brave and that is price studying for us,” he stated.


Related Press video journalist Alice Fung contributed to this report.

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