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R.I.P. Anita Mui: the Chinese Madonna

MoFo

TRIBE Member
Anita Mui, 40: Singer called Chinese Madonna
Much-loved diva mourned by stars
Canadian resident during early '90s


MARY NERSESSIAN
STAFF REPORTER

Anita Mui, Hong Kong's favourite songstress and entertainer, died late yesterday, just four months after revealing she had cervical cancer.

The 40-year-old Cantopop singer and film actor was often called the Chinese Madonna because of frequent makeovers.

When she held a press conference in September to break the news about her deteriorating health, she told the media, "I am not a weak person ... I can tell you I have never had any fears and I will win this fight."

And in November, she proved her determination by performing a series of concerts.

But she did not win her battle. She died in the Hong Kong Sanitorium and Hospital at 2:50 a.m. local time due to lung complications, according to friends by her bedside.

Jackie Chan, who co-starred with her in Rumble in the Bronx and other films, appeared on television after her death saying, "She didn't belong to the entertainment industry. She belonged to all Hong Kong people."

She was better known in North America for movie roles alongside Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh.

Mui lived in Canada for two years in the early 1990s, but lost her status as a landed immigrant because she spent more than six months abroad, mostly in Hong Kong and Hawaii.

In 2002 she came to Toronto as part of her 20th anniversary world tour. Three-quarters of her tickets were sold within a month after they were released.

She first broke onto the music scene when she won first place at the First New Talent Singing Contest in 1982. In her first 11 years as a singer, more than 10 million copies of her albums were sold.

In 1987, she also won Taiwan's Golden Horse award for best actress for her role as a ghost in the film Rouge.

Her elder sister, Mui-Oi-fong, also died of cancer in 2000.

Hong Kong newspapers yesterday published special editions commemorating Mui. Apple Daily ran photos of Hong Kong stars streaming in to visit her before her death, including singers Andy Lau, Eason Chan, Nicholas Tse, Sammi Cheng and Bond girl Michelle Yeoh.

Mui, who was not married, was also known for her charity work. She established the Anita Mui Charity Foundation in the early 1990s.

Most recently, on Dec. 14, crowds gathered in Ngee Ann City to catch a glimpse of Mui at a fundraiser sale of her new book, The Heart of the Modern Woman, reported Today Online.

But she was too ill to show up.

Her book featured herself and fellow Hong Kong artists and friends discussing issues faced by modern women such as relationships and love.

Profits from the book went to the Children's Cancer Foundation.

Mui's death came eight months after the suicide of Hong Kong star Leslie Cheung, who rose to fame at the same time as Mui in the 1980s.

The two were reportedly close friends who would room together during overseas concert tours. Cheung also starred in Rouge.

Cantopop refers to hits sung in Cantonese, the dialect of Chinese that is widely spoken in Hong Kong and in many overseas Chinese communities.

Mui performed at Casino Niagara in July, 2002 and also in Toronto, part of her world tour celebrating 20 years as an entertainer. Her only previous concert in Toronto was in 1993.

Also known as the diva of Asia, Mui, who began singing in nightclubs at age 4, was often compared with Madonna, not only because their careers started at almost the same time but because they both constantly projected a new image.

Her gender-bending persona ranged from elegant aristocrat to charming sexpot and much of her concert budget was spent on costumes.

Mui recorded 39 albums in Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese, ranging from pop to Chinese opera.

With files from Canadian Press
 

MoFo

TRIBE Member
If anyone gets a chance, check out her movie Rouge, starring the late Leslie Cheung. It's one of my favourite films of all times about a deadcourtesan who comes back to the future to find her husband who is still alive.

She was one of my favourites. She ruled over Madonna when I was a kid and I still have an autographed picture from her that a family friend got her to sign for me at a party.

I also have some memorabilia. It's pretty sad because she's sort of the Chinese Madonna. Everyone over 25 should know her in my culture. She's pretty up there with many famous HK stars. She's a tough cookie and I hope she's at peace now. She's had a rough life.
 

Stan

TRIBE Member
:(

I can't believe she's dead. Anita Mui was awesome. Not only was she a great singer, she starred in a ton of classic movies like Legend of Drunken Master, The Enforcer, Rumble in the Bronx. This is a truly great loss to the asian community and the world in general. She will be missed. R.I.P.
 
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Eclectic

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Snapper
What character in Rumble? Was she the geeky chick in the glasses that helped run the store?
Yup.

And in Drunken Master she was the "mother"......
 
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