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2008-01-06 Mei Yanfang
    2008-01-06 09:35:33     CRIENGLISH.com

Hello, and welcome to another edition of China Beat. This is Zhong Qiu.

In the withering winter of 2003, the Cantopop scene was mourning the loss of a talented singer and actress. Anita Mui, or Mei Yanfang, known as the "ever-changing" queen of Cantopop, Anita carved out a reputation as the "Madonna of Asia" as well as Hong Kong's answer to Greta Garbo.

Anita Mui, or Mei Yanfang, known as the "ever-changing" queen of Cantopop, Anita carved out a reputation as the "Madonna of Asia" as well as Hong Kong's answer to Greta Garbo. [Photo: sohu.com]

Rising to fame along with Leslie Cheung and Alan Tam during the 80s, the trio started an idol craze like never seen before in Canto- pop scene. Although female fans wanted to date Leslie, they also wanted to be like Anita and embraced her many personalities. To her fans, Anita was an outlet of female expression and she stood for something. Her followers looked up to and idolized her knowing they could also be whatever they wanted to be. When Anita died from lung failure due to cervical cancer on December 30, 2003 at the early age of 40, the people of Hong Kong felt they had lost their "daughter", who they knew as a brave warrior. So on today's China Beat, we pay tribute to this legendary woman of musical talents and flowering personalities.


Anita spent thirty five years of her life in showbiz. At the tender age of five, Anita started her show business career by performing Chinese opera and pop songs with her sister at nightclubs and restaurants. She took on everything from being the master of ceremonies, a drummer, and then a singer. By the time she won a New Talent Singing Contest at the age of 18, Anita already had 13 years of stage experience. With charisma, poise and an easygoing manner, none of the other competitors could emulate her. After defeating over three thousand other contestants to win the contest, Anita signed with the Capital Artists record label and subsequently released her debut hit "Homecoming".

Anita Mui, or Mei Yanfang, known as the "ever-changing" queen of Cantopop, Anita carved out a reputation as the "Madonna of Asia" as well as Hong Kong's answer to Greta Garbo. [Photo: cctv.com]


It was said that composer and lyricist, Joseph Koo and James Wong worried about the young starlet's ability to perform a song that required so much deep emotion. After the first recording though, Koo and Wong knew she was a perfect fit for the song. Koo, a judge for the New Talent Singing Contest, reportedly scored 99 points for Anita, the highest mark he ever gave. Nearly 30 years after they first met, Anita performed at a Joseph Koo concert and sang "Homecoming". The effortless emotion that radiated from her was a tribute to her love at doing what she enjoyed most, entertaining

(How the Years Went By)

Yet, it wasn't until her signature hit, "How the Years Went By" when audiences and insiders took notice and fully embraced this rising star.

(How the Years Went By)

(Bad Girl)
Anita rocketed to superstardom when she released "Bad Girl" in 1985 which launched her career into the stratosphere as it went platinum eight times. That put her at the pinnacle of her career and made her the "Big Sis" of the East Asian entertainment scene from then on.


Anita's greatest onscreen achievement was perhaps her unforgettable performance as a tortured ghost in Rouge. Co-starring Leslie Cheung, it earned her the prestigious Taiwan Golden Horse Award in 1987. The song you are listening to is the theme song from that classic movie, Rouge.


From 1985 to 1990, Anita enjoyed her golden days as a singer. She attracted everybody with her singing and dancing. Not many singers could dance as she did. Her dancing became a trademark of hers and a standard for all live performers. She swept the Best Female artist awards, headlined sold-out concerts and was the best-selling singer of her era. She held a record-breaking show, titled "Ever-changing Anita - Showing all her Glamour", which lasted 28 consecutive nights. From then on, "Ever-changing" became another trademark of hers and established her as a pop queen. In total Anita released more than 30 albums, won over 80 music awards, held over 300 concerts and sold over 10 million albums.
The price Anita had to pay for fame though was enormous. It's been said that Anita's poignant acting and singing ability came from the personal sufferings she's endured in her youth. Anita always had her heartbroken by falling in love with the wrong man. Up to end of her life, this legend was married though to the one and only constant companion who gave her what no else could. Anita was married to the stage.

(Intimate Lover)

The song you are listening to is called Intimate Lover by Anita Mui. The lyrics go like this: against the breeze, the feeling of missing you is so subtle. How sweet the time was when I was with you. I miss you so much that I have you in my dreams every day. Maybe those emotional lyrics reflected Anita's delicate feeling for love.

(Intimate Lover)

Despite her success, Anita was not jaded by her stardom. She once said, "Many people asked me which I would prefer to be: a happy ordinary person or an eminent star. If I could, I would choose to be a happy ordinary person." As much as she wanted to live a normal life, Anita knew she was responsible for the lives of too many people and couldn't pull herself away. Even with her superstar status, Anita was always ready to lend a helping hand to her mother and friends. This was evidenced by the hundreds of close friends that stood by her during her illness and attended her funeral. Anita once gave a dear friend a blank check to treat his mother's illness. Anita also took numerous apprentices under her wing. From Andy Hui, Edmond Leung and the Grasshoppers to Denise Ho, she never ceased to give back to what made her famous and was always eager to contribute to the growth and success of Cantonese pop. With Anita, everyone deserved a chance. As the "big sister", Anita often put the needs of other before those of her own. She felt a strong commitment to the younger generation, her fans and the public.

(Woman Flower)

Anita Mui passed away on December 30, 2003, from the cervical cancer she had reportedly been battling since 2001. She passed away peacefully and beautifully. Anita once said: "Instant shining is not eternity. Show business is a hard life. I wonder how many people will remember me after I leave the business for good. My hope is that when they feel bored and look at the stars in the sky, people will think of my name." To complete our tribute to this gutsy lady, here is her songŮ˻, literally meaning Woman Flower. For thousands of her fans, the name of Anita Mui will always like a fragrant flower that will never to fade. This is Zhong Qiu from Beijing. Bye for now.



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