Monday, September 22, 2008

Anita Mui

Anita Mui Yim-fong was a popular Hong Kong singer and actress. During her prime years she made major contributions to the cantopop music scene, while receiving numerous awards and honours. She remained an idol throughout most of her career, and was generally regarded as a cantopop diva.

In the 1980s the gangtai style of music was revolutionized by her wild dancing and femininity on stage. She was famous for having outrageous costumes and also high powered performances. Despite her title as "new talent" at that time, she had already been a singer for more than 10 years from street and club performances during her childhood. Her debut drew a lukewarm response from the audience. But subsequent albums fared much better, as she developed her personal style and image. In 1983 and 1984, she would win the back to back.
Her streak would continue followed by another major award in 1985, with her first . For the next four years, she would win the award consecutively every year until 1989.

Throughout her career, Mui released 50 albums in total. Her best selling album was the 1985 "Bad Girl" , which sold over 400,000 copies . It should be noted that the population of Hong Kong in the 1980s was only about 5 million.

In terms of live performances, her first concert was held in 1985 lasting 15 nights. Beginning in late 1987, a series of 28 consecutive concerts at the Hong Kong Coliseum were held through early 1988. This established a world record at the time and dubbed Mui the title of "Ever Changing Anita Mui" , which had become her trademark. Her popularity was also gaining prominence outside of Hong Kong. As she was invited to sing at the 1988 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Seoul, Korea on the same stage with Janet Jackson. In entirety, she performed in 300 concerts in her career. Anita mentored several Hong Kong newcomer singers who have since become successful, most notably Andy Hui, Denise Ho, Edmond Leung and the band .


Mui was also well-known as an actress across the Asian region. As she starred in more than 40 movies over a 20 year period. Her films were mainly of the - and variety, but she had also taken comedic and dramatic roles. Her first acting award as a supporting actress was won at the Hong Kong Film Awards for the movie ''Fate'' in 1984. Three years later in 1987, the film '''' won her Best Actress at Golden Horse Award. Her ability to successfully play a wide range of roles from comedy to tragedy, has allowed her to take part in many lead roles.

Anita was originally cast for Zhang Yimou's 2004 movie ''House of Flying Daggers''. She resigned from her position in the movie only two weeks before her death. Zhang had held her parts of filming to the last due to her poor health condition. Out of respect for Anita, Zhang didn't replace her role with another actress. The screenplay was changed to take the storyline off the original character. She received a dedication during the closing credits. Her final symbolic act was to "marry the stage", which was accompanied by her classic hit "Sunset Melody" as she exited the stage for the final time. Her very last song performed on stage was "Cherish When We Meet Again" , a rendition of Manhattan's "Let's Just Kiss And Say Goodbye". Mui eventually lost her battle to cervical cancer and died of respiratory complications leading to a lung failure at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital on 30 December 2003 at 02:50 . Actress Alice Chan plays the role of Mui in the series.

Community work

Mui was actively involved in charitable projects throughout her career. The red-crown Shamar Rinpoche once said "She had a true heart. She was an unconventional woman and brought happiness to lots of people during her life."

During the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak, she initiated a fund raising concert titled the to raise money for SARS-affected families. In Causeway Bay, an Anita-mui themed cafe called "Happiness Moon" is also dedicated to her legacy.



Mui moved in Canada in the 1990s and was granted landed immigrant status. However, her constant absence from Canada resulted in her status being denied. She never gained Canadian citizenship.


In 1995 Mui performed the song "Bad Girl" in Guangzhou, where the song was banned at the time. It was considered wild and in nature. Government authorities were infuriated when she chose to sing the song on the last day of her concert.

Contested will

In 2008, the mother of Mui, Tam Mei-kam, aged 84, contested the will. Anita Mui's estate was estimated to be worth HK$100 million. Tam was a beneficiary under the will, to the sum of HK$70,000 per month, for life. Tam argued that Anita was mentally unfit when she executed her in 2003, weeks before her death from cancer. The ruled that Mui was of sound mind when she signed the will, and that Mui simply did not trust her mother on managing money.


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