[FEATURE] Ten Years Later: A Leslie Cheung Introspective

By on March 28, 2013 in NEWS

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Note: To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Leslie Cheung’s passing, this is the first of two feature articles written by JayneStars’ Contributing Writer, dd, to celebrate the great music and film legend.

In the entertainment business, your star shines the brightest when you are in the spotlight, and eventually extinguishes when you are out of it. Many actors come and go; they fade out of our memories because they did not leave any significant impact on the industry. If this is the case, why is Leslie Cheung (張國榮)–affectionately known as Gor Gor by those who respected and adored him–still on our minds ten years later? What makes him so special that sets him apart from the rest? What qualities do you need to have so that your memory is able to remain in people’s hearts even after you are no longer there?

The answer is simple. You need to be great. You need to have made such an impact that through everyone’s eyes you are an exemplary personification of your craft.

The term used to describe such people are called “idols”. Idols are those who can do things normal people are incapable of. They excel in this particular skill that separates them from the rest which in turn makes them the object of our respect and awe. Being a superstar or an idol requires many things: luck, natural-born talent, and the innate drive to reach for the stars. What made Leslie so great was that he was able to do it all.

Early Life

Born the youngest in a family of ten, Leslie oftentimes found himself alone. His family was not broken, but it was troubled. His father frequently met with mistresses and would come home drunk. Both parents worked and the rest of his siblings were older than him so Leslie found solace in the family’s maid, named “Sixth Sister”, who was closer to him than any of his family. With no guidance from his siblings or parents, Leslie’s grades began to drop. However, he showed an affinity with music, always participating in school music festivals as well as being naturally gifted in English, winning prizes for his play recitals. Sensing his enthusiasm towards English, his parents suggested that he study abroad in England.

“After saying my goodbyes to my family, I turned around, walked away and never looked back. No lingering feelings compelled me to stay.”

There Leslie attended the Eccles Hall School where he achieved sufficient grades to be granted a scholarship to the University of Leeds, majoring in textile design–as his father wanted him to take over the family business–and minoring in English. Unfortunately, his studies were cut short and he was summoned back to Hong Kong due to his father falling ill.

Leslie the Actor

My first taste of Leslie Cheung on the big screen was 1992’s All’s Well Ends Well <家有囍事>, which by the way, Raymond Wong’s (黃百鳴) new hobby seems to be resurrecting his old movies and beating them dead with a stick. Of course, this star-studded Chinese New Year cash-in is not representative of what Leslie was really capable of. I would be lying if I said that I did not enjoy the 180-degree personality change in the film that only Leslie could pull off so convincingly. And that only scratches the surface. Over the next few years, I watched several hundred films, many of which were part of Hong Kong cinema’s golden age and I noticed that Leslie was indeed at the forefront of many of these movies. This was no coincidence; the directors definitely knew what a commodity Leslie was. Charismatic and handsome almost to a fault, Leslie was often typecast as the young romantic lead, as either the naïve target of lustful females, or the heart breaker twirling the female subject of his affection around his fingertips.

With his movie and television career beginning in the late 70s/early 80s, Leslie’s debut on the big screen coincided with the “Hong Kong New Wave”. It was at this time where directors used new and ground-breaking film techniques to show audiences around the world the real Hong Kong. Unbridled action, guns with unlimited ammo, triads, neon-signs penetrating the smoky darkness of the Hong Kong night skies with their artificial glow. Yet, on the counter side, there were also films of humble and hard-working families living together under small roofs, relations between families, working life, marriage and other socioeconomic issues were explored – everything was on tap.  The number of films released by the industry was at an all-time high; production costs were low and many unforgettable classics such as Peking Opera Blues <刀馬旦>, Police Story <警察故事> and God of Gamblers < 赌神> were put on the screen ready to be consumed by the entertainment-starved public.

There was a need for talented actors with wide acting range to bring onscreen characters to life, and oh boy did Leslie Cheung do just that. Beginning his career in the softcore film, Erotic Dreams of the Red Chamber <紅樓夢>, Leslie cultivated his acting in TV series and several films until his big break in the instantly-recognizable 1986 film A Better Tomorrow <英雄本色>, where he portrayed the conflicted policeman younger brother of the crook protagonist. The following year, he starred in A Chinese Ghost Story <倩女幽魂> as a young tax collector falling for a ghost, and also in the same year reprised his role in A Better Tomorrow II <英雄本色 II>, in which he was nominated for Hong Film Awards Best Actor. In 1988, he played the love interest opposite Anita Mui (梅艷芳) in Rouge <胭脂扣> with whom he would collaborate with many times over the next fifteen years.

Kit’s death – A Better Tomorrow II

In 1990, Leslie was able to show the culmination of his acting prowess in Wong Kar Wai’s (王家衛) Days of Being Wild <阿飛正傳>. In this film, he plays Yuddy, a slick womanizer who was well aware of his good looks and lady-killer personality. Watching Yuddy mesmerize both Maggie Cheung (張曼玉) and Carina Lau’s (劉嘉玲) characters was like watching a master craftsman at work. He starts with a block of marble and starts chiselling away and you have no idea what he is trying to do, nor are you convinced that making anything with hand tools is plausible at all – why not just use a machine? But slowly, the work takes form and in the end what stands before you is a masterpiece. And you still do not know what just happened despite watching the entire process from the beginning.

One Minute Friends

The Earring Pair

Keeping busy, Leslie starred in The Bride with White Hair <白髮魔女傳> and its sequel along with other films until his next big movies, Farewell my Concubine <霸王别姬> and Ashes of Time <東邪西毒>. The following years, he would dip in and out of movies to juggle a music career where he both composed and performed. He went on to star in the Chinese production Temptress Moon <風月> and in Category III film, Viva Erotica <色情男女> where he played a director trying to create a smut film with a ragtag bunch of actors who ended up needing a bit of his vision. His next few significant films were Happy Together <春光乍洩>, directed by Wong Kar Wai and co-starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai (梁朝偉), to whom Leslie would lose the Best Actor award to. Films that followed were Moonlight Express <星月童話>, Double Tap <槍王> and his final film Inner Senses <異度空間> where he plays a psychiatrist tortured by the memory of his past girlfriend.

Real Emotion

As a movie buff who has tried to watch as many Hong Kong movies as possible, I have come to notice what makes good acting and what does not. For example, a pretty face does not mean jack if you cannot emote properly because in the end, it is how you use it in order to communicate emotions (sorry Ekin Cheng 鄭伊健 and his fans). It is the eyes. If you are a really good actor, you do not need to speak; people can tell how you are feeling and what kind of person you are just by looking at your eyes. Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Leslie are both great at emoting with just their eyes. It really brings the point home when you watch Ashes of Time when Wong Kar Wai overuses the close-up shot to great effect.

I was also very impressed by Leslie’s acting range. Throughout the years, Leslie has portrayed every major archetype as the handsome playboy in Merry Christmas, Rouge, and Days of Being Wild, the hero in Moonlight Express, the quiet and brooding psychopath in Double Tap, the haunted psychiatrist in Inner Senses, as well as comedic roles such as in Alls Well Ends Well. He truly understood human emotions well and embodied the characters by drawing from this knowledge and utilized body language to do so. It haunts me to this day how well Leslie portrayed Yuddy as a cocky and confident jerk, while making him seem human and vulnerable at the same time.

Leslie in “Merry Christmas”

Leslie the Singer

There was a time in my life before mobile phones acted as proxy alarm clocks and I did not have Katy Perry’s “Call Me, Maybe” wake me up every morning to start my day. No, it was Leslie Cheung’s dulcet voice, unwelcoming as it was at the time when it woke me up from deep sleep leading me to think, “Oh, yay, a school day.”

It all began when he returned to Hong Kong at the beckoning of his father. His friends decided to participate in a singing contest and invited Leslie to tag along. He ended up as a runner-up by performing a rendition of “American Pie” which caught the eye of a record producer. Leslie was immediately signed.

“I didn’t actually know how to sing. I was just blowing into a mic at that time”

Leslie’s first few years in the music industry were tough. Critics everywhere panned him, blasting him for his “chicken voice” (pre-pubescent with no range) and saying that he was pretty average. He was even booed off the stage once! It was only after collaborating with composer and mentor Michael Lai was he able to utilize his full vocal range.

In the early 1980s, similar to the film industry having a makeover with the emergence of “New Wave” cinema, Cantopop also experienced a similar restructuring. Cantopop at that time was defined as having a fast beat, consisting of high energy and exciting choreography. Cool came in the form of young and handsome singers wearing jeans and sporting sunglasses while back-up dancers danced to the tune of a synthesized beat. After Leslie’s first hit Monica”, many other hits followed earning him the recognition and popularity as one of Hong Kong’s leading fathers of Cantopop. Every song he brought out would earn him a place in RTHK and TVB’s Top Ten awards. Ballads, Cantopop, Cantorock, songs in Mandarin, interpretation of songs sung by females adapted into his smooth voice and duets with Anita Mui, there was nothing he could not do.

Leslie the Person

 “My motto is to bring the best out of myself every time. I don’t want to feel like I need to be better than ‘this’ person, and I don’t want others to feel that they need to be better than me.  I just know that I need to give it my best.”

Leslie was a person who cared too much. He cared about how others saw him; he cared about his family; he cared about his co-stars and he cared about his fans. It was Joey Wong (王祖賢) who came up with the name of “Gor Gor”, as she followed him around because he looked after her and gave her pointers on the set of A Chinese Ghost Story. In an interview, when asked what he cared about the most, Leslie answered: “family”. No, what he really meant was “love”. The relations he had built up were very important for him as they decided his own fate, especially his relationship with Anita Mui with whom he treated as a little sister. It was in fact a conscientious choice that he and Anita decided to leave the music industry together in 1989. While he cared for others deeply, others also cared for him. When Leslie passed, Anita stayed home crying all day while watching the memorial shows airing on TV.

There was always a certain air of confidence that Leslie held whenever he appeared on television. His smart quips accompanying his cheeky smile often threw flustered hosts. He knew what attracted women, and he also knew what made men either respect him or brim with jealousy. And he knew he was handsome as hell. During his later years, whether he was wearing a flashy tuxedo, a skin-tight shirt or a dress complete with women’s shoes and wig, he carried himself the only way he knew: with style and flair.

The 24th Floor of the Mandarin Oriental

Over the years, the police and reporters have pieced together what occurred on April 1, 2003 through call logs and witness accounts. However, there was only one person that fateful night who knew what was going on inside of Leslie Cheung’s head, and that person rented his usual luxury suite in the Mandarin Oriental. There, he thought long and hard about his life while looking off into the Hong Kong cityscape from the terrace, phone in one hand and a glass of liquor in the other which he would set down from time to time. If he planned to die that day, that notion was not conceived that morning. No, Leslie had met with a friend for lunch that afternoon to talk about work and also made plans to play badminton with his partner, Daffy Tong (唐鶴德).

Leslie’s manager, Florence Chan (陳淑芬),  had been in contact with him the entire night. Her last message to him was that she wanted to meet him. She was already at the hotel’s ground floor café. Leslie’s final response was that he would meet her there. Moments later Leslie would jump from the 24th floor balcony of the Mandarin Oriental. This was at 6:41 PM. He was rushed to the Queen Mary Hospital and pronounced dead at 7:06 PM. Leslie left behind a note he had penned earlier.

The Note

“Depression! Many thanks to all my friends. Many thanks to Professor Felice Lieh Mak [Cheung’s last psychiatrist]. This year has been so tough. I can’t stand it anymore. Many thanks to Mr. Tong. Many thanks to my family. Many thanks to Sister Fei. In my life, I did nothing bad. Why does it have to be like this?”

Whatever was the cause of this depression, Leslie was able to mask it well. Though his friends reported that he was surely different towards the last few months of his life, he kept looking forward to new movie roles and composing songs for a new album.

Although he had work lined up, the last few years of his life saw Leslie’s movie roles lessen. His presence ebbed slowly, and surely dwindled from the public eye. His manager, Florence Chan, revealed during an interview in 2004 that Leslie would stay at home and did not want the public to see him in that state. All that I can say is he cared for his fans more than for himself and however much Leslie suffered, he suffered alone so it would not affect the people who cared for him.

The Hong Kong media is not known to be a merciful one. Speculation was rife. Some say he was assassinated. Others reckoned he was suffering from an undisclosed illness and just wanted to end it all. Perhaps his perception of how his fans viewed him because of his sexuality began to wear on him.  Some thought that he realized he was getting old which was something that he did not want, so he wanted leave while he was still beautiful.

The Year That Was 2003

There is a saying that goes: “When it rains, it pours”, and 2003 was one year that both Hong Kong and the film industry would like to forget ever happened.  SARS, signs of a declining film industry after the boost it enjoyed from Infernal Affairs <無間道>, the unemployment rate reaching an all-time high, and the untimely deaths of Leslie Cheung, Anita Mui and Blackie Ko (柯受良) all contributed to a horrid year. It makes me almost angry that year after year at the conclusion of the memorials for Leslie, everyone immediately remembers that Anita Mui’s passing is next on the schedule. This dark cloud that loomed over Hong Kong really made us appreciate what we had while remembering that life really is fleeting. Self-preservation, taking care of ourselves and others while living on and doing what we needed to do before we lose the chance to do them were the things that really mattered the most.

Legacy

There are not many people who can perform as Leslie. People who try to both sing and dance usually become mediocre at both. No, people like Leslie Cheung are a dying breed as his contemporaries who were able to do both are still in the top billing positions in movies and are still performing concerts 25 years after first becoming famous. As I look out the window and see Aaron Kwok’s (郭富城) ridiculously photoshopped face plastered on an oversized poster hanging on the side of a building in Causeway Bay, and news that Andy Lau (劉德華) is taking the male lead of a Mission Impossible-inspired (read: rip-off) movie, I realize that what Leslie achieved is something that cannot be replicated by the actors or singers of today. And this is what endeared him to fans all over the world.

Ten years later, we are still thinking about Leslie. We are watching his movies on DVD and we are cleaning the VCDs with toothpaste to take out the scratches. TVB and ATV as well as the high-definition digital channels will be playing tribute programs all week. Two million cranes will be the centerpiece of a memorial in Causeway Bay on April 1. A concert will be held by Florence Chan and many of Leslie’s closest friends with his final message to be relayed to everyone who cared about him. No on is mourning him, rather, it is a celebration of his life and his achievements.

But what of his legacy?

Leslie will go down as a pioneer. He will be someone who had inspired, and will inspire many people in the future. People will look back and watch him if they want to learn what made Hong Kong cinema. People who want to become actors will study him meticulously as he is as skilled and as charismatic an actor can get.

Was he just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time? Was Leslie Cheung merely lucky to be part of Cantopop’s golden age and the Hong Kong film industry’s “New Wave”? No, on the contrary; Cantopop’s golden age and the “Hong Kong New Wave” were lucky to have Leslie Cheung.

And so are we all.

References

I am Leslie TVB Special

Leslie Cheung fanclub of China (http://www.lesliecheung.com.cn/archive/intro/view-58.html)

TIME Magazine (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,440214-3,00.html)

Baidu (http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1404121843)

Timeout HK (http://www.timeout.com.hk/big-smog/features/41585/hong-kong-history-leslie-cheung-2003.html#panel-5)

People’s Daily Online (http://lady.people.com.cn/n/2013/0318/c1014-20820469.html)

This original feature article is written by dd, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com.

68 comments to [FEATURE] Ten Years Later: A Leslie Cheung Introspective

  1. M1RACLE says:

    Hi dd,

    I really liked your article – such a close reading on Leslie Cheung. I love your style of writing as well 🙂

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    • dd replied:

      Thanks, it was my first time writing something like this.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        WOW, great job dd!! I was so touched reading this and have read some stuff in some of Leslie’s book after his passing…YOu did a great job! I really miss Leslie so much!!

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    • hcfoo replied:

      Agree. Thanks for this beautifully written article.

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    • dd replied:

      Thanks for the support everyone.

      Be sure to check back on the first for jaynestars.com’s on-site coverage of the Causeway Bay tribute.

      That’s if I can get a good spot.
      Oh god I’ll probably have to get there early.
      And it better not be raining like it is today.
      That would suck.
      So hard.

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      • kev replied:

        Gud Job!

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Remember to tell us all about it dd!!! You are so lucky to get to go to his memorial concert. I hope they will release a DVD for it…

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    • Ling replied:

      Well Done , dd

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    • Cleo replied:

      Yes, this was a great summing up. As for what I liked about Leslie – I would have to say that he was given the opportunity to play some good characters with great lines in Wong Kar Wai films in the same way that so many TVB character actors and Richie Ren have improved their images by being allowed to perform in To Kei Fung movies nowadays. I kind of just ignored Leslie’s charisma otherwise but his movies (not that Ghost Story one) where he gets to be Cantonese and very sarcastic are very likable.

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  2. Profile photo of jayne jayne says:

    I was touched by Leslie’s quotes throughout the article. Through his films, an era was defined in Hong Kong cinema. And he brought freshness to Cantopop with his dance songs and performance energy.

    Leslie is the Elvis of Hong Kong, and well loved for good reason. I watched many of his films and the one that made me cry was “Farewell My Concubine”.

    dd, many thanks for sharing this well-thought tribute on Leslie!

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    • dd replied:

      My pleasure Jayne.

      I asked a friend to go with me to Central and Causeway Bay on Monday but she flaked out on me.

      Yeah, my hit-rate for this kind of thing is low. I remember asking a girl out to watch “Vulgaria” with me. But hey, thank god she wasn’t able to go, that would have been extremely uncomfortable for the both of us.

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      • Karen replied:

        You’re funny! You should write about such moments! In a blog perhaps.

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      • dd replied:

        I’ll release snippets here and there in the comments section of this site =D

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      I actually never saw “Farewell MY concubine” but have heard a lot about it. Was it truly that good?? It seems like it was one of his best movies. I just rewatched one of his few ancient TVB series “The Fallen Family” recently and he was really handsome in there. He should have made more ancient series. But too bad that series was sooo sad and he died in there as well. It is much sadder now knowing that he is now gone in real life as well….

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Personally, never liked Chen Kaige’s movies. The movie was beautiful to look at but seriously, Leslie overacted. The entire movie was.. not my cup of tea. I am more of a Zhang Yimou fan.

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      • Cleo replied:

        That movie is all about that little boy who played Leslie’s character as a child. When he is raped all night by that Hanjian and then thrown out in the morning EXACTLY like the little boys in occupied cities “occupied” by the Japanese invaders. I was struck by the scene when Leslie loses his temper and beats the walls. His character never got over what was done to him.

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      • dd replied:

        It’s a good watch if you’re into Peking Opera and you don’t mind a little “Red”-sentiment along the way.

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      • dd replied:

        It’s also 3 hours long so don’t bother doing anything else for the rest of the night, haha

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Thanks so do you guys recommend the movie or not??? I am still deciding whether to see it or not.

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    • tung-lei replied:

      Oh, it has always been my view that Leslie was the HKG Elvis. The way he sang, moved and his smiles was very much Elvis.
      Good to know that I am not alone in this.
      Thx for this concise article summing up the Leslie Gor Gor legend.

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  3. verdict says:

    a lovely tribute

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  4. Karen says:

    Beautiful piece!

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  5. Tess says:

    Leslie is a very special artist. He’s a class of his own and I hope he has finally found some peace.

    Thank you dd for taking the time to write this feature.

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  6. shu says:

    nice work dd! good tribute to leslie our forever idol!

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  7. skinnymocha says:

    Thank you~

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  8. proof says:

    please don’t watch his past movies or listen to his songs if you like leslie cheung, the reason is.. watch on youtube, ‘young ecuadorian girl back from the dead – angelica zambrano’

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  9. Funn Lim says:

    I am curious about the depression part and about him masking it well. He may have masked it well from the public but I remember reading his behaviour was erratic enough to warrant friends like I believe Bridgitte Lin to spend personal time with him and many others. They did express a worry about him but of course that could have been retrospective. Rumours abound that he was sick, he was dying of terminal disease, but I do believe the version that he had been depressed for many years. He didn’t take aging well it seems and maybe the whole thing made things even more gloomy for him that out of a sudden he decided to jump despite making plans for other activities. It points to me like a sudden decision.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      Compare him to Alan Tam. Alan Tam always gives me an impression he is a happy contented man. Leslie gave me an impression he was restless.

      I was always his fan when it comes to music even if I do not look highly on him as an actor until many years later. The movie you mentioned All’s Well Ends Well, the one that started the whole chain of such movies by Raymond Wong (yes, done to death, revived, killed, summoned back from dead and still here) was truly memorable, in part Stephen Chow, in part Leslie and his chemistry with Theresa Mo, apparently the only woman he has ever loved? A Better Tomorrow was a classic too.

      Anyway whatever the cause, the reason, the driving force, I seriously can’t believe he has passed away for 10 years. Same like I can’t believe how Anita Mui and Roman Tam or even Wong Jim are no longer with us, or Lydia Shum.

      Lovely article, written by a passionate fan no doubt and hope to see more of such commemorative piece, maybe one on Lydia Shum.

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      • llwy12 replied:

        @Funn:  I absolutely hear you!  I also miss all those artists you named and then some!  It’s been especially hard these past few years with the dismal state of the HK entertainment industry causing me to revert to primarily watching and reading ‘old stuff’ (meaning stuff from the 70s/80s/90s eras) – makes the reality of who we lost definitely hit home!  In fact, I was watching a variety program from the 80s the other day and nearly broke down by the end of it because every single person in that program is now either dead, retired, or disappeared from the HK entertainment industry completely (with virtually zero chance of ever coming back).  Sad…

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      • dd replied:

        After watching most of the 90s movies, I also started watching the ones made in the 80s and late 70s.

        “Prison on Fire” was one I watched again very recently. I saw it the first time when I was a kid. So when they did the bit in “Inbound Troubles” where they sang in the prison and Tommy Wong played both Choi-Sum’s dad and cameo’d his old ‘Crazy Bill’ character I thought “Ohohoh~ SO AWESOME”

        I also found myself singing along to 「友誼之光」

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLdz-9tuza8

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      • Woot replied:

        Oh! So Choi Sum’s dad was Crazy Bill? I couldnt recall his name in the movie, liked him alot.Yeah, I was singing along to the song too and loved the fact that they did a reenactment of the scene in Inbound Troubles!

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    • Cleo replied:

      I can’t believe he is dead because someone that sarcastic and amused by others’ stupidity who would mock Anita Miu’s inability to remain in retirement as a widow who was too much of a bimbo to remain in her widow weeds – someone like that is just too snarky to be suicidal or really depressed – there’s just too much to disdain in this world to jump off a building. Also, it’s ridiculous to jump off a building because someone is going to have to clean it up and someone is going to have to see the body. Is it really believable that someone who knew him should be on the sidewalk to witness that he had landed?

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    • dd replied:

      My aunt and I both agree that he wanted to go out while he was still “beautiful”. When I watched “Double Tap” the age-lines under his eyes were really emphasized when they did scenes with little light and I remember thinking “holy crap he looks old”.

      I guess he loved perfection too much to the point where he was afraid that if he got old and ugly, then he wouldn’t be loved by anyone anymore. Because you know, he was born with such talent and great looks that he just couldn’t accept that it was all going to be taken away by time itself.

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  10. P.Tan says:

    Thank you for writing this beautifully written and touching tribute to the ever popular and respected Leslie who has contributed so much to the acting and music world. dd, I can’t imagine this is your first attempt at writing such an article and would like to congratulate you for a job extremely well done.

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  11. Yan says:

    miss him very much………..

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  12. Nicole says:

    Leslie cheung, I miss him.

    I’d leave it at that, don’t really wanna end up bawling.

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  13. Lol says:

    Great piece. IMO, Leslie is hk’s last all around superstar. There’s no one like him. His movies & music will live on forever.

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  14. article says:

    brabara yung death had something to do with lydia shum, brabara was staying next to lydia, she heard lydia and adam cheng fighting, adam slept with an underaged girl, brabara accidently broke the news to some press, lydia wanted to teach brabara a lesson, paid a lot of money so 3 men to raped brabara, a week later, brabara died

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    • Cleo replied:

      yes, Tong Jun Yeep denied this rumor. It is totally unbelievable as well that Yung Mei Ling should be suicidal. but then I don’t believe all those Korean celebrity suicides. Frankly, if the Japanese who are the most suicidal in the world do NOT have more celebrity suicides than their Chinese and Korean counterparts reportedly have, then I call shenanigans.

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      • Tess replied:

        Koreans are the most suicidal. Google it up.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      What the hell are you talking about article??? Even though I don’t know or does anyone knows how Barbara truly died and why, EVERYTHING you just said was BS and all made up. Why would Lydia have anything to do with her death?? Are you just trolling here??

      @Cleo,
      Why wouldn’t Barbara be suicidal?? Based on what her ex said, she had a history of suicides in England before coming to HK. Therefore, why is it unbelieveable that she is suicidal?? This was a person that knew her well too so I think I would believe him more than anyone else. However, even he said what he thinks is also just a theory.

      Tess is absolutely right that Koreans are the most suicidal.

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  15. milktea says:

    Sometimes a person is too good in acting and appearance like a great actor, even when in trouble times, not a single problem went noticed or shared with his or her family or friends. That is the beginning of the end.

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    • dd replied:

      Yeah, depression is a mental illness and it does show signs but if you’re a professional actor who understands how people perceive you and how you should act to be seen as normal then it’s difficult to act on it.

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  16. carol says:

    liked your article.. especially “Cantopop’s golden age and the “Hong Kong New Wave” were lucky to have Leslie Cheung.”

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  17. Mazeltov says:

    Woah dd, I never could have imagined that you can write something as beautiful as this. Work well done! Keep it up~ would very much love to read your next article again.

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  18. Gar says:

    A very well written piece dd. Good job!

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  19. bloom says:

    Thanks for writing so much of Leslie Cheung. I’ve always like him until today. I’m so happy to read what you’ve written especially he can sing, dance, act & at the same time good looking. Yes, he’s the only one that can do all these. No one can ever replaced him, today’s actors & singer shouldn’t be compared to the standard that Leslie has!

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  20. llwy12 says:

    Wow…awesome job, dd!  Very well-written and obviously very meticulously thought out!  And yes, absolutely enjoyed the bits of sarcasm and humor throughout the piece (totally cracked me up!  Haha!).

    I especially enjoyed the analysis on Leslie’s films because that’s one piece that not very many people do a ‘deep dive’ into (especially given the state of the film industry – I myself gave up on watching HK films years ago because I got so flustered with how ridiculous they started to become).

     Leslie was absolutely an icon and legend in every sense of the word.  He was one of those rare talents who had what I call ‘the entire package’ – good looks, talent, interesting personality…basically, there was nothing he could not do!  Over the years, many have said that perhaps Leslie wasn’t meant for this world, as he was too ‘perfect’, perhaps even to the point of being ‘godly’ in a sense.  Agree or not, doesn’t really matter – the fact of the matter is, he was – and forever will be – an irreplaceable legend!  You were absolutely right when you wrote that “we (as in the entertainment industry, the world, etc.) were lucky to have Leslie”….very well-said indeed!!

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    • dd replied:

      I’ve been watching many mainland/HK productions lately. It’s a good chance to improve my Mandarin.

      I mean, the HK film industry isn’t dead in the water yet since there are good films that come out every year but hey, we’re getting there.

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  21. E says:

    There was some misspell, heads up. But the article was really well written, it was intriguing to read, and not like boring at all like some article here. Or poking in other people, totally love it.

    I have not heard about Leslie until recently from Running Man in Macau, and Jae Suk sing the …Tomorrow… song, and I really like that song, so I’m starting to watch his movie, and he is a good actor given what in that Era have in equipment.

    The only thing I do not get is why he die. There are many theories and assumption, but from a psychologist’s point of view, you do not plan ahead if you know you’re going to ‘jump.’

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    • dd replied:

      Right, if you plan to kill yourself you’re leaving the possibility that it will fail. Suicides succeed most often when they are done spontaneously.

      One of my dad’s friend’s wife killed herself in the kitchen while preparing dinner. She suffocated herself with a plastic bag I think.

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    • pandamao replied:

      Depression is hard for a normal being to understand. People with depression may suddenly get overwhelmed with emotions and just do something w/o thinking about the consequences.

      I’m no psychologist but my dad had depression and he was very hard to predict. Fortunately, he’s much better now but without proper help and guidance, it’s hard to overcome.

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  22. WildBerries says:

    Sigh, whenever I read anything related to Leslie I get so upset. I just hope wherever he is he’ll be happy and at peace. Will always miss you Gor Gor!

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      Me too and hope that he is a at better place. However, I heard that people who commit suicide aren’t allowed to go to a good place since they committed the sin of killing themselves. But who knows if any of that stuff is true or not?? We will only know when we reach the other side ourselves.

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  23. Woot says:

    One of the better articles around! Well written, dd!
    Hope you’re being paid well for this, hehe.

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  24. Lily says:

    Well written and great article!!! He is missed by many.

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  25. pandamao says:

    Thanks DD for all your efforts in writing. You have great penmanship. I guess my only gripe is the use of criticizing others to show how much better Leslie is.

    I’m a huge fan of Leslie but likewise also appreciate what Aaron Kwok and Andy Lau has to bring to the circle as well. Leslie excelled in everything, which is a rare gem. However, Aaron and Andy both have their niche as well. Neither of them are nearly as well rounded as Leslie, a known fact, yet both will be remembered over time for their contributions.

    Look forward to your other articles.

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    • Nicole replied:

      He wasn’t criticising them and in fact praised them for still being the top billing star in movies, and hold sell-out concerts for over 20 years, and lamented the fact about stars today not being able to compare to those of Leslie’s time.
      He may appear to have criticised them, because he said Aaron’s face is extremely photoshopped, or Andys movie is a rip off, but thats the criticism of the poster and the movie.
      The only one he criticised in name, is ekin, who is stone faced.

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    • dd replied:

      I will try to take a picture of Aaron’s poster if I see it. It’s hilarious, trust me.

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  26. Dilly says:

    I love Leslie Cheung. Undeniably the best entertainer in the Chinese speaking world.

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  27. Nee Nee says:

    Thanks a lot for a lovely article on Leslie. I missed him a lot.. a great singer and actor

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  28. Felicity says:

    Wasn’t Carly Rae Jepson the singer for “Call me, Maybe?” Other than that little error, this is a thoughtful and well-written article. I can see that you put a lot of heart into it. Well done!

    Leslie Cheung’s death was the first celebrity death that truly affected me emotionally. I was really shocked by his suicide and was in a deep funk for a couple of months after he died, reading voraciously on everything Leslie related and lamenting why didn’t I appreciate him more when he was still alive. I mean, I was always a fan of his acting in his most famed movies (some of my faves include Days of Being Wild, A Better Tomorrow, Farewell My Concubine, A Chinest Ghost Story, A Bride with White Hair) and loved his songs and diva-ish charisma, but had started to give up on Canto-pop by the late 90s and stopped following Leslie’s career very closely. It made me feel guilty, that maybe Leslie was depressed because he felt that his time in the spotlight was fading, and perhaps if he had received more positive support from everyone (like the outpouring of love for him in the immediate days after he died), Gor Gor would realise that he was still very much loved by fans, colleagues and his friends alike.

    I agree with you dd that Leslie will always be remembered as a pioneer in the HK entertainment industry and his influence has affected how chinese people are perceived by westerners. Most westerners think of chinese men as timid beings, with no sex appeal. But Leslie surely smashed that stereotype with his daring cross-dressing concert outfits and sexy gyrating dance moves. He was also one of the first chinese superstars to be openly gay without having to announce it. For all his trail-blazing contributions to music and performing arts, Gor Gor will always be remembered.

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  29. sushiroll says:

    i think leslie was the one who started the trend of celeb suicides.

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    • Tess replied:

      This is exactly what I mean when I say some people have no tact. Please learn your facts before you say something so inappropriate.

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    • pandamao replied:

      sushiroll –

      barbara yung – tvb fa dan committed a suicide
      chung bo lor – a famous emcee jumped off the building due to loan sharks.
      pauline chan – suicide

      there have been plenty others before Leslie ..

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      Leslie did NOT start a trend of celeb suicides at all. Where the heck did you hear that from?? There were many that did before him… Please don’t blame celeb suicides on Leslie!!!!

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  30. Bubbles says:

    What a beautiful piece. The legacy of Leslie is quite still relevant and remembered!

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    • blurjen replied:

      agreed

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