Singaporean fan organises tribute concert, film festival and exhibition for Hong Kong star Anita Mui, Latest Music News - The New Paper

Singaporean fan organises tribute concert, film festival and exhibition for Hong Kong star Anita Mui

It all started in 1986, when Mr Adrian Cheong’s father bought a cassette tape to play in the car.

Its cover featured a female singer in a dramatic pose, oozing with confidence.

That singer was Anita Mui. 

Listening to the Hong Kong Cantopop diva belt out Bad Girl – from her best-selling 1985 album of the same name – in her unique contralto vocals, Mr Cheong, then aged only 11, developed an immediate admiration for her.

This grew into an undying devotion of a lifetime.

He eagerly anticipated every new album of hers and looked forward to seeing the chameleon star’s latest image on each cover.

He watched her concert recordings repeatedly before he finally caught her live performance for the first time years later.

When she died prematurely at age 40 from cervical cancer on Dec 30 in 2003, the communications professional was in Hong Kong for her wake.

Since then, he had flown over to pay his respects to her every other year, till the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

The Singaporean fan, now 48, will take a step further to mark her 20th death anniversary in 2023.

He is organising a series of tribute events, which will run from October to December.

Reminiscence: Anita Mui Tribute Festival comprises a film festival, an exhibition and a concert to commemorate the singer-actress.

“I consider myself blessed that I got to know of this once-in-a-lifetime artiste,” he tells The Straits Times. “I hope to let the younger generation discover her through her music, films and more.”

As festival director, he has engaged the help of the Anita Mui International Fan Club in Hong Kong, as well as fans from Singapore, Malaysia and Macau.

Recounting the first time he met Mui when she graced the red carpet at Channel U’s opening in 2001, Mr Cheong says he was “star-struck and tongue-tied”.

“Even though I could speak Cantonese, all I could utter was ‘nei ho lang’ (you are very beautiful).”

Anita Mui died from cervical cancer in 2003 at age 40. PHOTO: TNP FILE

On another occasion, having missed a meet-the-fans session at a hotel, he managed to catch up with her at the airport. 

She autographed a poster for him and gently asked him: “Why didn’t I see you earlier?”

That touched him deeply.

“I was surprised that my absence was noticed by a superstar,” he says.

His passion for the project has also moved those around him.

Mr Kenneth Tan, chairman of the Singapore Film Society (SFS) and festival adviser of the Icon: Anita Mui Tribute Film Festival, says: “This festival is a loving tribute to a seminal artiste whose enduring inspiration and impact continue to be felt and appreciated throughout movie and music appreciation communities everywhere.

“Adrian’s passion, knowledge and devotion have energised our whole team, and we’re glad to draw on our collective expertise and experience to make this festival a reality.”

When asked about the costs he has incurred to put on the festival, Mr Cheong would only say: “It’s a gift to a long-cherished friend.”

Mr Adrian Cheong is organising a series of tribute events to mark Anita Mui’s 20th death anniversary. The events will run from October to December. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN


Remembrance: Anita Mui Tribute Exhibition

The highlight of this exhibition is a collection of 10 of Mui’s outfits from the Anita Mui International Fan Club, on display in Singapore for the first time.

Visitors will also get to see the ever-changing star’s transformation over the years through a collection of rare vinyl records, CDs and cassettes.

“They will witness how Anita was always at the forefront of fashion and design, and how her style remains contemporary and cutting-edge even today,” Mr Cheong says.

Movie memorabilia and treasured keepsakes owned by fans, such as the honorary award she received at the 1992 Jade Solid Gold Best Ten Music Awards, will also be on display.

Where: Level 3 Atrium, Raffles City, 252 North Bridge Road
When: Oct 27 to Nov 5
Admission: Free

Icon: Anita Mui Tribute Film Festival

Organised in partnership with the SFS, there will be eight movies curated to showcase Mui’s ability to transform herself in a wide range of roles across a diversity of film genres.

These include supernatural romantic drama Rouge (1988), action film The Heroic Trio (1993), comedy Justice, My Foot! (1992) and historical drama Kawashima Yoshiko (1990).

The film festival is also working with the Singapore Cancer Society to raise funds to provide free pap tests for less privileged women and promote the awareness of early screening for cervical cancer.

There will be 200 charity tickets for Rouge at the opening at $60 each.

Mr Cheong says: “Besides being an iconic artist, Anita was also an inspiration because of how she cared for her family, friends, animals and society in general. We wish to honour this caring and charitable spirit of hers.”

Where: Golden Village Suntec City, 03-373, 3 Temasek Boulevard
When: Nov 3 to Nov 12, various times
Admission: $18, available at from Monday

Legend: Anita Mui Tribute Concert

Led by conductor Andy Sim, Singapore’s Philharmonic Wind Orchestra will present a symphonic pop concert featuring Mui’s classic hits and movie theme songs.

Joining more than 60 musicians are singers Zita Tse from Hong Kong and Novabelle Ng from Singapore, and local stage actor Timothy Wan.

Where: Esplanade Concert Hall, 1 Esplanade Drive
When: Dec 23, 7.30pm
Admission: $25 to $50, available at from Monday