Pop icon Leslie Cheung’s legacy endures 20 years after dying Lalrp



HONG KONG — Followers of late Canto-pop icon Leslie Cheung, one of many first singers to return out as homosexual in Hong Kong, flocked to the town this week to commemorate their idol’s dying 20 years in the past — revisiting his legacy of pioneering work made throughout a socially conservative time.

Cheung, who was 46 when he died, was a celebrity identified for his singing, dancing and performing throughout the heyday of Hong Kong’s leisure trade within the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s. His supporters, who span throughout Asia, fondly remembered his norm-breaking works and referred to as him “forward of time.”

The twentieth anniversary of Cheung’s dying was Saturday and drew crowds of each native followers and supporters from mainland China to go to exhibitions about him in Hong Kong. Even the federal government included concert events and movie screenings about him within the metropolis’s first popular culture pageant, which is slated to formally kick off in three weeks.

The native reminiscences of Cheung show the late celeb stays a preferred icon throughout generations of Hong Kongers and displays the need for reviving the town’s cultural affect, mentioned Anthony Fung, professor of the college of journalism and communication on the Chinese language College of Hong Kong.

“After so a few years, we hardly discover any new icons, new superstars who may attain that degree of significance,” he mentioned.

Cheung, who was affectionately referred to as Gor Gor — “massive brother” in Cantonese — produced many hits that even non-Cantonese talking music lovers in different components of Asia may sing alongside to. These embody “Monica,” “Sleepless Nights Stressed Coronary heart” and “Chase.” He additionally starred in traditional movies together with John Woo’s “A Higher Tomorrow,” Wong Kar-wai’s “Joyful Collectively,” Stanley Kwan’s “Rouge” and Chen Kaige’s “Farewell My Concubine.”

However behind all of his success, Cheung suffered from melancholy. He jumped to his dying from the Mandarin Oriental Lodge in central Hong Kong on April 1 in 2003, sending shockwaves throughout the town. His dying got here as his hometown was battling the SARS epidemic, which in the end killed tons of and crippled the native financial system.

Hong Kong fan Connie Leung, a retiree now in her 60s, recalled her disbelief when she first heard in regards to the information of his dying from a former colleague. “I mentioned ‘don’t make such a joke on April Fools’ Day’,” she mentioned.

She mentioned Cheung’s songs by no means turned outdated and his style tastes, together with his iconic lengthy hair, had been fashionable — even by at this time’s requirements.

Chris Choi, Cheung’s live performance choreographer within the 2000s, mentioned the late celebrity broke by way of many gender boundaries by introducing “unisex” concepts, a few of which had been dangerous on the time. Amongst his stage costumes in these years, for instance, had been seashell culottes and purple excessive heels.

“It advised folks artwork has no boundaries,” he mentioned.

Cheung additionally broke by way of the town’s cultural established order by boldly revealing his homosexual relationship in a conservative native society at the moment— a choice that might have ruined his profession however has earned him a whole lot of respect from the homosexual group, Fung mentioned. The breakthrough was in regards to the plurality of tradition that he celebrated, he mentioned.

“He truly crossed by way of the boundary, make a noise and affect on the tradition of Hong Kong,” Fung mentioned.

Cheung’s work not solely impressed older generations of followers but in addition those that had been simply toddlers when he died.

College scholar Justin Jiang mentioned he was solely 3 years previous when Cheung died, however he later turned a fan in highschool after studying extra about Cheung’s character and charisma from his legacy of works. This week, the 22-year-old, who lives in neighboring Guangzhou, visited Hong Kong with a good friend to pay tribute to his idol.

He praised Cheung’s boldness in expressing his views and breaking by way of a society strongly influenced by gender stereotypes years in the past.

“Gor Gor could be very brave and that is price studying for us,” he mentioned.