Sunday, 2 October 2016

Barbara Yung’s letters part 2: LOCH 1983

Barbara shooting her first LOCH scene with Felix Wong

Last month I promised that I’d post some letters of Barbara Yung regarding her experience with the Legend of Condor Heroes 1983. Apologies for taking so long, but I finally am able to sit down and copy her letters from Rob Radboud’s site.

Reading her letters again reminding me how beautiful she was, in and out. She was caring, loving and sensitive. The letters you’ll read below doesn’t only talk about LOCH 1983 of course, and there you’ll see how she cared for her family, in this case her mother, her uncle and Shela, her uncle’s partner (later wife). She also cared for her other friends, that they didn’t have enough money etc. I also found out that her family lived in Cambridge in 1982 (Letter 12 August 1982). Do they still live there now? For some reasons, I wonder whether they have moved out...

As for LOCH, Barbara did her audition on 13 August 1982 (Letter 12 August 1982). She had always wanted to do an ancient drama, so she was excited about her audience. However, since she had the audition for the most important role in the series, the announcement was not made until mid November (Letter 19 November 1982). She was of course very excited about it, but then she was also worried whether she’d be able to fill Michelle Yim’s shoes (Mie Shieh or Michelle Yim played as Wong Yung in LOCH 1976)(Letter 13 March 1983). 

In the same letter, Barbara also told her family about a person (XXX) who talked behind her back, saying that Barbara was an arrogant person. That was sad... I think people could indeed misunderstand Barbara’s silence with arrogance...although in reality, she could be insecure at times (from her letters – don’t we all...). In April 1983, Barbara told her family that she didn’t like Wong Yung (also in the May 1983 letter). She said that her Wong Yung was more quick-tempered than the novel version. She decided that she wouldn’t “take Wong Yung as my masterpiece, because I have other preference, I'm sure I'll have another role suit me more than Wong Yong, to be my masterpiece” (Letter April 1983). In the same letter, Barbara also mentioned Michael Miu (she called him "Ah-Miu") for the first time, relating that his Yeung Hong was not as bad as the novel version. 

Barbara in the Legend of the Unknown

Barbara also told her family about her first role in the ancient drama, i.e. the Legend of the Unknown (“13th Sister”)(Letter September 1982). I didn’t realise that Kent Tong was also in this series... perhaps that was when they eventually fell in love? It seems by March 1983, they were already dating, so I assumed they had started dating back during the LOCH shooting. The series also had Sharon Yeung there, so LOCH 1983 was not the first time Barbara met Sharon then (I already knew that she was paired with Simon Yam here).
Last but not least, in the May 1983 letter Barbara relayed that she’d go to Europe in late June for 10 days, including one night in London. Among her group were Felix Wong and Leslie Cheung. It’s somehow nice to know that Barbara and Leslie were once in the same traveling group... did they talk a lot?

Below are Barbara’s letters pertaining LOCH 1983. I enjoyed reading them, I hope you too!


Dear mommy & uncle,

   Haven't heard from you all for quite awhile, I know you all must be busy. The holidays are coming, what do you plan to do? It's extremely hot in HK now. Sometimes, it's over 30 degree & I would rather stay home, however, when I need to work outside, I have no choice. People said I am lucky, whenever I need to work outside; it's either getting cooler or taking places in some restaurant. Indeed, I have tried so many famous restaurants in HK while working. Anyway, I will go casting tomorrow, & I might have chance to work in an ancient drama. I really hope that I will get the offer since I am longing to work in ancient dramas. The ancient drama is "The Legend of Condor Hero". Last time, I didn't get the offer of a youngster drama due to the conflict of image. Indeed, I missed many valuable opportunity due to my serious image as the host in "Woman New Look". Since the target of audience of "Woman New Look" is middle age women, I must present a sophisticated & graceful image, so I cannot work for many jobs which are in conflict to my image. The producer Chan Bo Chui indeed values me so much. In fact, I value the casting tomorrow so much too, since this is a good chance for development in other field. Though being a host is good, I personally love acting more. Anyway, I am fine, don't worry.

   Haven't heard from uncle for a long time, how are you doing? How's the weather there? Really want to know how you are doing, & I miss you & mommy much! Hope that everything works great to you all. How about you & Ah Mui? Any news? Also, Ling Chi wrote me twice time. Perhaps she haven't received my letter for awhile, she wrote a letter to Mr Ching who is the teacher of the drama training course & asked him to help me whenever I needed ! Indeed, I knew Mr Ching long time ago, & I attend his class twice nights a week. I really don't know what Ling Chi is thinking! However, I have written Ling Chi a letter & thanked for her kindness. Please pretend as if you never heard of this before, since I don't want Ling Chi to get mad at me. Maybe she mainly wants to know how I am doing.

    Friend of mine will go to Cambridge two weeks later, & I will ask her to bring you something. Let you know of the details later.  Mommy, is your health getting better? Please don't worry too much. You & uncle must take good care! I will send you some of my news clippings next time. Also, please express my greeting to father. BTW, my boss still writes me sometimes, & once she even drew a crying flower & told me how she missed me! We are still very good friend, & she is a very nice person. I will send back a check to her later.

(P.S: I wrote this letter on a TVB vehicle when I worked, so please excuse my messy writing.)

Love, Lui Lui

12th August, 1982

 恨做古裝恨到發燒/吃遍香港名店~82/08/12 Long to act in ancient drama





祝 身心安康
(出外景時在公司車上寫的,故字體很亂)                                                            女兒 囡囡上


Dear mommy & uncle,

   You should have received the stuff my friend brought along, shouldn't you? Hope that you like them & they fit well. Especially the tee-shirt for Daddy, I hope that it fits well & not too big for him. How's my appearance as Wong Yung? Since this role is very important, TVB is still trying to determine the most suitable one, & so the outcome is still not known yet. Thus, the production of this drama will be postponed until November. Indeed, there is nothing I can do about it now. All I can do is just hope for the best & prepare for the worst. After all, timing, opportunity & luck are very important in the entertainment field.

   It's said that " Whatever you expect stays away from you, & whatever you unexpect searches for you". When I first came back to HK, I could not get in touch with Ting Hoi Waw. However, I ran into her accidentally when I worked out in Causeway Bay couple days ago.  She was very happy to see me, & she said she could not believe the number participant in Miss HK was me. I got her phone number for contact in the future. I heard that she is a tour guide for a Japanese tour & she is still single, indeed, she is a bit fatter than last time I met her. Most likely I will date her next week, & I will give her the leather bag you gave her. We will definitely talk more next time.

   Time really flies by, & I have been working in TVB for two months. When I am happy, I am quite satisfied with what I have so far. Within two months, I finished two Advertisements. Also, some people have invited me to act in their films, though TVB turned the offers down. However, whenever I am happy, I feel lost & worried. Perhaps I still do not have chances to act in dramas, I am afraid that I will not have chances to acquire what I want. Though people keep saying that since I have just worked for two months, I can not expect to achieve everything. In fact, there are many people who spent many years in this field & still have nothing. However, I am still worried, since I don't have time & I can't waste my time in this field for nothing. Things are really uncontrollable in this field, & you need to spend at least a year to find out where you stand in here. Therefore, I am very lost. Also, some people said I am not suitable for this field, since I am too naive. Anyway, I have decided to give myself half a year to try.

   How's the sale? It's really hot in HK, but I think the weather in UK should be great, right? Mommy, you seemed to be angry when I talked with you over the phone last time. I told you many times before, please take everything easy & don't worry too much. We just have a few family members, so why can't we share our heart openly with others? After all, we have been together for many years! Please be patient & yield to each other, & don't worry too much! Indeed, all of us love you very much.

   Uncle, how's your relationship with Ah Mui? Please be honest! Also, if you need somebody to talk to, don't hesitate to reach me. Indeed, all of us care about you, even Hoi Waw asked me about you. Also, please don't argue with mommy. This is her personality, & everybody knows that well! She will be fine after a short while. Please take good care & be cautious, & please express my greeting to father.

Love, Lui Lui
31st August, 1982

 我不適合這個圈子/心感到徬徨~82/08/31 Not suitable for this field





親!                                                                                                   女兒 囡囡上


Dear mommy & uncle,

   When you receive this letter, I believe it is already mid-autumn festival. Uncle, have you started eating moon cake yet? Whenever I tell my friends our record of eating moon cake, they will laugh! I really miss you all much during these holidays, & I hope that mommy takes everything easy. Please don't be overwhelmed & don't worry too much. Take good care, since health is the most important. Indeed, uncle & I love you very much. Also, I am really doing fine, don't worry about me!

   I am quite busy recently. I even need to attend classes during Monday to Friday from 7-10:30pm. One special thing is that I will participate in a drama next month. It's called "The 13th sister". I will portray as a cunning princess & will work with Wong Kun Sha (the 13th sister). I am very happy, since TVB gives me this opportunity. I heard that if I have good performance, I will have chance to work for "The Legend of Condor Hero". Therefore, it is a valuable chance for me, I hope that I can try my best.

   Enclosed are my recent pictures. How's my ancient appearance? I took these pictures as gifts to my fans, indeed, some of my fans are from China! I will send more pictures to you when I take pictures as princess next time. Many magazines take pictures for me, & I write ten essays for XXX.  However, my relationship with X newspaper is not that good, so it seldom mentions my news. Nevertheless, everything is fine, & hope that it gets even smoother later. So don't worry about me.

    Mommy asked if I can take vacation to come back to UK. I think I need to wait until next year during summer. Thus, if mommy wants to come to HK, go ahead. If not, I need to wait until next year to visit you. I really miss you all! However, I just start my life here, so it's hard for me to put things aside. Hope that you can understand me, mommy & uncle, take good care!
    Wish you happy!
Love, Lui Lui
( Remark: No date associated)

 每逄佳節倍思親~無發信日期 Missing parents much during holiday


Dear Mommy & Uncle,

 Life is really out of one's control, & it's hard for me to believe everything happened so far. I can only say that luck makes everything easier & smoother -- I have been assigned to be Wong Yung! I am very excited about it, & it's hard for me to believe this truth. Indeed, many people in the entertainment circle like me, & they say I deserve this role. However, there are people who are jealous about me too. Anyway, I know I am so blessed to have this opportunity since I am pretty new & I have been working for less than half a year only.  Indeed, my salary will be increased to HK$3500 in the new contract, & there is a $350 per shot bonus for more than 120 shots in a year. I knew I would have plenty of opportunities of getting the bonus after I join the drama team, but I never expected that my salary would increase within half a year. The contract will last for 5 years. At first, I just wanted to sign for 3 years. However, TVB said that they would have a 5 years plan for me, & that's why I signed it finally, Indeed, opportunity will only occur once, so right now all I worry is my own performance. Upon finishing "The 13th Sister", I will work for my part in "The Legend of Condor Hero", so I am really busy! In fact, I have to work overnight for "The 13th sister" already, so there's no need to imagine the situation when I work for LOCH! Anyway, I am very satisfied with what I have so far.

    My friend, Ah Sing, will bring a pair of earrings to mommy, two sweaters for uncle, & one of them is for father. Also, godmother has given you a set of sheets too. Please let me know when you all receive it, especially mommy's earrings, since I have promised you that I would buy it to you when I have money. Though I am not very rich yet, this is still my gift of love -- I know you must like them. Is it cold in UK now? It's getting cooler in HK. Please take good care! Also, it's almost year end, so you all must be very busy. Don't worry about me, I will take good care.

    By the way, if possible, please send me 6 childhood pictures as soon as possible (like from toddler to 10), as a magazine wants to interview me & needs my childhood pictures. Of course they will return them to me afterward, so please send by express mail as it's urgent. Also, I think I will have more pictures in the magazines from now on (except MingPao), so it's hard for me to send all of them to you.  However, I think you can get them in the Chinatown. Alright, talk to you later.

Love, Lui Lui


note: The name Ah Mui in this letter is Sheila; the girlfriend of Barbara's uncle.

Dear Mommy & Uncle,

   Haven't written to you for awhile, cause I was really busy. Anyway, I got chance to rest recently because of my eye wound. Ah Mui was luckier than mommy, as I had time to accompany with her while she came here. Indeed, she bought much stuff, & I asked her to bring one drawing book, silk scarf & leather jacket for uncle (B-day). Also, I asked father to bring a pair of earrings to mommy, & I just bought a few things for mommy this time. However, when I go back to UK next time for vacation, I will definitely bring you a pearl ring to complete the set, sounds okay? Last two weeks, I went with Ah Mui to repay the Buddha at Wong Tai Sin, & we also visited a monk for fortune telling. It seemed that everything worked fine, & Ah Mui will tell you more details of what the monk said when she returns. If everything the monk said really comes true, that will be great! For the time being, I don't dare to say anything about it, so let's wait until it really happens & I will.......uncle, don't know if I should congratulate you, as that monk said you & Ah Mui were perfect match as a couple! Sigh; is it a blessing or a disaster to you? However, I do hope that you know how to handle this matter. Indeed, you two are so compatible in terms of your horoscopes, so what are you going to do? Hope that I can attend your wedding when I come back to UK. Anyway, it's really a dream coming true for Ah Mui, & the rest is your turn now. Please feel free to tell me your true feeling! Indeed, I am the only one who understand you most, so who else can you talk to beside me? Nevertheless, I sincerely wish that everything works great to you.

      LOCH is broadcasting, & I will appear from the 9th episode. Indeed, the production for first part of LOCH has been finished, & I am working on the 2nd & the 3rd parts of it. Expectedly, everything will be finished by the end of June, & I hope that everything is on their right tracks.  In fact, I have been worrying about my own performance. After all, the Wong Yung played by Michelle was very impressive, so people keep comparing her with me. Anyway, I am prepared for any criticism. HK people are very criticizing. Recently, XXX tries to attack my image behind my back by rumoring me that I am arrogant. She is really tightfisted, but I have no alternative. After all, I have tried my best, & no major improvement can be accomplished in one day. Anyway, there were people who invited me to take part in films, but I could not take the offer due to time conflict. Indeed, not everything is within my control, but I will be cautious. Don't worry about me.

    Mommy, uncle, please take good care of yourselves! Don't worry too much, I will fly back to visit you when I have vacations. In fact, when father came, I was busy. Thus, I could only have dim sum with him & I did not farewell him in the airport. I hope that he can forgive me. BTW, Ah Tong (Ken Tong) bought something for mommy, & he wanted to say hi to you all. Alright, take more rest!

 Miss you, Lui Lui

13th March, 1983

去還神又去看命相/被中傷遊子思親~83/03/13 參加舅父的婚禮,與舅父合照 Repaid the Buddha & visited a fortune teller






掛念女兒 囡囡上


Barbara with Felix Wong, Michael Miu and Patrick Tse

 Dear Mummy, Uncle:

Uncle's two letters had been received. Knowing home accident happened, make me upsetting. I worried about it but nothing can do for I'm so far away from you. I'm really sorry that Uncle undertook all troubles. Mum, I heard you didn't feeling well, wish you're getting better now, don't worry about what happened, just take care of yourself. I believe Heaven helps a good man, everything will be okay.

 Actually I worried about you so much, especially when I was disappointed for the work. Ah-Tong (Kent) helped me a lot, I consumed quite a number of soup, ginseng of him. Even I often take my anger out on him. He also encourages me when I have a bad mood sometimes. It's really not easy to find a friend in this arena. Ti Ko Chen ( he fights with me in the underwater in Condor Heroes I, he figured as Sa Tong-tin) is martial artist, a faithful man, he calls me Ah-may (younger sister), helps me a lot. He will stay around to protect me whenever have a fighting play. So I won't afraid of fighting scene any more. Tony Ching (martial art instructor) said I can stand hardships. He began to appreciate me much more. Kenneth Tsang figured as my daddy (in Part II), also gave me a lot of instruction. So there are good people in the arena altogether, but seems only men have such loft manner. To be frank, I'm lucky enough, maybe my popularity is not bad, someone also will help me. I don't know why I don't like Wong Yung instead, if you read the original novel you'll know it adapted a lot in TV play, for example, Yeung Hong should be more wick than Ah-Miu (Michael Miu) played, and I became quick-tempered, not cute at all. Although Wong Yung should be love and hate clearly, stingy and wicked, actually is hard to please audience, plus the script adapted a little exaggerated, the role will be more shrewish. It's really hard to do. I always think I won't take Wong Yung as my masterpiece, because I have other preference, I'm sure I'll have another role suit me more than Wong Yong, to be my masterpiece.

Shela finally left, with a lot of things take to you, like it? Is Uncle's fur fit? It's your birthday present, when is birthday of Daddy? (T-shirt Shela takes back can take as Daddy's birthday gift!) I forgot again, now I do not know the time, only knew whether to work is key thing. 

This week is better, I believe the play will be completed shooting up to the end of June, have you seen me! Everything is fine, don't miss me, and take care!

 Baby Daughter
(translated by Ben)

其實很掛念你們,尤其當做得不如意和煩燥的時候,亞湯算對我有很大幫助,湯水、花旗蔘也吃了他不少,還成為我出氣的對象,有時自己的心境壞,他都很鼓勵我,因為在這行要找一個朋友真不易,陳狄克(在射鵰和我在水底打,叫沙通天),樣子雖似武師,但為人很忠義,叫我亞妹,處處幫我,現在每當有打的時候,都在左右看護(因他是武師出身),所以心對武打一點驚都沒有,程小東我吃得苦,對我也另眼相看,曾江做我老豆(東邪西毒 PART2)也處處指點,故圈人也有好人的,但看來只有男仕們才有這種風度了,其實自己也算幸運了,可能人緣不錯,需要時也有人為我出氣,不知為什麼,我倒不太喜歡黃蓉一角,如看過「射鵰」原著便知改了很多,例如「楊康」應該比現在亞苗做的奸幾倍,而我卻變得動不動就發脾氣,一點也不可愛,雖然黃蓉該愛、恨極端,又小氣、又邪,其實很難討好,加上劇本改得誇張了便更覺潑辣,真難做,我總覺得自己不會把「射鵰」中「黃蓉」成為自己的代表作,因為已有所屬,相信日後我一定會有一套話劇比「黃蓉」更適合我,而成為自己的代表作。

Shela 終於走了,帶了很多東西給你們,喜歡嗎?舅舅的皮衣合身嗎?是你的生日禮物,老豆幾時生日?(Shela 帶來的T恤就當是老豆的生日禮物!)我又忘了,現在都不知時日,只知要唔要開工最緊要,這星期比較好些,相信要拍到六月才完,你有沒有看到我呀!一切很好,勿念,多保重。

囡囡 上

Dear Mummy, Uncle:

After reading your letter, my sorrow is hard to express, I only can say "helpless", that's the way life is, few people do not need to bow to the reality. We all are falling, getting up, again and again. Uncle, your kindness over the years all kept in my mind, never crossed out. I have been waiting for the opportunity to requite you. You've work so hard for our family, surely the Heaven will give a bright future, hope you'll get luck after hardship. Please do not make yourself looks so weary, okay?

It is so called "Good will be rewarded with good", here I send my best wish to you. I'm really happy for you've decided your good news (marriage). People always want a home, someone to cherish, to take care of, as partners... I hope your choice wisely and correctly enough to give you a bright and happy future, I believe Ah-may will love and take care of you, so it just depends on if you can appreciate it with all your heart.

Uncle, you really need sustenance, you can not live alone to suffer by day and night. I'm so useless; left you for the independence, only bring you worries. You love me so much to forgive me. I began to know all of your favors after so many years, hope one day I can give rewards to you to express my appreciation. Now I'm still in the arena, involuntarily, fortune is still around me, protect me, I should cherish it, because the opportunity did not come easy. Everything is OK, please do not worry about me, I will cherish myself, I only hope you can also take good care of yourself and live happily. I believe Uncle's good news will bring joy to our family, as his niece, it's really cheer me up. Did you remember? I have been longed to attend your wedding dinner so long, when will you invite me to go? Ah-gyun is believed to run for the dinner also, I'm so expecting, just can't wait for any longer.

Barbara and Felix Wong, LOCH 1983 filming

Uncle, I will go to Europe with show group, ten days trip, five nights will be on stage, one night in London! The group includes me, Felix Wong, Rebecca Pan, Leslie Cheung, Robert Mak, Lo Hoi Pang and Alice Lau. We will play in London, France, Holland, and return on July 4th. But I will stay with you, so If possible, please arrange the wedding dinner when I back to England. I will arrive in London on June 24th, after finish the performance in London on June 26th, in Holland June 28th and June 29th, In Belgium on June 30th, and Paris on July 3rd, I will return to Hong Kong by July 10th around. So you can see if I have chance to attend to your wedding dinner? If you like, come to watch my show! I will start to learn singing tomorrow. I know Mum don't like me to act on stage, but you know, everyone, especially famous artists in such environment should be promote themselves on stage at the time when they are welcomed very much. So I have to follow the way to strive for both fame and benefit, maybe in such way I can be remembered by the fans. And my show on stage is not only for money, but to prove my ability to sing! Many artists dare not sing, however, their famous too high to worry about no chance to be promoted. So I will go, not only the group all are acquaintances, but also where to go is Europe, I can take chance to visit you with free ticket. What a chance! Hope Mum do not blame me, I have my rule. Since I am an artist, I should devote my efforts on it. I can not stay in England too long for too much things need to deal with. Uncle Tin-Lam told that he want me to join SHAW'S Brother for a new movie after finish The Legend of Condor Heroes. So I have no much free time. the PART II will start in two weeks, at that time, we can meet each other again, really hope my next drama is fashion series .

Ok, what would you like to buy? Tell me, and please send back my passport. The store should close on Uncle's wedding, then, we will have time to walk around somewhere. Here I deeply wish you. Mummy please don't worry about , take care of yourself, no need to hard work anymore. I will be twenty four years old in several days, oh, it's hard to believe! No, Wong Yung (the heroine of the Legend of Condor Hero 1982) only sixteen years old, do I like her?

Your Baby Daughter






女兒 囡囡 83.3

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