Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Godmother

Source: Rob Radboud

Apologies for the silence; I’ve been having some deadlines and writing blocks that made my submissions not progressing much. I will still publish my commentaries on LOCH 2017, though I’m already 3 weeks behind the schedule now. However, publishing those commentaries mean that I need to watch the series again, and I need to dedicate a special time for that, which I don’t have at the moment. Nonetheless, I miss MB… a lot. Hence, this article for this weekend.

Only recently I learned that Barbara had a godmother in Hong Kong. The kind godmother was no other than Mrs Lee Heung-kam, who portrayed Mrs Kam in ‘United We Stand’ 1984 and the Old Lady Kam (Kam tai-kwan) in ‘Chor Lau Heung’ 1984. Mrs Lee also portrayed Abbess Ruthless in ‘Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre’ 1986, and as Tony Leung’s mother-in-law in ‘Yang’s Saga’ 1985.



According to the translation at Rob Radboud’s page, Barbara and Mrs Lee indeed became close when they worked in UWS 1984 as a mother-daughter pair. On 13 May 1984, Barbara and Mrs Lee Heung-kam became mother-daughter. Barbara’s mother (Mrs Liu) was fine with Barbara taking a “nominal mother” (that’s how the Chinese people call godmothers, I take it?), for it means that an older woman was there in Hong Kong to take care of Barbara.

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Source: Rob Radboud

As for Barbara and Mrs Lee Heung-kam, I always loved seeing them together, and I love it how Mrs Lee, I mean Mrs Kam, swooned whenever Doh-wan was dating Michael’s Tung Pang-fei… 

'United We Stand' Episode 15


Now I am filled with happiness, and also sadness, to learn that this beautiful on-screen mother-daughter were once off-screen mother-daughter too…

Oh, and I just realised that Barbara did mention about Mrs Lee in her May 1984 letter. If you read the letter (I copied from Rob's website), you'll see that it was not dated. However, since she talked about "surrogate Mother" and she informed her UK mother about her new drama on 14 May, I think the letter should be dated on 13 May 1984.

My new drama will be broadcasted on 14th May, then you can watch. I'll attend a stage show for ten days with Michael Miu on 15th May. I just have phone call with Ah-gyun, haven't seen Miss Ng and surrogate Mother because I was busy these days. 
Barbara also mentioned Mrs Lee in her letter dated 27 November 1984, when she said to her birth mother that she wouldn't give the money Mrs Liu sent to Miss Ng and Mrs Lee herself; better that Mrs Liu give the two ladies the money when she visited HK next time.


About Mrs Lee herself, I first saw her as Abbess Ruthless in HSDS 1986, and I HATE her character. Back then, I didn’t even realise that she was also my amazing Kam tai-kwan, cos I was too small to appreciate her amazing acting. Then, after I watched CLH 1984 again in September 2015, I started to be a fan of Kam tai-kwan. Then when I finally saw UWS 1984 (Cantonese raw, mind you…), I was blown away by Mrs Kam there. Only then I realised that the three characters were played by the same actress. Mrs Lee in UWS was sooooo cooool, I grinned in glee every time she paired up with Barbara’s Dragon Ying. I also cried when Mrs Kam realised that Doh-wan was her daughter. Then when Mrs Kam got ill and Fei came to deliver the Stop Cold medicine, and she got better, I swooned when she swooned whenever her daughter and Fei were together.

I haven’t seen Mrs Lee in other roles, but her two roles as the Old Lady Kam in CLH 1984 and Mrs Kam in UWS 1984 definitely won me. Wiki told me that Mrs Lee was nominated twice recently in Moonlight Resonance (2008) and in Can’t Buy Me Love (2010), and I’m very happy for her.

Mrs Lee was born on 13 January 1932, so she just turned 85 years old…If I ever see her one day, would I ask her if she misses Barbara every now and then? Perhaps I won’t ask, because she would cry, and I would cry as well…

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Of course Mrs Lee was broken-hearted when Barbara died...

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This is what she said:

“她(翁美玲)那段时间很不开心,说上一两句话便哭,我经常劝她不要为感情伤心,趁现在当红,应该把心思放在事业上。”李香琴回忆说:“她的死估计是注定的,她曾打电话给一个男人(不是汤镇业),但那个男人关了机,另一个男人到她家敲门,但以为没人就走了,所以她亲妈妈也说:‘女儿的命就在那个人的手指隙漏走了!’”

Nevertheless... I'm glad to see this news (again, thanks Rob!) that shows how happy and thriving Mrs Lee is now. She seems to be loved by many, if not all, Hong Kong movie lovers. She got a kiss from Raymond Lam in 2011...

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and decades before hand, she was loved by Leslie Cheung as well...

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And not to mention that she was a gorgeous babe herself in her hey-day...

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Since Mrs Lee is now 85 years old, I don't think she's acting anymore. But she is very much loved and adored, and that showed during the photos of her 84th birthday last year...


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I'm sure Barbara is happy to see her surrogate mother happy...



Thank you, Mrs Lee, for being you... for being the godmother for my favourite actress, for loving her, even just for a little more than a year… God bless you…

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