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From The Standard:

HK mourns the death of an icon

Nickkita Lau

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lydia Shum Din-ha - one of Hong Kong's most enduring entertainment icons - has died after a two-year battle with cancer.

She was 62.

The end came yesterday at 8.38am after months of speculation that the veteran actress, comedian and television personality was on the verge of death, or had died.

The Shanghai-born actress, better known as Fei Fei because of her distinct robust size, had been in the final stages of the disease, despite intensive chemotherapy treatment in Hong Kong and Canada.

Her daughter Joyce Cheng Yan- yee and Shum's sister arrived at the hospital around noon and stayed for 30 minutes. Cheng wore a mask and sunglasses. Shum's sister looked tearful.

Neither of them spoke to the waiting media.

The nearly 100 reporters and photographers swarmed round the couple but were rescued by security guards who led them to Shum's room on the 20th floor of Block K at Queen Mary Hospital.

The hospital refused to reveal the cause of death at the request of Shum's family.

TVB general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan who talked to Cheng on the phone said the daughter was in a stable mood.

He said Cheng also told him Shum died peacefully.

Chan said though they did not discuss funeral arrangements, TVB will offer assistance to Shum's family.

Shum was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Queen Mary Hospital for the last time on February 2 - days after she left hospital to worship her mother who died in Vancouver, Canada on January 21.

Shum had been fighting high blood pressure and diabetes for years apart from being diagnosed with liver and bile duct cancer. She had been in and out of hospital numerous times in the past two years.

Last November she collapsed at home and was semi-conscious after reportedly eating six hairy crabs.

Shum's friend, radio host Candy Chea Suk-mui recalled on her RTHK show yesterday that before Shum underwent surgery to remove her liver tumor and bile duct in 2006, everyone thought it was a relatively minor condition, but the surgeons later found her situation was critical.

Many top medical professors were called to assist in the 24-hour surgery to remove her tumor.

As news of Shum's passing spread, many prominent figures offered their condolences.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen spoke of his sorrow over her death, saying many Hong Kongers grew up with her famous laugh which had brought them happiness.

"In the past years we know she has been fighting her illness. She maintained a strong will in the battle and gained [the regard] of many Hong Kongers," Tsang added. "She represented a lot of values Hong Kongers respect. I'm deeply saddened by her passing. I extend my condolences to her family on behalf of the government and Hong Kong citizens."

Shum had been an actress, TV host and singer for more than 40 years. Many of her most memorable performances were on TVB's long running variety show Enjoy Yourself Tonight which was launched in 1967 and lasted 27 years.

Shum agreed to appear on EYT's reunion show last November, but was later excused due to tiredness resulting from chemotherapy.

Shum, who was recognizable by her trademark dark-rimmed glasses, had starred in more than 40 movies and television dramas.

She shot to fame in the early 1960s after being signed up as a child star by Shaw Brothers. Shum soon found herself pitted against some of the "greats" in the then flourishing Cantonese film industry, such as Connie Chan Po-chu, Josephine Siao Fong- fong and Patrick Tse-yin - the father of pop idol Nicholas Tse Ting-fung.

But with the decline of the Cantonese film industry in the late 1960s, Shum took to the small screen, making a tremendous impact on viewers, not only through EYT, but her co-hosting of the initial Miss Hong Kong beauty pageants on TVB, mainly with news presenter Ivan Ho Lau Kar-kit and lyricist Jim Wong.

Shum was popular not only in Hong Kong but also overseas.

She starred in the English-language Singapore sitcom Living with Lydia between 2001 to 2005. The show was aired also in Hong Kong, Indonesia and the United States.

Shum married veteran actor and singer Adam Cheng Siu-chau in 1985 after an 11-year courtship, but they were divorced two years later - just months after the birth of their only child, Joyce.

The entertainment world greeted Shum's death with regret, calling it the passing of an era, as tributes poured in from around the world.

TVB sorrow over loss of `Happy Nut'

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Few would disagree that Lydia Shum - the "Happy Nut" - was Hong Kong's entertainment icon.

Veteran producer Robert Chua Wah-Peng, who signed Shum in 1967 for TVB's Enjoy Yourself Tonight variety show, described Shum, who started in the movies in her teens, as an irreplaceable talent and said her death was a great loss.

TVB was filled with sorrow yesterday, general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan said.

"The mood was very complicated - we are saddened with the news because we are so familiar with her. We need some time to pacify our emotions."

Chan said Shum was more than an artiste, she was like a mother to many Hong Kongers.

TVB arranged two specials and three rerun shows last night in her memory.

Some of her closest friends, including Woo Fung and Lee Heung-kam, were among the guests.

More than 10 movies and TV shows starring Shum will be shown from today until February 29 on TVB's Jade channel.

Woo said Shum was a kind and helpful person. He added Shum liked to invite friends to dine and one of her favorites was hot pot.

"She was fat and had diabetes but she liked playing marathon mahjong sessions. It was bad for her health."

Among many senior officials and politicians who offered their condolences were Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Frederick Ma Si- hang and Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing.

Lawmaker Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, Shum's colleague decades ago, said she was dedicated and devoted to her job.

Longtime partner Carol "Dodo" Cheng Yu-Ling said: "She is no longer suffering from illnesses so it could actually be a relief. I just hope [daughter Joyce Cheng] Yan- yee will live bravely."

The Hong Kong Performing Artistes Guild expressed extreme sorrow. It said her famous laugh will always be remembered.

"Shum's kindness, patience to the younger generation, professionalism and bravery should be fostered by her juniors."


Final curtain for larger-than-life screen star with the shrill laugh

Jiang Chenxin

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lydia Shum's hefty frame would be easy to pick out in a line-up of TVB hosts.

Nicknamed Fei Fei - Cantonese for "fat" - Shum was the opposite of the skinny teenagers who competed for the Miss Hong Kong title in beauty pageants she used to host.

Shum's trademark dark-rimmed glasses and bouffant hairdo have been familiar to TVB audiences since the late 1960s.

Audiences responded to her shrill laugh, but they also responded to her size.

Perhaps Shum's large frame struck a chord with ordinary Hong Kongers who saw her as the ideal TV star.

Shum made her film debut in the 1960 Shaw Brothers film When The Peace Blossoms Bloom but soon switched to co-hosting TVB's longest- running variety show, Enjoy Yourself Tonight, which incorporated games, songs and various mini-dramas.

Shum's antics were guaranteed to win laughs.

In the late 70s, she created an act called Shanghai Mama for Enjoy Yourself Tonight, referring to her Shanghainese roots. The act was so popular it sparked a look-alike contest among members of the audience.

Most of Shum's appearances on the silver screen were small, sometimes cameo, roles for comic relief with many concentrating on her size.

As the domineering wife of a crazy puppeteer in Drunken Tai Chi (1984), Shum was also the main foil to protagonist Chin Da.

She returned to films in 2004 as the matriarch of the family in In-laws, Out-laws.

After living with fellow TVB star Adam Cheng Siu-chow for 11 years, Shum married him in 1985. They divorced months after the birth of their only daughter, Joyce Cheng Yan-yee, in 1987. After the divorce - which Shum described as the lowest point of her life - she poured her emotional energies into her relationship with her daughter.

Shum said in 2002 she thought it "important to keep up with fashion" and learn how to use a computer, in order to narrow the generation gap between Joyce and herself.

Now a budding TV star, Joyce has not enjoyed the public's tolerant attitude toward her mother's weight. Her appearance on a Disneyland TV show as Snow White sparked hundreds of complaints, many of which claimed she used to be overweight and hence was unfit to play a princess.

Cheng and Shum's divorce was dogged by rumors that soured their relationship over the years, especially after Cheng's second marriage.

In recent years they have reconciled, partly because of Joyce.

Alluding to her divorce, Shum said on a TV show last year that women "shouldn't give men the impression that they are stronger."

Though Shum officially moved to Vancouver in her later years, she spent much of her time in Hong Kong, continuing to make appearances on television.

In October 2006 Shum was placed in intensive care when she suffered complications after bile-duct surgery.

In November the same year Shum admitted that at one point, she was unable to recognize her own daughter. But she claimed to have fully recovered, until she was rumored to have terminal liver cancer last year.

Actress and singer Lee Heung-kam was then quoted as saying Shum was receiving chemotherapy and regular blood transfusions.

Shum was visibly very weak when she left hospital.

On a talk show hosted by mainland TV star Chen Luyu last year, Shum said that after 47 years in the movies and on TV, she wanted to "retire and enjoy life." She claimed that fame was a distant thing to her.

But Shum is no distant memory for a loyal Hong Kong audience which will miss her distinctive laugh.
this is such sad news, rest in peace lydia.
omg. reading that was soo sad :[ it reminded me of my grandma who died T__T; may she RIP.
Kazoku No Fire
Wow, I thought my mom lied to me that Lydia passed away, but when I flipped to the Chinese channel, they were doing a thing on her. I cried a little because of the music and how they were showing the pictures of her. Man I'm going to miss her now. May Lydia RIP...
RIP Lydia
and all the best to her daughter
This is so sudden. I agree, reading this article is so sad. I really can't believe it. We will all truly miss Lydia. I remember watching Lydia shows with my grandma when I was little. My grandma and I will totally miss Lydia.
Sad to hear the passing of 'Fei Fei'. I grew up watching her from the old TVB series and she was always fun to watch especially when she and Eric argue/joke with each other! I will miss her...
I am so sad, I used to watch her a lot while growing up...she was always such a happy person who could make others laugh...
one thing that i'm definitely going to miss is her laughter, i grew up hearing it and watching her host shows... R.I.P. fei fei...
rest in peace fei fei... at least there's no more suffering..
It was really ahrd for Lydia I mean she suffered a lot of things and it was definitly hard...She was the definition of the word fighter...she never gave up and she kept fighting...She was full of happiness, love, and laughter....I guess god wanted her to be with him so he took her away from us...RIP Lydia!! Your in heaven now without pain and suffering that's all that matters!!
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