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  MON 10 MARCH 2008  
Audience heckles actor Adam Cheng for not visiting dying ex-wife earlier and skipping funeral
By Avis Wong in Hong Kong
March 04, 2008 Print Ready   Email Article  

IT was his first public appearance since his ex-wife Lydia Sum died.

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Adam Cheng and his daughter Joyce leaving the stage after he was jeered by the audience.

But as he sat in the front row at a memorial service at the Hong Kong Coliseum, next to his daughter Joyce, Adam Cheng must have wished he was somewhere else.

Known for his heroic swordsman image in various period drama serials, the Hong Kong actor became a public enemy.

He was jeered during the service by the crowd.

Fellow actor Alan Tang Kwong-wing, who is Lydia's god-brother, went on stage and questioned his absence for nearly two weeks, since Lydia, 62, died on 19 Feb.

The 6,000-strong audience as well as 500 celebrity guests were mostly shedding quiet tears, until Alan took to the stage.

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He blurted out: 'It's so strange. Doesn't her daughter have a father?

'Why has the responsibility (of watching over Joyce) fallen on all her aunties and uncles? Why has Adam Cheng only appeared now?'

The crowd finally broke their sullen silence and clapped in agreement.

Since Lydia's death, the Hong Kong media has gone to town with stories about why Adam has not been involved in the funeral.

Egged on by encouragement from the audience, Alan taunted: 'Adam, do you want to explain what you have given Ah Fei (Lydia) and your daughter all these years?'

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Hong Kong actor Eric Tsang bowing to Lydia's portrait for the last time.

Adam smiled, got up and invited his 20-year-old daughter along. As they walked towards the stage, he said something to Joyce and she nodded her head.

Then Adam took off his black beret to reveal a half-shaven head and told the audience he had not wanted to say too much so as to 'avoid people deliberately writing false things'.

He has been filming a remake of his hit TV serial, The Legend of The Book And The Sword, in Hengdian town in Zhejiang province, China, all this while.

He then explained that since his marriage with Lydia failed, and with Joyce being sent to study in Vancouver, he has not had the chance to take good care of his daughter.

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6,000 grim-faced fans turned up for her memorial.

But whenever Joyce visited Hong Kong, he would take her out to play with his two other daughters with his wife, former Taiwanese actress Kuan Ching-hua.

'As a father, I must give my love and do my duty,' he said.

Adam, 61, went on to explain why he couldn't fly to Canada, where Lydia's funeral was held.

He gave a big sigh and said to Joyce: 'I can only tell the truth, okay?'

While Joyce nodded, someone in the audience shouted at Adam: 'Keep quiet'.

Adam ignored the remark, and continued his explanation.

He said that around Christmas and New Year, when Lydia was seriously ill, he had called Joyce to ask her out to dinner, to show his support.

'But Joyce said she wanted to keep her mother company and didn't want to leave her alone in the hospital,' he added.

He also explained why he did not visit Lydia.

'Joyce says that every time someone visits Fei Fei, she would put on a spirited front but would end up being even more tired after that,' he said, as Joyce nodded again.

He added: 'Then when Fei Fei was in the intensive care unit, Joyce told me to wait till she was transferred to a normal room.'

At that point, many in the crowd shouted: 'They're just excuses!'

Adam said in response: 'Is it just excuses? Listen to her (Joyce).'

Joyce took over and said 'it was all a misunderstanding'.

'Today's memorial is to remember my mummy. Let's not be affected by all these rumours and scandals,' she said, to applause from the audience impressed by her maturity.

She added: 'As long as my family and I understand and we know the truth, it's okay.'

In the end, Adam did not get to clarify why he did not fly to Vancouver to attend Lydia's burial last Wednesday.

But in an exclusive interview with Ming Pao Weekly, he said he was merely following Joyce's suggestion.

'She told me that I'm old already and didn't want me to run around and tire myself, so she suggested I attend the memorial service (in Hong Kong) instead,' he said.

Despite what Adam has said, most in the audience did not seem to believe him.

A Lydia fan, Ms Cheung Lit Ying, 45, who was still crying at the end of the service, told The New Paper she doesn't think well of Adam.

'He's given me a bad impression because he didn't see Fei Fei off in Vancouver,' she said.

Another Hong Konger, Ms Cheung Lai, 60, said: 'It's very bad of him. We have seen how Lydia had treated him with sincerity. He's got to where he is today because of her. What he said (on stage) is revolting, I don't believe him.'

But Ms Clara Tse, 35, said: 'Whatever it is, it's their business. Our opinions are only based on what we read in the papers.'

Agreed Mr File Ip, who works in Hong Kong's Celestial Movies and had known Lydia since the 1980s.

He said: 'It's hard to say who's right or wrong or to blame anyone.

'I'm sure Fei Fei wouldn't want to see such a situation where everyone is against Adam or to have him bear such a heavy burden.'

Flowers fill HK stadium

LYDIA Sum's nickname was 'kai xin guo' (happy fruit in Chinese) but her final farewell was one filled with sadness and tears.

Her memorial service, held at Hong Kong Coliseum yesterday between 2pm and 4pm, was tinged with grief and melancholy.

Especially heartrending were speeches from 15 of her close friends such as television veteran Robert Chua, actor-host Eric Tsang, composer Lau Ka Cheung and a recorded video clip by singer Jacky Cheung.

As they spoke about their memories of Lydia, many of the 500 celebrities and 6,000 audience members were overwhelmed.

Lydia's daughter Joyce was constantly wiping away tears while her father, actor Adam Cheng, sometimes stroked her shoulder to show support.

Lydia's many celebrity friends who turned up included Patrick Tse, Deborah Li, Michelle Yim, Ng Man Tat, Taiwanese singer Ritchie Jen, Miriam Yeung, Grasshoppers, Law Kar Ying and TVB stars like Nat Chan.

As the service ended at 4pm, the celebrity guests queued patiently to plant Lydia's favourite white orchids and champagne roses on the stage.

Members of the public queued outside for their turn to make their floral offerings. The whole stadium was filled with the beautiful flowers and their lingering scent.

Countless heart-shaped wreaths dotted the stage just under five big suspended photos of Lydia.

On the floor, about 200 round floral wreaths filled the entire centre row of seats.

Apple Daily reported yesterday that the import of white orchids and champagne roses has gone up 20-fold recently.

The roses are mostly imported from Holland, Singapore and China while the orchids are mostly from Thailand.

Hong Kong's fresh flowers distribution association chief, MrWong Heng Keong, said: 'Because the demand for the flowers for Lydia's memorial service is so great, champagne roses from Holland has gone out of stock.'  Back to Show

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