Grand send-off for flamboyant Taiwanese entertainer

A car covered with flowers and carrying Chu Ke-liang's portrait led the huge procession, followed by lion and dragon dancers, a marching band and a dozen luxury cars.
A car covered with flowers and carrying Chu Ke-liang's portrait led the huge procession, followed by lion and dragon dancers, a marching band and a dozen luxury cars.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TAIPEI • Thousands of well-wishers, including leading politicians, thronged a funeral parlour in New Taipei City to pay their respects yesterday to flamboyant celebrity Chu Ke-liang.

Known for his crude humour, the actor and talk-show host, who appealed to the masses by incorporating Taiwanese dialect in his shows, died last month at 70 after battling cancer.

The send-off was grand, with the entrance to the funeral hall decorated with a glittery gold sign saying "Chu Ke-liang's farewell show".

Notorious gangster-turned-politician Chang An-lo and legislative speaker Su Chia-chyuan were among the mourners.

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A car covered with flowers and carrying Chu's portrait led the huge procession through the streets, followed by lion and dragon dancers, a marching band and a dozen luxury cars.

"If you have any unhappiness in your life, he has a way to make it go away," said a man surnamed Chan, 60, who joined the tribute.

"He was a legend and a good person," noted Mrs Chang Yi-chuan, 60, who attended the procession with her husband.

Despite being loved by fans, Chu struggled in his personal life.

He racked up massive debts from gambling and was once shot while backstage at a show venue, said local media. He went into hiding in 1993 and did not make a proper comeback until 2009.

He fathered five children with four wives. His daughter, singer Jeannie Hsieh, is also a celebrity in Taiwan. The two were estranged for years, but reconciled in March.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Grand send-off for flamboyant Taiwanese entertainer'. Print Edition | Subscribe