Taiwanese singer Michelle Pan Yueh-yun's orphanage dreams

Taiwanese singer Michelle Pan Yueh-yun, who cannot afford to set up an orphanage, is supporting two orphans

Taiwanese singer Michelle Pan Yueh-yun, 57, laments that she lacks the financial means to realise her dream of setting up an orphanage.

In lieu of that, the seasoned crooner is sponsoring orphans living in eastern Taiwan.

"I'm not rich. I can't open an orphanage. I can only do so much to give the two young girls some warmth," says Pan, who lost both her parents when she was 17.

A single mother of a 15-year-daughter, she was talking to the local media about her dreams as she had signed on to the Dream Come True music label last year. Among other labels, Pan was once with Taiwanese company Rock Records, where she was its first artist, signing in 1980. She went on to release hits such as Blue Skies Everyday (1982), Spring Comes For Wild Lilies Too (1983), and Am I The One You Love Most (1989).

Her new label belongs to Taiwanese rock balladeer Chyi Chin, 55, her long-time friend and former labelmate at Rock Records.

Speaking in her dulcent tones over the telephone from Taipei to promote her first solo concert here on April 12, she says: "I used to get Chyi Chin to call me jie jie (big sister in Mandarin). But now that he's my boss, it would be weird. So he calls me mei mei (little sister in Mandarin)."

On a more serious note, she says she chose Chyi's music label because of their long-standing friendship and his wide connections in show business: "I trust him. He understands my music style. He is such a warm person and has such great interpersonal skills. I'm full of respect for him."

With the steely Chyi enjoying a boost in fame due to his stint as a judge mentor on popular Chinese talent show The Voice Of China, will she consider following in his footsteps and join a similar show?

"I don't think I will get the chance. A lot of singers are queueing to get on to the shows," she says of the reality TV singing contests that are all the rage in China and Taiwan.

More importantly, Pan, who divorced her artist husband in 2010, says that she wants to spend more time with her daughter, Hsi-erh.

She is proud of her daughter's artistic talent and she shares how Hsi-erh could draw beautifully from the age of three.

She says: "I feel that my child is growing up really quickly each day. She needs something different at each stage of her life. I want to be by her side."

Describing her close relationship with her daughter, she says: "Sometimes I have to be a strict mother, but sometimes we are like friends. Sometimes she bullies me and jokingly calls me a witch."

nggwen@sph.com.sg