Veteran local actress and singer Chen Meiguang dies at 87

Veteran actress Chen Meiguang’s touching performance drove many to tears at MediaCorp's 25th Anniversary Show.
Veteran actress Chen Meiguang’s touching performance drove many to tears at MediaCorp's 25th Anniversary Show.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Veteran local actress Chen Meiguang, who moved many to tears with her rendition of the Chinese song A Little Flower in 2007, has died at the age of 87.

Her only child, Mr Huang Yi, 65, told Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao that her domestic helper alerted him on Saturday after she was unable to wake Chen up for breakfast.

He immediately called for an ambulance, and his mother was sent to Sengkang General Hospital. The doctors there performed a brain scan on Chen and found that she had cerebral haemorrhage.

Mr Huang said his mother regained consciousness briefly and mentioned that SBC, the precursor of Mediacorp, had asked her to go back to film TV shows.

She died at about 8am in her sleep on Sunday (Nov 8).

Mr Huang said that his mother had been using the wheelchair in the last six to seven years and suffered from dementia in the last two years.

"A month ago, my mother would mention the names of veteran actors from time to time, saying once that Uncle Bai Yan is looking for her," he was quoted by Wanbao as saying.

Veteran local actor Bai died in August last year, months after celebrating his 100th birthday. Chen and Bai had appeared together at Mediacorp's 30th Drama Anniversary Show in 2012.

Chen left the Television Corporation of Singapore in 1998 due to health reasons, but returned to acting on an ad-hoc basis, acting in TV serials like Legend Of The Eight Immortals (1998).

Mr Huang said his mother's biggest regret is not receiving the Special Achievement Award at the Star Awards. Actor Xie Shaoguang, who won this award in 2003, said then that the award should go to Chen instead, as she was someone that younger actors should learn from.

Chen, who was born in Muar, Johor, in 1933, was a singer before becoming an actress in the 1980s.  A soprano,  she joined a singing contest at age 15 and later performed at getais. She used to teach singing and one of her students was Dawn Yip of the Jean Yip hairdressing business, who won a national singing competition in 1979.

Chen once told an interviewer that her favourite role is that of a morally ambiguous cigarette seller in Five Foot Way (1987).

In recent years, she was mainly remembered by many for her rendition of A Little Flower.

She sang the song at the Star Awards 25th Drama Anniversary in 2007, moving many to tears. She subsequently performed the song at Mediacorp charity shows in 2008 and 2011, attracting large number of calls for donations.

According to Wanbao, Chen was invited to sing at six concerts after the charity show in 2008, singing one song per concert.

Chen's wake will be held from Wednesday at Block 546 Hougang Street 51, with the funeral on Friday.

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