God-daughters Zeng Huifen, Ye Sumei among those who say final goodbye to veteran actor Bai Yan

(From left) Actor Huang Shinan and Bai Yan's god-daughters Ye Sumei and Zeng Huifen were among those turned up to say their final goodbye to Bai at his funeral on Aug 23.
(From left) Actor Huang Shinan and Bai Yan's god-daughters Ye Sumei and Zeng Huifen were among those turned up to say their final goodbye to Bai at his funeral on Aug 23.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
(From left) Actor Huang Shinan and Bai Yan's god-daughters Ye Sumei and Zeng Huifen at Bai Yan's funeral on Aug 23.
(From left) Actor Huang Shinan and Bai Yan's god-daughters Ye Sumei and Zeng Huifen at Bai Yan's funeral on Aug 23.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Bai Yan's family members at Mandai Crematorium on Aug 23.
Bai Yan's family members at Mandai Crematorium on Aug 23.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Veteran celebrities were among those who paid their last respects to former actor Bai Yan at his funeral on Friday morning (Aug 23).

Bai's god-daughters Zeng Huifen, Ye Sumei as well as television actors such as Huang Shinan, Zhang Jinhua and Zhou Quanxi turned up to say their final goodbye to the veteran actor, who died on Monday, just months after celebrating his 100th birthday.

Bai's family members bowed as mourners made their last rounds around his casket at Singapore Casket in a farewell ceremony, before the funeral procession left for Mandai Crematorium at 11am.

About 40 people - mostly friends and family - attended the funeral.

Zeng, who is based in the United States and is back for a visit, choked up and dabbed away tears as she spoke about Bai - whom she had met while filming the local drama Blossoms In The Sun (1984).

The former actress, now in her 50s, says: "Every time I come back from the US, I'll visit him.

"These past few years, his memory has suffered and while he seems to recognise me, he can't really remember who I am."

Zeng, known for starring in Samsui Women (1986) and A Mother's Love (1989), had earlier visited Bai in hospital after learning that he was warded for pneumonia.

She says: "I was quite calm the past few days, but today, it's really goodbye. I'm sad, of course, but he and his wife were a very sweet couple.

"I think he will be glad to be reunited with her."


The funeral procession left for Mandai Crematorium at 11am. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Bai was married to local movie star Ye Qing. Ye died in 2016 at the age of 94, 72 years after they tied the knot.

Bai leaves behind three children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Another god-daughter of Bai - former actress Chen Bifeng - did not attend the wake yesterday. Her husband Chong Liung Man, a local television producer, told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao that she had a class to teach in the morning and could not attend. Chen is now teaching Chinese and drama classes in schools on a freelance basis.


Veteran celebrities were among those who turned up at Mandai Crematorium to pay their last respects to Bai Yan on Aug 23. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG


Bai Yan's family and friends at Mandai Crematorium on Aug 23. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Veteran actress Zhang, who played Bai's wife in Five Foot Way (1987) and We Are Family (1988) and veteran actor Zhou, who played the son of Zhang and Bai in We Are Family, were both at funeral on Friday.

Zhang, 82, says she found out about his passing on the radio.

She says: "He's led a long, wonderful life with many children and grandchildren. And he and his wife loved each other very much.

 
 

"I last saw him at his 100th birthday. For old actors like us, when we meet it's either red (festivities) or white (funerals)."

Zhou, who shed tears several times throughout the wake on Monday, says he visited Bai once a month with bread that Bai likes to eat: "The actors of We Are Family got along very well and he really was like a father to me. It's a good thing I got to visit him in the hospital before he died."

Bai's granddaughter Jenny Em, 50, an office manager in a books distribution company, says: "Our family is very heartened that even though my grandpa had not acted for more than 20 years, so many people still remember and love him.

"He was a very happy, healthy person. Even at his advanced age, he never needed to take any medication. We are glad that he left in peace, with no pain or disease."