He used to service hotels all over S. E. Asia in the late 1960's and early 70's by supplying them with Filipino pop bands. He would fly from Singapore and visit these places regularly to either sign a contract with the hotel management for his bands to perform, or to check on the welfare of his musicians.
It was usual that during some of his business visits he would meet singers and musicians. On one of these occasions he met the late diva, *Teresa Teng and her mother.
He remembers that when he met her she was still very young and that she could have already cut some records with a company then. He confirmed the year to be around the early 70's.
Ms Teng's mother was a friend of one Mr Gan Ngoh who was the owner of the Mayflower Night Club at the Fortuna Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He cannot describe Mr Gan but he can still recall the club where he saw her for the first time; Ms Teng would jam with the hotel band by singing with them during the afternoons' leisurely breaks.
In the meantime, he would join in the mahjong games at one of the tables in the nightclub. Seated at the table was Ms Teng's mother. So they both became mahjong friendly.
Even at the time that Audie knew Teresa Teng he realised she had the potential to be a successful singer because she was very pretty and had such a pleasant voice. A professor of cultural theory once remarked that it was the sweetness of her voice that made her famous.
He exclaimed that he fell in love with her voice and pretty face, otherwise he would probably be rich and famous managing her. As he chuckled over the phone I sensed the tone of humour, "I was also married la..."
During his time in show business since the 1970's he had the opportunity of meeting and chatting close-up with four South East Asian divas, Anita Sarawak from Singapore and Malaysia; Francis Yip from Hong Kong; Irene Ryder from the Philippines but based in Hong Kong and of course Teresa Teng from Taiwan.*Teresa Teng (January 29, 1953 – May 8, 1995) was a Taiwanese pop singer and well know for her romantic ballads and folk numbers. These songs have become so familiar that The Moon Represents My Heart and When Will You Return have become evergreens, even among the non-Chinese.
She had recorded songs in Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hokkien, Cantonese, Japanese, Indonesian and English. At 42 she passed on in 1995 from a severe respiratory attack while on holiday in Thailand.
Images: A personal collection; Google.
The tale above is by Audie Ng, leader and bass player of Singapore's pop 60's band The Silver Strings.
Disclaimer: Blog owner cannot ascertain as to the authenticity of the story.