Sunday, November 01, 2015

Meeting Teresa Teng And Mother @ Kuala Lumpur Part 1

The band leader of the Silver Strings, Audie Ng sent me an SMS revealing his meeting with Teresa Teng and her mother. When I contacted him on the telephone he revealed that:

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.

During one of his chats Mrs Teng had jokingly asked that he managed her daughter but since he was not familiar with Chinese singers and the Taiwanese music market, he declined the proposal. 
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.

                Teresa Teng Full Album of Hits from Candy Channel.


LESTER KOK said...

"She belongs to the pantheon of the all-time divas of pop…Whitney, Celine, the ABBA girls, Streisand and the likes. But more than that, Teresa was a polyglot singer and speaker (Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese, Cantonese, perhaps French, and then some). Her native country was too small to contain her singing talent and her ambition to share her gifts with humanity landed her in trouble with a faked passport for entry to perform as Taiwan then lost its UN membership to China. She could have chosen to retire at her apogee of popularity in the 80s and happily be the pampered 'tai tai' (wife) of some billionaire gaming mogul in Malaysia. Instead, she tore up the pre-nup and chose to soldier on with her passion despite her asthmatic condition since birth. For those who had the privilege to see her perform live, the memory of her mellifluous voice and angelic visage will live forever (You Tube)".


Hi Andy

As far as Chinese singers are concerned, she was undoubtedly the best ever with a soothing voice. This album happens to include all her greatest hits.

You have chosen the right one.

Meanwhile, Audie must have been feeling good back then, so lucky to meet her in person. What a lucky guy.

It is memorable history for him.


Linda said...

Lovely post and photos, thank you so much for sharing.

iconiaam said...

Ms Teresa Teng , no words could describe her talent
No amount of tears shed could bring back what we lost
The day she left us , asian music lost one of their most treasured voices.


Yes she is the greatest of all in this world, she has the sweetest voice i have ever heard. i kept asking 'who is this girl singing' her voice was so out standing she sings like no one else on earth; i was so sad to find she has passed away, i wish i could have heard her sing live. They should build a bigger and grander shrine to her. i hope when i leave this world i find myself in hers.

JOHN CHER said...

Hi Andy,

Along with yourself, Vernon Cornelius and Jerry Fernandez, I think Audie Ng has the most infor about local and regional musicians and singers. I always call him the local music "historian".

While she had thousands upon thousands, indeed millions, of fans, from some of the things I have read about her over the years, I believe that despite her immense fame, she was a very very lonely person. Anyway she is at peace now. R.I.P. Teresa Teng, the Lady with the Golden Voice!

(Part of JOHN CHER'S comment about Teresa Teng. The whole story will be posted next week.)

JIMMY CHAN said...

Yes, Andy I was with a group of musicians in Hong Kong called, THE APOLLO BAND only for recordings. Did a lot for Teresa n other famous singers.

Andy it was a long time ago. Did you know I was also with THE LOTUS with Sam Hui our lead singer? Ha, ha. One of our favourite songs was, BLUE SKIES.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you all for the comments made for this Teresa Teng posting. Commentators are mostly people who are involved in music, Rickie Chng, John Cher and Jimmy Chan, except for Linda who has a lovely blog and hails from Canada.

Rickie has been playing with bands as lead guitarist since the late 60's. He used to play professionally too at the former Ramada Hotel as a trio. He was engaged in other private clubs and lounges throughout. He is now with the ESQUIRES.

John Cher has been involved in music for some years too, free-lancing as a percussionist and singer.

Jimmy Chan is the top piano player this side of the Pacific and had done many recordings on his own. He was also accompanying pop singers from the 1960's onward for same. He is currently playing at the Marina Mandarin lounge at the Suntec City Bay area.

Victor said...

Nice write-up giving interesting snippets of the life of Teresa (and of Audie too) which I am sure many do not know about, Andy.

Hoe Ai Lee said...

Ah Teresa Teng.

How I wish I'd been able to see and hear her perform live.

Guru Happy said...

I'm never really a fan of Chinese music, but listening to Teresa Teng's songs and her simple and attractive personality, made me "think twice" about my thought on Chinese music. She's truly a fantastic Singer, and I'm now a great fan of her
(even though she's no longer with us), other than the King himself (Elvis)!!

JollyGreenP said...

Andy, many thanks for this post. Here in the UK we never heard of Teresa Teng and that is our great loss. I am sure I have heard her voice as background music on visits to Singapore but never known who the voice belonged to, now I know. What a wonderful voice, although I do speak any of the languages she is singing in I have played the clip all the way through twice today and can feel the emotion as well as the beauty of her voice. If a nightingale really did sing in Berkeley Square it was half as sweet as Teresa Teng's voice.

John Harper

LAM CHUN SEE said...

Thanks. Enjoy your posts; esp the one on Theresa Teng.