Letter To The Editor
I just came back from the public wake of Anita Mui. I came across your article on her passing. I am glad to know she garners enough respect to make an appearance all the way in the US. But I just want to make note that she is NOT the East's or Asia's or a Chinese “Madonna" as she’s been referred to in much of the western press including your publication.
Anita Mui is Anita Mui. We do not reference her that way over here, we do not think of her in terms of the stars in the west. She is and was and never will be “known as” “Madonna of Asia.”
We see her as a quintessential Hong Kong woman and our biggest star. She was a symbol of Hong Kong’s people’s hope for democracy, refusing to set foot in mainland China until the day we achieved a democratic government in 1989, and was subsequently banned in the country, which was a huge blow to her career. She supported secretly “Operation Yellow Bird” which helped smuggled the student dissidents towards freedom. She organized a concert to help families destroyed by SARS. She started her own charity foundation. And she brought Canto-pop and Hong Kong Movies to new grounds, and was one of the most recognized faces internationally in terms of Hong Kong.
I understand that reference is to help western readers understand her status, but I want to point out the way she is framed in the west is not how Hong Kong or the rest of Asia sees or remember her. If anything, Madonna is the American Anita Mui. Maybe this sounds preposterous to your readers, much like the reverse sounds to us. Mui Yim Fong is an irreplaceable original and we like to see her that way.