Lin Dai's life without end
Mon, Apr 07, 2008
The Straits Times
HONG KONG - For 43 years after her suicide in 1964, Asian movie queen Linda Lin Dai's belongings were left undisturbed in her house by her grieving husband as a memorial to her.

Visiting the flat in the wealthy Jardine's Lookout neighbourhood of Hong Kong Island is a step back in time.

In her blue master bedroom was the bed on which the Shaw Brothers star died a shocking death on July 17, 1964, after overdosing on sleeping pills and inhaling gas.

She was rumoured to have killed herself in a fit of pique at her husband.

Her cosmetics and accessories boxes were still on her European-style dressing table. Her Max Factor lipstick, its case already corroded, and her fungus-coated eyebrow pencil were seen in the cosmetics box. Also visible was some yellowed eyelid sticky tape, said East Week magazine in a report last week.

Singer Joey Yung, who recently shot a TV show at the house, found Lin's bridal dress and qipao costumes still hanging in the dressing room.

It is said that Lin, who was 29 when she died, personally chose most of her furniture and furnishings, and few outsiders ever got to see them.

Now that's going to change. A week ago, the memorabilia was moved to temporary new homes and, probably by next year, fans will have the chance to view the items at an exhibition.

Lin was the only actress to win four Best Actress awards at the Asian Film Festival and her famous films include 1961's Love Without End and 1959's Kingdom And The Beauty.

Her husband, Lung Shing Fan, died in April last year, aged 84. Her only child, Lung Chung Hon, who was only one year old when she died, is now a lawyer.

He agreed last year to give his mother's belongings to the city as he plans to refurbish the flat, which he owns.

Mr Lung, 44, told the South China Morning Post that scripts of his mother's films, books, love letters, clothes, accessories and furniture were moved to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum on March 26.

The flat also had her favourite English books, coupons from department stores and some property transaction documents from the 1960s.

More than 10 reels of audio tapes that contain interviews with Lin and her auditions were found and given to the Hong Kong Film Archive.

Mr Lung kept personal items such as family pictures, an oil painting of his mother and her identity documents.

After the move, the flat was left almost empty, except for a few family pictures and old wine bottles.

Experts say Lin's belongings have historic value both in revealing the lifestyle of the 1950s and 1960s and in being a slice of Hong Kong film history.


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