Family and friends bid farewell to late xinyao singer Dawn Gan at Hong Kong memorial service

Family and friends bid farewell to late xinyao singer Dawn Gan at Hong Kong memorial service
PHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao

HONG KONG - A memorial service for xinyao pioneer Dawn Gan, who died last month at the age of 55, was held on Monday (Oct 8) at the Methodist International Church of Hong Kong.

A report by Lianhe Zaobao said that local celebrities including Gan's contemporaries from her xinyao days - such as music producer Billy Koh, Ocean Butterflies Music co-founder Colin Goh, concert organiser Cai Yiren and film director Jack Neo and his wife - were in attendance.

Gan's husband, her three children and her family in Singapore, including the late singer's two brothers, were also seen at the service. She had two sons and one daughter, aged 21 to 26.

Gan, who had been battling a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma since she was diagnosed in 2013, resided in Hong Kong for many years before her death. In 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She revealed her condition to the public in 2016 and said that she had five operations to remove tumours and a part of her lung. She died on Sept 22 in Hong Kong this year.

The memorial service, located in Wan Chai, was decorated with white flowers. Two heart-shaped wreaths made of pink roses were also placed beside Gan's picture by her family.

The hall was also filled with wreaths of flowers with condolences to Gan's family.

Gan's bubbly personality and bright pipes made her a star in the days of xinyao, which is a genre of local Mandarin folk-pop music popular in the 1980s and 1990s.

Many of her songs were written by fellow xinyao pioneer Liang Wern Fook, including her signature song Youth 123 and the hit ballad Your Reflection.

Her passion for xinyao and singing continued well past the genre's peak. She performed for a crowd of 2,000 fans at Bras Basah Complex in July 2014 for the xinyao documentary The Songs We Sang (2015).

She also participated in the annual Xinyao Reunion Concert series organised by Mr Cai since 2008, even after she was diagnosed with cancer. Although she was invited to perform this year, she declined due to health reasons.

Xinyao singer Dawn Gan dies from cancer at 55

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    Capitol Theatre was a sea of white on Sunday (Oct 14) afternoon as a thousand fans of late xinyao pioneer Dawn Gan attended a concert paying tribute to her.

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    The various Xinyao singers sing at the memorial concert for the late Dawn Gan.

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    SPH Deputy CEO Anthony Tan (left) and Education Minister Ong Ye Kung speaks with Jack Neo (back view) at the concert.

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    Film director Jack Neo, who worked with Gan when she acted in his movie We Not Naughty (2012), recalls that it took some persuading to get her to agree to be part of the film.

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    Xinyao pioneer Liang Wern Fook (right) pays tribute to late singer and friend Dawn Gan at a memorial concert held on Oct 14, 2018.

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    A group of elderly ladies were the first to arrive at 11am to queue for tickets.

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    Deng Shuxian sings at the memorial concert for the late Dawn Gan.

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    Pan Ying sings at the memorial concert for the late Dawn Gan.

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    Two heart-shaped wreaths were placed near Dawn Gan’s picture by her family at the memorial service on 8 October 2018 at the Methodist International Church of Hong Kong.

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    Xinyao singer Dawn Gan has died at the age of 55 after a battle with cancer.

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    Gan was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma - a rare form of cancer which affects the soft tissue and usually occurs near the joints of the arm, neck or leg - in 2013. The following year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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    The singer revealed in 2016 that she had five operations to remove tumours and a part of her lung.

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    Veteran xinyao singer and producer Billy Koh, in his 50s, confirmed the news of her death.

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    Xinyao concert organiser and founder of TCR Music Station Cai Yiren, 53, who has known Gan for over a decade, also said he heard about Gan's death from friends on Saturday (Sept 22).

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    Dawn Gan with fellow local singer Roy Loi

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    He had received text messages - some informing him of the death, others asking him if the news was true - but has yet to be in touch with Gan's family.

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    Gan had been based in Hong Kong in recent years. She was married to a businessman, with whom she has three adult children.

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    Mr Cai, who has been organising the annual Xinyao Reunion Concert series since 2008, said that he approached Gan to appear at this year's Xinyao 36 Reunion Concert but she declined for health reasons.

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    Gan's xinyao hits include Water Tales and Your Reflection, and she won fans with her bright pipes and personality. She was also known for Youth 1 2 3, the theme song for the Channel 8 show Happy Trio (1986).

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    This was the first time Gan had opted out of the concert, which she participated in despite her illness in previous years.

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    Dawn Gan acted with Joshua Ang and Amos Yee in We Not Naughty.

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    Cinema still: We Not Naughty starring (from left) Shawn Lee, Dawn Gan and Joshua Ang

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    Dawn Gan and Eric Moo

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Two concerts will be held locally in memory of the singer.

On Wednesday, TCR Music Station, founded by Mr Cai, will hold the Missing Dawn Concert at level 9 of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre at 8pm. While all tickets to the concert have been given away, those without tickets can watch the live broadcast on level 7.

Veteran singers Roy Loi, Hong Shao Xuan and Maggie Teng will make appearances.

Another concert, titled Embracing Dawn - Farewell For Dawn Gan, will be held at Capitol Piazza on Sunday, at 4pm. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis. The venue will be able to hold 1,000 people and a live screening that can accommodate up to 600 people will be held outside the venue. Attendees are to dress in white.

Liang, Neo and other xinyao singers are expected to be at the concert, which will also be screened live on 96.3 Hao FM's Facebook page.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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