Maggie Teng to sing for charity

Maggie Teng to sing for charity

SINGAPORE - Veteran singer Maggie Teng will make a rare appearance at a charity concert with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra tomorrow night.

She was Singapore's first Mandopop export to Taiwan in the 1980s and is still remembered for her sweet-young-thing role in the 1983 local Mandarin TV drama, The Flying Fish, opposite Wang Yuqing.

She will sing four songs, including two of her evergreen numbers from the 1980s, Gentle Night and I Only Care For You, to help raise funds for the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital.

The other two songs in Cantonese, Love And Passion and Happy Are Those In Love, are popular tunes from Hong Kong drama serials of yesteryear.

The 104-year-old hospital, started by Chinese community leaders in Serangoon Road, hopes to raise $800,000 from the concert to help fund its expenses and the redevelopment of a new 12-storey building to double its number of beds to 600.

Teng, 53, who now performs only occasionally at special or private events, says: "I am honoured to be invited to sing for the hospital which will be Singapore's largest nursing home when the expansion plans are completed in three years' time."

The former St Hilda's schoolgirl, who entered the music business straight out of school at age 16 in 1977, was roped in for the concert by her long-lost friend Terene Seow, 58, a hospital board member and organising chairman for the event.

Ms Seow says: "I found her with the help of a friend. I think she is a draw for the concert because she still sings beautifully and looks attractive."

Teng, who was a popular singer in Singapore and Taiwan in the 1980s, left at the height of her career in 1989 to start a beauty salon. She had recorded over 50 albums, including many hit songs.

She made a comeback with the release of an album, A New Journey, in 2005. By then, she was married a second time to a Singapore businessman.

They have no children.

Later, she tried acting again, first appearing as a gambler in a local DVD production, Heng Or Huat, in 2008 and in a Malaysian-made movie, The Wedding Diary, playing alongside Malaysian singer Ah Niu and Hong Kong actress Elaine Kwong, in 2011.

In 1977, she starred in a 30-episode Mandarin TV series filmed in Guangzhou, China. But after several stabs at the big and small screen, she says she still prefers singing, but only as a hobby.

Under the baton of resident conductor Quek Ling Kiong, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra will play theme songs from Hong Kong series such as Shanghai Triad and King Of The Gambling Swindlers.

Another highlight will be the performance of the original score from local short film, Little Note, written and directed by Royston Tan.

Hospital chairman Patrick Lee, 66, says the concert is one of its major fund-raisers this year.

"When the new building is ready and the number of our beds is doubled to 600, we need to raise about $8 million each year," he adds.

This article was published on June 13 in The Straits Times.

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