Retiring to become a farmer

Retiring to become a farmer

Hong Kong singer Karen Mok is hinting that she could quit show business.

She says that her long-distance relationship with Germany-born husband Johannes Natterer - she is based in Hong Kong, while he is in London working in finance - is only a short-term arrangement.

"In five years, we would probably buy a vineyard and become farmers, grow grapes and make wine," the 44-year-old Mok tells local reporters while in town recently to promote her new album, Departures.

"At this point, our careers are important for both of us. Even if he moves to Hong Kong, my job requires me to travel constantly. So I won't be around most of the time.

"When we are leading our separate lives, we are very focused on our work.

"When we are together, we will be very focused on each other," says Mok, who communicates with her husband daily on Facetime.

While the new album's theme seems to be bittersweet farewells, she chooses to view goodbyes positively, pointing to the Chinese term for goodbye "zai jian", which means "see you again".

"Bidding farewell is often filled with sadness, but I choose to look forward to the next meeting," she says.

This describes her epic reunion with her first love-turned-husband.

Mok and Natterer were college sweethearts who dated when they were studying in Italy. They split up, but rekindled their love years later and tied the knot in 2011.

On a three-month holiday last year, they spent quality time together.

"My husband said that since I filmed the movie Around The World In 80 Days, let's do an Around The World In 80 Days," says Mok, referring to the 2004 Hollywood movie she starred in with Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan, among others.

The couple saw sights such as the Northern Lights in Iceland and watched macaws eat breakfast in the Amazon rainforest.

She says: "On the trip, it was basically just the two of us, 24 hours. To a lot of couples, it would be a great challenge. It was a case of 'Let's see whether we are going to argue'. But it was sweet and really lovey-dovey the whole way through."

She cites having "trust and confidence in each other" as the key to making their long-distance marriage work.

"It's good that we have known each other for a long, long time, since we were 17 years old. There's some sort of trust that is different from a relationship where you haven't known each other for such a long time."

Still, Mok is dreading her hectic concert touring schedule that starts in September. The concert's first stop is Taiwan, and she hopes to perform in Singapore.

"I'm performing somewhere every weekend. Obviously I have to be in Asia.

"He's already applied to be the chef, but I'm not sure if we have the budget to have a private chef on the tour."

This article was first published on April 29, 2015.
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