3-9-2012

Ming Pao

MING PAO WEEKLY, VOL. 2285
GO SALLY GO SALLY GO! 葉蒨文

Sally brought her computer with her. When we were talking about some certain topics, she would show us some photos or video clips to elaborate her points. For example, when she was talking about how she enjoyed doing house renovations, she would open the photos to show us the beautiful design of the TV table she especially ordered from Italy and loved much, looking so content while talking. “I feel so happy already just by looking at it… aiya… Cannot go back to see it for one whole year…” Sally said, still the carefree spirit as always. Sally loves Badminton, interior design, golf, going to the gym, eating, and Latin dance. She's truly an energetic 50 years old and she never considered her age a secret. “I actually am happy to be able to show people that it's possible to be so fit even at 50!”

Talking about Latin, Sally clicked on a video clip to show us how difficult the steps can be. And she can actually dance them even more accurately than the teachers! Go Sally Go Sally Go! Even though it seemed Sally had been out of the scene for so long, actually she'd never stopped!

The Older, the More She Loves Exercising
September 30 will be Sally's 50th birthday. The original plan was for her to have concert on that day and celebrate her birthday at the same time, but there's time conflict because it's National Day the next day, so she could only move the dates to September 21 – 24, when she would have concerts for 4 nights consecutively. She went through an important transitional period after she turned 50 last year.

“I didn't have such strong feelings when I turned 30 or 40 as I did when I turned 50. I could feel the changes in my body right away. The flexibility was gone, and I had to push myself.” Sally had always been determined; she could push herself to practice Latin from 11:00AM – 8:00PM, as if she was in military training. “I am so happy I can still do this at 50, at least my body can still handle this. I love to have stamina and energy… and I don't want to feel lazy or weak.”

Sally sang SUIN GSEE GAY and danced the hot dance together with a group of young dancers who were at their 20's; it was truly phenomenal. “Even at that time I wasn't as fit as I am not. Now I'm very fit. You have to keep exercising, run on the treadmill; you have to go through the most difficult phrase. In the beginning, my whole body was aching, I couldn't even wash the dishes, but after that, things started getting better. It took me 6 weeks. In the beginning I couldn't even run for 2 minutes, and now I can run 18 minutes nonstop.

Sally says she enjoys exercises more and more when she grows older. She would listen to fast tracks while running, and would run faster and faster…” I would run until I could no longer feel how tired I am”… She fell in love with badminton and Latin dance 10 years ago, but the dance teacher at that time commented she didn't dance well, and her waist was too stiff. “My waist hurts when I play ball, but then when dance Latin, they ask me to do waist and hip twist… I couldn't do it at the time, so I decided to choose 1 out of the 2 and played badminton first.”

Love to Play Smart Ball
Giving up was never an option for Sally, so this time she will showcase her Latin dance in her upcoming show. “I would go to Latin club every Thursday and would dance there from 8:00PM – 12:00AM… it's expensive, but I have so much fun. Actually I don't like to go to night club, but it's good to help me remember the steps well.”

She opened her computer and showed us a video clip of 8 minutes, in which she danced Latin with ease to the Medley composed from the songs “Cha Cha Cha”, “La Isla Bonita” , “Woh Yeew” , without any sign of shallow breath or sweaty face.

Sally's strength and power were gained from rigorous exercises. She talks loudly, loves to talk, and loves to be with people. People praise her to be talented in sports, but Sally humbly said “I wasn't naturally good at sports, all the sports I loved were group sports and had human interactions involved in them. Golf is ultimately a mental game, you need to pay attention to the direction the ball is going, and be strategic with your swings; Badminton is a mental game too… I never enjoyed any solo sports… sports that take only one person to play.”

Being impressed by such passion of hers for badminton, we thought she must be an elite expert player by now, but Sally said, “Not really… I'm still a D Grade player… even after all these years of playing… too bad. But at least I have fun and I get to train my brain. I love to play smart ball… not stupid ball.” I also love to play badminton with men, tomorrow I will play with Hong Kong team's coach… When playing with these strong players, I don't even worry about winning, I am so happy already when I can win 1 or 2 points from them.

As Long as Not Stopping Me from Doing What I Love to Do
Because she fell in love with Badminton and likes to play with male players, in recently years there had been rumors about Sally emerging out of the courts… “Those are all untrue. I never really cared about them much, nor did I want to respond. Once they said there's something going on between me and a doctor who played badminton too. But actually in that photo they purposely left out Loletta who was just standing beside me. This made things really awkward among us friends. But the most unbelievable was once they wrote that right after Lam just finished his concert, I demanded him to agree to sign divorce paper when we were still in backstage, which made him go to the makeup room to cry. But actually that night Jackie Chan, Paula Tsui, Alan Tam all came and we were so happy and went to the celebration dinner together. So that story was completely made up by the reporter, but it's totally unnecessary for me to give up badminton and all my ball friends just to avoid these rumors.”

Sally and Lam have been married for 16 years; it's been more than 30 years since when they met each other till they got married. Even though they may have completely different hobbies and interests, there's no doubt they'd become the irreplaceable life partner for each other.

“I always play golf with Lam, but I can seldom win him. He doesn't play badminton, because that would affect his postures when he plays golf. He sometimes came to see me play badminton. I joined the CCC club for its great courts, couldn't find courts like this elsewhere. The other day my husband came to see me and asked me ‘Do you know there's a library in here? ‘I wasn't aware of that at all. I joined the club for 4 to 5 years just to play ball.”

Lam tried to learn to play badminton for Sally; Sally tried to learn to play tennis for Lam too, but in the end they realized they just loved different sports, and it's not easy to play together just for the sake to have something to call a common interest between them. “Well I don't really need to have the same hobbies as my husband. The most important is he wouldn't stop me from doing what I love to do, and I wouldn't stop him from doing what he loves to do either. We enjoy playing golf together. As long as he doesn't tell me what to do or not to do, it would be ok for me. He loves to travel. I don't particularly like it but I would go with him sometimes and would enjoy it too. As for eating, to be honest, he just eats too little. But we would be so happy when we find something that we both enjoy. We both love the Italian restaurant Da Domenico, sometimes we would go to Tai Ping Koon, Jimmy's Kitchen too.”

We both Love Interior Design
It's definitely an art for long-wed couples to manage their relationship; it may not be about passion anymore, but more about the deep-rooted compatibility and comfort, like the calming water. Lam had always been quiet, though Sally says he loves to talk more now, and loves to express himself more. “He read lots of architecture books. When we went on trips, he always told me so much about local architectures and buildings. I learned about house renovation and interior design from him. He loves beds made from beautiful woods. We have similar tastes when it comes to furniture and designs.”

The couple is the most compatible when it comes to making interior design decisions. “When we decided to renovate the house, our rule was we would only buy furniture that we both liked. If one of us didn't like a certain piece of furniture, we wouldn't buy it. Sometimes when he liked something that I didn't like, it would take him a long time to persuade me. If I liked something that he didn't like, I would do the same. Once, he bought a table. I said, “I don't like this table.”Then he tried so many ways to put it in the just right place to make it look good… finally he find a way to fit it into our house beautifully that I loved. We really enjoyed shopping for furniture together.”

In the past a few years, they renovated 4 houses in Hong Kong and US, which was a great accomplishment that Sally was very happy about. “I looked for furniture everywhere… and would only buy those pieces that I was sure I would still love in 10 years. It took me 6 years to find the sofa I love. Lam showed me a photo of it, and I called the company in Italy to order it. It took them 16 weeks to have it delivered to us.”

Once, she found a TV table that she loved, but because at the time the house was still under construction, she waited for 1 year before went to buy it, only found out the manufacturer had stopped making it. After looking for it all over the States, she still couldn't find it. “The size needed to be 66 inches, the color of the wood couldn't be too dark or light… I didn't find anything that's just right, so I waited for 3 years and we didn't put a TV in that room. Later when we went to the original store again, to our surprise they started selling that TV table again, so we bought it right away. Every day I would be happy just sitting in the living room admiring the TV table, thinking “I'm so happy to see you!”

Sally showed us the photos of the TV table on her computer. It took her 6 years to find the wood floor she loved too. Before that she lived in a hotel.

It would be Exhaustive to be My Kid
Being this determined and persistent is just the signature Sally. She used to have two Chiwawas which had appeared on the cover of Ming Pao Weekly. “They passed away long ago… I miss them a lot, so I didn't have another dog. The older one, Hua Hua, she ate too much and grew to be too fat, in the end her heart failed… the younger one, Chi Chi, she loved my maid so much. When my maid left, she was too sad she died from that… I used to sleep together with them… they could understand human's talks…”

Without the pet in the house, Sally doesn't feel it's too quiet, and she never thought it would have been better if she had kids. “I never wanted to have kids. I'm a big worrier, so if I became a mom, before the child was even born I would start worrying about his future and thinking about how to raise and teach him in 20 years. When he was still in my tummy he would need to start learning French, Spanish, listening to the right kind of music… I would worry about preparing him well for his future, even paving the path for him, and after he's born, I would worry about what's good for him to eat… so it would be totally exhaustive to be my kid.”

Lam has a Son Alex, and a daughter April, so Sally didn't need to have her own kids and she could be a relaxing stepmother already. Alex recently joined music industry too, and Sally told him he could look for her whenever he needed help.

“Alex always talks with me. Yesterday he came back around 8:00PM and said ‘so tired’. I said, ‘Tired? You should work even harder. You haven't even really started; you don't even know how busy and tiring it could really get yet. So don't let me hear this… you have to work hard now, so in the future you can have a good life.”

Even as a stepmother, she can be strict. “If I have a heart that's soft enough, then I could be a mummy myself. I'm too strong and tough, so being my kid would be like being in the military.”

Have Never Stopped
10 years ago, Sally came back to sing, released 2 albums and had 2 concerts, but after that it seemed she left the scene already. “I enjoyed life so much in the past 8 years, I played badminton, renovated the house. I really love watching movies too, “Project Runway” the reality show, “Top Chef” the cooking competition show… I loved CSI too and watched all Miami, New York, Los Angeles seasons… so I had been quite busy. I have many friends; so for 7 days a week I have friends to have dinner with…”

“I also learned a lot by myself. I read 20+ psychology books. I never loved reading, and barely graduated from high school. Once a fortune teller told me I should read more… I was 20 at the time and didn't like reading at all. But when I was 43, suddenly I read so many books; I could even get a Ph. D from it. It would be great if I go to study psychology. It's good to understand more about human behaviors, emotions, and their thinking; this helped me to be calmer myself too.

Even when Sally wasn't recording for new albums or having concerts, she still had a full, colorful and fun life. Singing was only a part of her life. It's only when Paco Wong, Duncan Wong and other old friends from East Asia Music looked for her vehemently did she decide to come out from her comfortable adobe and be back on stage again.

  1. 1990-1993: Sally received the “Most Popular Female Singer” award for 4 consecutive years.
  2. Sally came to Hong Kong to shoot for a beer commercial when she was 18, after that she also acted in a movie. From there Hong Kong audience started getting to know her.
  3. Born in Taiwan and grew up in Canada, Sally was the only child in her family.
  4. Didn't want to be a mother herself, Sally was still a strict stepmother and a good friend to Lam's son Alex and daughter April.
  5. Sally married George Lam in 1996. Their simple wedding was held in a golf club.

Original Chinese Text:
葉蒨文隨身有部電腦,說到某些話題,就要開給記者看短片或照片,譬如她大談裝修的樂趣,立即開出相片,讓人看清楚美國大屋客廳購自意大利的電視架設計如何漂亮,說時一臉滿足感。

「望住佢就開心,哎呀,一年不能返去睇佢。」一貫傻大姐作風。沙麗愛羽毛球、愛室內設計、愛高爾夫、愛做gym、愛吃、愛跳拉丁舞,是一個精力充沛的五十歲女子,年齡不是秘密,她說:「我想人知五十歲也可以像我咁fit。」

說到跳拉丁舞,她又立即播出一段錄影,讓記者看舞步有多複雜,自己跳得比排舞老師還要精準。Go Sally go Sally go!好像停了很久的葉蒨文,其實一直沒停過。

愈老愈想運動

九月三十日是葉蒨文五十一歲生日,她的演唱會原本可以順便慶祝,但撞正國慶,唯有提前九月廿一至廿四日開四場。去年四十九踏入五十的時候,她經歷了一個重要關口。

「我踏入三十歲、踏入四十歲,不及踏入五十歲感受那麼大,身體立刻不同了,靈活性消失了,要push自己。」葉蒨文一向意志堅韌,如軍訓,練拉丁舞由早上十一點跳到晚上八點。「我好開心五十歲還可以做到,至少身體還應付到,我喜歡身體有活力,不想軟趴趴。」

年初《勁歌》總選,她和一班廿多歲的歌手跳《信自己》,絕對沒有比下去。

「那時還未fit,現在I'm very fit。你要不斷練,在跑步機上操,運動要經過最辛苦的階段,最初我全身痛,碗也洗不到,過了那關就很輕鬆,我花了六星期,年初我兩分鐘也跑不到,現在可以跑十八分鐘。」

她說自己「愈老愈想運動」,一邊聽快歌,愈跑愈快,「跑到?都唔知」。她十年前同時愛上羽毛球和拉丁舞,但跳舞老師說她跳得差,腰部太硬。「我打波腰又痛,跳拉丁舞又要我扭,就?唔郁得,只好選一樣,打羽毛球先。」

鍾意打聰明波

不服輸是沙麗性格,這次演唱會她要大顯拉丁舞技。「平時上堂,逢星期四去拉丁舞夜總會,八點跳到十二點,好貴,但很好玩,其實我不喜歡去夜街,不過可以幫我記熟舞步。」

她開電腦播一段八分鐘的片段,將《Cha Cha Cha》、《海旁獨唱》、《我要》變成拉丁節奏連續跳,臉不紅,氣不喘。

葉蒨文強悍,是在運動中練出來的。她聲音大,愛說話,愛與人相處,別人讚她運動細胞發達,她反而謙虛了。「我運動細胞不強,我揀的運動全是互動,高爾夫是頭腦遊戲,看?球的方向,要打遠、要打直;羽毛球也是考腦袋,要擺位,我從來不玩一個人的運動。」

以為她全心投入羽毛球,已成了精英球員。「當然不是,我打來打去都是D Grade,好渣,最起碼我have fun,和練到腦袋,我鍾意打聰明波,不打stupid波,我又鍾意打男人波,明天和香港隊教練打,和叻人打,我不用贏波,從高手身上拿到一兩分已經好開心。」

不要阻住我

因為她迷上羽毛球,而且喜歡和男人打波,幾年來傳了不少緋聞,都在球場而起。

「都不是真的,我一向好少理,有一次說我和一位打波的醫生有緋聞,其實刪掉在旁邊的朱玲玲,令到朋友都好尷尬。最嬲一次是寫阿Lam開完演唱會,我在後台提出離婚,令他走入休息室哭,那天晚上成龍、徐小鳳、譚詠麟都來捧場,還開開心心去慶功,完全是作出來的,我沒必要為這些傳聞遠離我的羽毛球和波友。」

沙麗和林子祥結婚十六年,由相識、拍拖到結婚超過三十年,興趣儘管不是完全相同,但生活有默契,是無可取代的生活伴侶。

「我時常和阿Lam打golf,很少贏到他,但他不會打羽毛球,因為會影響到他打golf的姿勢。他有來看我羽毛球比賽,我參加了3C會,為了?面的羽毛球場,其他地方未見過,那天我老公來看我,問我:『你知不知這?有圖書館?』我說完全不知,參加了四年只為了打波。」

阿Lam曾經為了她學羽毛球,她曾經為了他學打網球,但最終各有所愛,很難勉強一起追求共同興趣。

「我不需要和老公有共同興趣,最緊要不要阻住我去就得,我又不會阻住他去。我們打golf最夾,只要他不指住我做什麼做什麼就OK。他鍾意旅行,我不鍾意,但我會去,通常都開心。吃東西呢?講真他吃得很少,但吃到兩個都喜歡吃的好開心,有一間意大利餐廳Da Domenico我們兩個都鍾意,有時食太平館、Jimmy's Kitchen。」

裝修是共同興趣

老夫老妻的相處藝術就是這樣,不談激情,而是細水長流的和諧。林子祥一向沉靜,沙麗說他現在變得多說話,喜歡搶?表達。「他看很多建築書,我們兩個去旅行,會捉?我講建築,我從他身上學會裝修,他喜歡靚的木,我們兩個鍾意的傢俬都是同一個款的。」

他們最合得來的是裝修家居的意見。「我們決定裝修屋,要兩個都喜歡的傢俬才可以買,不是兩個都喜歡的不可以買,有時他鍾意的要說服我,我鍾意的要說服他。有一次,他買了一張桌子回來,我說:『I don't like this table.』他拚命擺擺擺,擺到我舒服為止,我們好enjoy睇傢俬。」

這幾年她裝修了香港和美國四間屋,是她很自豪的成就。「我到處去找傢俬,一定要我看足十年都鍾意才會買,我找梳化找了六年,是林子祥給我看一張相,OK,我打到意大利去訂回來,等了十六星期。」

有一次,她看中一個電視架,但因屋未裝修好,一年後才去買,卻已停產買不到,找遍美國都找不到。「尺寸要六十六吋,木的顏色不能太深不能太淺,沒一個合心水,過了三年,屋內沒電視機,之後再去那間店,原來再有貨,立刻買回家,我天天坐在客廳對?它:『I'm so happy to see you.』」

她立刻開電腦向記者展示心頭好,屋內木地板找了六年才找到合心水,未鋪好地板前她住酒店。

做我孩子好辛苦

葉蒨文就是這樣堅持又執?,她以前養兩隻芝娃娃,出現過在《明周》封面。

「牠們走了很久,我好掛住牠們,所以我沒有再養狗。大一點的『娃娃』,吃得太肥,心臟有問題走了;小一點的『芝芝』愛上我的工人,工人走了,牠傷心死了。我和牠們一起睡,懂聽人話。」

屋大沒寵物,她不覺太靜,也從沒想過如果有小孩就好。

「我不想生小孩,我是一個特別緊張的人,孩子未生出來,已經想二十年後怎栽培他,在我肚中,已經要學法文、西班牙文、要聽什麼歌,給他鋪好路,一生出來,要吃什麼菜單,做我的孩子好辛苦。」

林子祥有兒子Alex和女兒April,沙麗不用自己生,可以做一個輕鬆的繼母。Alex林德信加入樂壇,沙麗跟他說,隨時可以來找她幫忙。

「Alex時常和我傾偈,昨晚八點回來攤下來,他說『好?』,我說『?什麼,你要再努力,你未真正開始,你都不知什麼叫做?,不要說這句話給我聽,你現在一定要?,將來才可以舒服。』」

她做繼母也很嚴。「如果我夠心軟,我自己就可以做媽咪,我好硬,如果做我孩子,就像入軍隊。」

沒停過

十年前葉蒨文復出,出過兩張唱片,開了兩次演唱會,接?又好像退隱了。

「過去八年好享受生活,打波、裝修,我好鍾意睇電視,《Project Runway》真人騷、《Top Chef》煮飯比賽,還有《CSI》很好看,邁亞美、紐約、洛杉磯幾輯都有睇,很忙呀,我好多朋友,一個星期七日約食飯都得。

「我又充實了自己,看了廿幾本心理學書,我一向不喜歡讀書,高中差點畢不到業,有個算命人說我要看多點書,那時我廿歲,根本不喜歡書,到了四十三歲,突然讀了很多書,我可以考博士,如果我去讀心理學,一定好掂,了解多了人的行為和想法,自己也平靜好多。」

不出碟、不開演唱會的日子,生活依然多姿多采,唱歌只是她生命其中一瓣,黃柏高、黃劍濤、東亞一班老友叫她出山再唱,才把她從安樂窩拉回台上。


Compiled at Sally Yeh: The Effervescent Queen of Pop
http://www.sallyeh.net