Straits Times, LIFE


By Boon Chan, Media Correspondent

Divas do not fade away, they just get better with age.

Fans who listened to the songs of veteran Hong Kong and Taiwanese performers Frances Yip, Sally Yeh, Zheng Yi and Julie Su Rei in the 1980s and 1990s will be happy to know that even though they are now in their 50s and 60s, they are coming back to Singapore to perform live in different concerts in the next few months.

Newcomers would do well to take a lesson or two from them on stay power.

The veterans might now chat about their children and even grandchildren in interviews but get ready to turn back the clock when they deliver hits such as The Bund, Ten Past Midnight, Feelings and The Same Moonlight.

Anyway, age is just a number, right?

No flowers, no sweet nothings, no candlelit dinners and no walks on the beach. Taiwan-born, Hong Kong-based Sally Yeh might sing love ballads but in real life, she declares: "I don't like romance, I'm very practical. I like a guy who's easygoing."

That explains why she and Hong Kong singer George Lam, 65, are such a good match. They have been married for 16 years. She says: "We started from being good friends from way back so we understand each other really well."

For her, happiness is as simple as having a meal or seeing a movie together. Apart from that, they have their own lives.

For example, Yeh has been learning Latin dance and will perform it at her concert at The Max Pavilion on Jan 19. To get in the groove, she has been hetting Latin-themed dance clubs.

So does she dance the night away with her hubby? She says matter-of-factly: "He doesn't like dancing, he likes to play golf instead."

She picked Latin dance to challenge herself. After all, she has already danced almost every kind of genre over the years.

On Latin dance, she says: "It's one of the most difficult dances. It's rhythmic, depends on technical skills and requires a sense of beauty and strength."

To inject freshness into her show, she will give familiar hits such as Xiao Sa Zou Yi Hui (Cool Walk) the equivalent of a Botox job through a different arrangement. She jokes, though: "But none for the face."

Her Hong Kong show had also featured an unexpected guest: Alex Lam, Lam's son from his previous marriage.

The 27-year-old recently released an EP in the territory and is not able to come to Singapore for Yeh's gig.

Yeh and Lam were surprised by the American-born-and-bred Alex's decision to enter the music industry in Hong Kong as they used to think that he was not interested. She says, though: "We're happy because our son can be by our side."

Having pop star parents is not such a leg-up into the industry, though. Yeh says: "We've told him that he has to go and make a name for himself and we won't interfere. If he needs some suggestions, we'll help, but we can't do this career for him."

They did have some advice for Alex: "Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly and seriously. You have to be a very good professional."

She also has an opinion when it comes to styling, as Alex is currently sporting a small moustache in the trademark style of his fatehr.

She says: "We all got a shock. I don't like it. I've asked him to shave off but he won't do it."

Compiled at Sally Yeh: The Effervescent Queen of Pop