Monday, December 9, 2013


Former Guangzhou mayor Li Ziliu pays his respect

When Law Kar Ying and Liza Wang performed, Hung Sin Nui was a frequent guest
Fong Yim Fun saw Hung Sin Nui as a sister and regretted that they never had a chance to perform together.
Pak Suet Sin, Yam Kim Fai, Hung Sin Nui

Hung Hung once was at odds with her mother.  During the Cultural Revolution she even named her mother in struggle sessions.  In 1981 she escaped to Taiwan and criticized the Chinese government.  Later they made up.  When she immigrated to Canada she wanted to take her mother with her, but Hung Sin Nui declined.
Joyce Koi
On a 2001 fund raising program, Sister Nui met with Patrick Tse, James Wong, Liza Wang and Wu Fung.  Patrick Tse even revealed her wetting her pants in the past!
Joey Yung received advice from Hung Sin Nui for her DEMI-HAUNTED performance
Jacky Cheung once performed SOU SHUYUAN with Hung Sin Nui
Ng Yu brought together Sun Ma Sze Tsang and Hung Sin Nui to perform
God son Ng Yu got to know Hung Sin Nui when they worked together on the Tung Wah charity show.  Later she became his god mother.
Roman Tam has said in numerous occasions that Hung Sin Nui affected his singing and performance
During the Cultural Revolution Hung Sin Nui was in struggle sessions with the Red Guards and her daughter
courtesy of
courtesy of
Hung Sin Nui's home was set up as a temporary altar
Hung Sin Hung
Hung Sin Nui's second son Ma Ting Sing
Disciple Kwok Fung Nui
Ma Ting Sing's heart ached when his mother performed but also understood her passion
Nam Hung feels lucky that Hung Sin Nui took her in as her student
Hung Sin Nui in SOU SHUYUAN
Hung Sin Nui was still teaching on the day before her passing
Ma Sze Tsang and Hung Sin Nui got together due to work
Despite life's rises and falls, Hung Sin Nui remained harmonious with her family

Fans pay their respect at the Hung Sin Nui Art Center
Hung Sin Nui has received numerous awards
Fong Yim Fun started around the same time as Hung Sin Nui
Three Cantonese Opera stars Pak Suet Sin, Yim Kim Fai, and Hung Sin Nui
In 2009 Andy Lau had a rare opportunity to perform with Hung Sin Nui
Hung Sin Nui was a happy elder who liked to have fun and was easy going
Hung Sin Nui was always full of positive energy and life
Sunbeam Theater director Lee Kui Ming displays the calligraphy that Hung Sin Nui asked to be kept at the theater when it reopened in 2012.  Hung Sin Nui predicted that she had one more year of life left
Hung Sin Nui (right), her daughter Hung Hung (left) and Law Kar Ying
Liza Wang coincidentally performs the opera that Hung Sin Hung recorded word by word for her during the March 1988 National People's Congress
Lam Ka Sing is not only Hung Sin Nui's co-star but his late wife Hung Dau Ji was also her disciple
Joyce Koi says that as Cantonese Opera descendants of Hung Sin Nui passing the torch and spreading Cantonese opera are the tasks at hand
Commercial Radio CEO Stephen Chan interviewed Hung Sin Nui on his 2009 television program.  Her optimism and youthful energy were very memorable
Hung Sin Nui worked in the fields
Hung Sin Nui experienced military life in STORM IN MOUNTAIN VILLAGE
In 1966 Zhou Enlai after watching STORM IN MOUNTAIN VILLAGE visited the cast and praised Hung Sin Nui's successful performance as a revolutionary heroine
Hung Sin Nui as Wang Zhaojun
Ma Sze Tsang and Hung Sin Nui were once great collaborators
Hung Sin Nui and Ma Sze Tsang in THE JUDGE GOES TO PIECES
Sister Nui in SOU SHUYUAN played Chui Lin with Lee Lung Fei
courtesy of

Cantonese opera master of a generation, Hung Sin Nui two nights ago during dinner due to myocardial infarction was sent to the hospital and passed away at the Guangdong General Hospital at the age of 88. Sister Nui's home and the Hung Sin Nui Art Center yesterday set up small altars for family, friends and fans to remember her. The funeral will take place on the 17th at the Guangzhou Funeral Home.

Sister Nui bid farewell to the stage of life. Due to how sudden it took place, her family and disciples were very sadden. No one expected Sister Nui who was so optimistic and direct in life would bid farewell to everyone in such a direct manner as well. Sister Nui's son Ma Ting Sing described his mother's lifetime contribution to Cantonese Opera as "Neither abandoning nor wavering, with neither complaint nor regret". Her disciple Kwok Fung Nui tearfully said that she had a date with her teacher to watch a performance on the 8th, unfortunately her mentor would never make that disappearance.

Hung Sin Nui's Guangzhou home had endless mourners from everywhere. Guangzhou mayor Chen Jianhua two nights ago arrived to console Sister Nui's family, as the altar played many of Sister Nui's past hits.

The Hung Sin Nui Art center in Guangzhou hung Sister Nui's portrait. Many elderly fans were upset and in tears, as they presented flowers to the superstar of a generation; students who were still children also lined up to salute their teacher.

Sister Nui's second son Ma Ting Sing yesterday said that it all happened suddenly. When he reached the hospital at first his mother was still in decent spirit. Later the condition deteriorated and she needed emergency surgery. He regretted that he was unable to see his mother a final time. He said, "At the time she was in emergency surgery and I couldn't see her." As for his memories of his mother, Ma Ting Sing said, "Mother can be described as "never abandoning or wavering, with neither complaint nor regret' toward Cantonese Opera. Whether it was in the midst of war or when the market was light, she still insisted on performing and teaching. Even when she faced 70% empty seats she still performed at will and persisted on that passion for Cantonese Opera."

Although Sister Nui was an artist of a generation, had students galore and was still active on the stage, Ma Ting Sing said, "I don't like to watch Mother perform. When everyone saw her artistic achievement and or her excellent stage performance, I saw an elder patient. Her health was very poor, when she was a teenager she was already often sick and taking medication constantly. She still wanted to perform despite all the illness and pain, but as soon as she reached the stage she would give her audience the best impression. However I understood that her happiness was the most important." Ma Ting Sing cited an example. Once Sister Nui performed SOU SHUYUAN she put her palm on the table but it had a nail. She was bleeding but performed as if nothing has happened. At the time Father (Ma Si Tsang) was performing on the stage as well and had no idea. Ma Ting Sing said, "To me, Mother's contribution to art and her patriotism are inseparable. Because she loved her country, her own people, she was able to love the art of Cantonese opera so passionately."

Her disciple Kwok Fung Nui (Guangzhou Cantonese art development center's first class national actress) yesterday held a memorial at Sister Nui's home. Her eyes were swollen from crying and she choked up. "At the bottom of my heart I admire my teacher. Her final moment of life she still contributed to Cantonese Opera." Kwok Fung Nui revealed that Sister Nui was still teaching in the afternoon on the day of her passing. She learned that on the night of the 8th she wanted to attend a performance to benefit elderly Cantonese Opera artists. "Sister Nui felt it was a good thing and even said that she had to attend. She asked me to save her two tickets." Kwok Fung Nui could not help but break down here. "Unfortunately my mentor will never arrive."

Sister Nui's Hong Kong disciple Nam Hung sorrowfully said that two nights ago she was notified of her mentor's passing. She was sadden and reluctant. She would wait for Sister Nui's family notification before deciding when to pay her respect in Guangzhou. Nam Hung said, "I haven't seen Sister Nui in several months, but several days ago Sister Nui called me and chatted for awhile. Both her voice and spirit were great. I never expected that to be a farewell phone call." Nam Hung revealed that when she was still playing Mui Hung (a bit role), she was lucky enough to have Sister Nui taking her in as her student. Yet because Sister Nui was busy, she did not personally teach too much. However the artistic spirit that she learned from her mentor was even more valuable.

Cantonese opera fans were happy to talk about "Ma Tune Hung Voice". Back then Hung Sin Nui joined Ma Sze Tsang's Tai Ping opera troupe and gradually learned to hold her notes, hide her breathing, finally she created "Ma Tune Hung Voice". Ma Sze Tsang was Sister Nui's first husband. Because Ma Sze Tsang often taught her opera, they grew fond of each other and got together. Sister Nui in 1943 was promoted to an official diva and performed in Ma Sze Tsang's operatic treasure THE OBSTINATE PRINCESS AND HER HONEST HUSBAND. At the time the diva who played the princess Lan Yan suddenly fell ill and could not perform. Sister Nui took over in the last minute and successfully saved the show. Sister Nui after becoming the official diva wed Ma Sze Tsang in 1944. They divorced in 1955. Sister Nui had two sons and a daughter, Ma Ting Cheung, Ma Ting Sing and Hung Hung.

Sister Nui mentioned the reason behind her divorce with Ma Sze Tsang in a radio interview last year. One night she worked on a film until 2 or 3 AM, when she took a boat across the harbor she saw Ma Sze Tsang Tsang waiting for a boat with another woman. At the time she realized that they had a "third party". The two of them have already been together for 3 years. After Sister Nui's divorce she gave up her Hong Kong career and returned to work in the Mainland.

Sister Nui later married famous Mainland writer Hua Shan. Her younger son Ma Ting Sing once said that his mother recalled that she was not willing to wed the first time because their age and personalities were very far apart. Fortunately they were the best partners at work. Thus she hoped her second spring would be successful in all aspect. Sister Nui and Hua Shan's marriage also did not last 10 years. When Hua Shan was seriously ill and bed ridden, Sister Nui took great care of him. Later she admitted to Ma Ting Sing that her second marriage "lacked love".

The Cantonese Opera star of a generation Hung Sin Nui has been performing for over 60 years in over 100 Cantonese operas and films. She created her own unique "Hung tune" and made major contributions to the Cantonese Opera development. Sister Nui once said, "As long as I live, I have to continue to contribute strength to the 'South Nation Red Bean'. To Cantonese Opera, I have always been faithful as long as life permits."

Hung Sin Nui's mother took her at age 12 to Hong Kong to study opera with her aunt Ho Fu Lin. She started from "Mui Heung" and her first stage name was Siu Yin Hung. Due to war she went to Guangzhou, later she with the story of Heroic Thief Red String changed her name to Hung Sin Nui. She performed with Ma Si Tsang and became an official diva, as she began the most glorious and golden ten years of Hung Sin Nui's artistic career. At that time Sister Nui appeared on the silver screen, performed in over 100 films like A MOTHER'S TEARS and THE EARTH. She formed an opera troupe and performed TEARS OVER THE PEARL RIVER and WANG ZHAOJUN to develop the Cantonese Opera diva performance to a new stage.

In 1955, Sister Nui gave up her Hong Kong career to return to the Mainland. She once was Mei Lanfeng's student and also received advice from a variety of masters. She finally completely her Hung style art. Mei Lanfeng gave her performance the highest praise. Even the then prime minister Zhou Enlai came to support Sister Nui's performance. He recognized Sister Nui's contribution and Cantonese Operas' performance. At a forum he said that the Kun Opera was the Jiangnan Orchid and the Cantonese Opera was South Nation Red Bean. Both should be valued. Sister Nui's son Ma Ting Sing revealed a conversation between Sister Nui and Zhou Enlai in an interview. At the time Sister Nui who returned to work in the Mainland said to Zhou Enlai, "I still want to make movies." Zhou Enlai said, "You are better at Cantonese Opera." Zhou Enlai even said that when Sister Nui performed Cantonese Opera she added a lot of film technique.

Sister Nui experienced the Cultural Revolution. She recalled that at time when she was not able to sing she would sing inside her heart. When she raised chickens and no on was looking she would practice. When she fed chickens she would hold a note and during thunder she would sing in high pitch. She was confident that she would perform again, as she just laughed at all the insults, criticisms and hardship. Sister Nui once said that the Cantonese Opera traditional had to be persisted but must change formats, only innovation was life for Cantonese opera. She selflessly instructed disciples and students without holding back at all. She was seen as Lingnan opera world's grand master of a generation.


  1. Hi, I have a question about Story of Heroic Thief Red String? What is the synopsis of this? I can't find information on internet. Exactly... Why madam Hung decided change her stage name? Thanks for your answer.

    1. According to Baidu, Red Thread was a Tang Dynasty heroine who in the middle of the night stole away a gold sealed box from the scheming governor's and prevented an impending war.

      Here is a painting from the Qing Dynasty:

      As for the name "change", perhaps the translation would have been better with "choice". Young apprentices tend to get stage name or nickname from their masters like Little (Siu) something, which they outgrow and have to choose another name.