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December 27, 2009

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Cantopop king delves into jade

CONSIDERED a legend of the Hong Kong entertainment scene, Alan Tam (pictured top) has served as a mentor for the Cantopop music industry, earning the nickname the "Principal" or "Principal Tam."

On December 19, Tam was in Shanghai at Inter-Continental Shanghai Puxi Hotel and accepted a media interview.

However, this time he wasn't promoting a concert, new album or film. As a shareholder of Jadelink, he was in town to promote a jade piece called "Heart of Earth."

Tam started singing with the band Wynner in the 1970s and the group was considered the first pop music band in Hong Kong.

Tam went on to a successful solo career in the early 1980s. He has played a major role in developing the Cantopop scene with his famous ballads such as "Love In Autumn," "Embrace" and "Love Trap."

He was involved in the beginning of the golden age of Cantopop in the 1980s along with household names like Leslie Cheung (1956-2003), Danny Chen (1958-1993) and Anita Mui (1963-2003).

Tam is still active in the music industry and releases new albums on a regular basis. He is also a successful film actor.

He starred in "Armour of God" with action superstar Jackie Chan and won best actor at the Golden Horse Awards for his role in "If I Were For Real."

Tam is regularly seen across the media in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Chinese mainland, and other parts of East Asia.

He participates in many types of entertainment related events and charity activities.

Q: Why did you come to Shanghai this time?

A: I came here to promote an exhibition of a precious jade - "Heart of Earth" which weighs about 10 tons and is valued at 280 million yuan (US$40.99 million).

It is displayed at Inter-Continental Shanghai Puxi Hotel until January 31, and also under the arrangement of a public auction.

Q: You are regarded as one of the most successful artists and businessmen in the Hong Kong entertainment circle, what kind of businesses have you invested in?

A: I have invested in many businesses including restaurants, bars, real estate, and now, of course, the jade company Jadelink.

Q: What made you decide to invest in the jade business?

A: Besides the high profits in this business, I love jade very much. It's not only one of my businesses, but one of my favorites.

I have some friends who are jade experts and I have also been to Myanmar, the home of jade, to pick up jade and learn more about the stones.

I am confident of this market.

Q: Will you give jade as gifts to your family members or friends?

A: Of course, many of them also love jade. (Laughing).

Q: You have announced that you would be "forever young." How do you keep young?

A: I am always kidding that I take antiseptics to keep fresh, but of course not.

I think keeping fit and keeping the mind young are the keys for being young.

Q: The band Wynners held the Wyners 33 Good Time Concert in Shanghai this April. Some fans of the Wynners are worried it will be their last public show in Shanghai. Is that true?

A: We have never announced that the band has split up even though this old group has been together for more than 30 years.

And now the five of us have also already developed solo careers for many years, doing great things in music and dramas.

The group has since reunited on stage every five years to sold-out crowds.

I think that's also part of the reason why we are still so popular today.


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