Sun, Mar 14, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Nation bids fond farewell to singer-songwriter Hung

NATIONAL TREASUREHung Yi-feng was remembered by family, entertainers and politicians, with President Ma Ying-jeou thanking him for his contribution to Taiwan

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Family members, entertainers and politicians across party lines yesterday bid a final farewell to Taiwanese singer-songwriter Hung Yi-feng (洪一峰), who died of pancreatic cancer in Taipei late last month at the age of 82.

Dubbed “the king of Formosan song,” Hung sprang into fame when a song he wrote, Butterfly Infatuated with Flower (蝶戀花), made its debut in 1946. Other well-known tunes such as Memories of an Old Love (舊情綿綿) and The One I’m Missing (思慕的人) remain very popular among KTV patrons.

Hung formed a singing and dancing troupe in 1957 and began a national tour that received much acclaim until the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government began banning Taiwanese songs in 1959.

Hung moved to Japan to continue his music career. In 1962, Hung played the leading role in a musical that took its name from his song Memories of an Old Love. Its overwhelming success landed him another leading role in the movie When Will We Meet Again (何日再相逢) the following year and many more over the next five years.

His eldest son, Chris Hung (洪榮宏), was sent to Japan to study music when he was 10 years old. He later said that the Spartan-style training his father gave him from an early age dealt a significant blow to his self-esteem and to their relationship.

Chris Hung later developed a drinking problem and the tension between father and son escalated. It was not until Chris Hung converted to Christianity and introduced his father to the religion in 1991 that they found peace again.

Delivering the eulogy yesterday, Chris Hung, 47, thanked his father for teaching him to be a skilled singer and a better man.

“He was my best teacher and best friend,” he said at the memorial service held at the Bread of Life Christian Church in Shihlin (士林).

Hung Yi-feng was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and hospitalized in December. He fell into a coma following a bout of pneumonia and was transferred to a hospice ward last month.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who delivered his speech in Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), lamented the loss of Hung Yi-feng, calling him a well-rounded entertainer and national treasure.

“On behalf of the Republic of China government, I want to thank him for his contribution to bringing joy and solace to every family over the past 50 years,” he said. “I believe he will continue from above to protect this land and its people.”

Ma also presented Hung Yi-feng’s family with a certificate honoring his contribution to Taiwanese culture.

Chiu Kun-liang (邱坤良), a professor at National Taipei University of the Arts who grew up listening to Hung’s songs, had previously said that Hung Yi-feng “was unfortunate to have been born in Taiwan ... If he had lived in another country, he would have long been recognized as a national treasure.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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