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Interview Siu Yam Yam : a "sexy movie star"
Nurse, singer, actress 1/1 - Page 1
Info
Author(s) : King-Wei Chu
Date : 15/4/2007
Type(s) : Interview
 
 Intext Links  
People :
Chang Cheh
Chi Kuan Chun
David Chiang Da Wei
Bruce Lee
Ng See Yuen
Siu Yam Yam
Tien Ni
Movies :
Disciples Of Shaolin
Enter The Dragon
Golden Lotus
A Haunted House
Companies :
Golden Harvest
Shaw Brothers
 
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Page 2 : Li Han Hsiang, Moods of Love
 
 Notes  
Photo by Frédéric Ambroisine.


Glamorous actress from the 1970s, Shaw Yum Yum has worked for acclaimed directors such as Chang Cheh and Li Han Hsiang. Shaw was also famous for her role in sexy movies of the time. King-wei Chu caught up with the veteran actress in Hong Kong to reveal unexpected seedy sides of the film business in its golden age.


King-wei, shaw yum yum and Angela
HKCinemagic : Tell me how you get started in the film business?
Shaw Yum Yum: I used to work on a ship. I worked for the father of Tong Chih Wah. I worked as the nurse of the ship. One of my friends worked for Golden Harvest. At that time, they were hiring many Koreans and Japanese kung fu actors. My friend brought me to watch Bruce Lee's shoot. Lee saw me and asked Lor Kuan Chung, “I want that girl in my film.” He pointed at me. So Lor Kuan Chung asked me to do a screen test, my first film was Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon. So Golden Harvest arranged it for me. That's how I quit my job and entered the film industry. Unfortunately, he died weeks afterwards so nobody looked after me. I was looking to be a movie star because of Bruce Lee. I believed it was my destiny.
 
HKCinemagic : How did you get involved with Chang Cheh's company?
Shaw Yum Yum: The assistant director Chaplin Cheung introduced me to Chang Cheh. Mr. Chang had worked for Shaw Brothers. At that time he was working on his own company. Chang's Films. He brought me to do a screen test, [with] 10 men and 2 women. I was one of them. Chi Kuan Chun(Disciples of Shaolin), Beardy, Cheng Tat See. The other girl went singing instead. So she asked me to join her. The girl asked me to sing, I refused. Then she said that my voice is very special and distinct. She asked me to give it a shot. So I started to sing. No money. One time I was on stage, a talent manager from Thailand was looking for a singer; he was interested in my partner. But my partner showed up 30 minutes late, so the manager chose me instead of her.

I asked David Chiang about his opinion if I should take the gig. He said that right now I make HKD1500. If I go to Thailand , I can make USD1500. I found it to be a great idea. So off I went. David Chiang said Chang's Films is moving to Taiwan and that I can come to Taiwan afterwards. I went and sang till 1974.


To Kill A Jaguar
HKCinemagic : What was your first film after Enter the Dragon?
Shaw Yum Yum: I was working for Yu Do. That company no longer exists. Ng See Yuen asked me if I can act, since they were preparing Haunted House. They'll offer me HKD16,000. I was making USD18,000 per month, I didn't want to quit my job. The director said it was a ghost story, they'll shoot at 11pm . It'll be right after work which I had no problems with. That's how I started to make films. They told me it's a good chance that film can make me a star. Which will be better for my singing career since I'll get more clients. While filming House 13, everything went smoothly. Little did I know by the end of the shoot, the director asked me to do a nude scene but only from the back. The director put some lotion on my skin. The make up artist Lo Meng (not the 5 Venoms actor) told me if I put any on my face, I won't be pretty for 2 weeks. So I accepted. I was supposed to lie on the bed. When the actor came in, he'll kiss me and be on top of me. I didn't know that there'll be a zoom in on my breasts. When the film was released, I suddenly became a star. I was asked to appear in another film but I refused. An actor named Yi Lun said I won't find any other job. I didn't believe it. I tried to find a job, all companies refused me: “You're such a big star, doing that porn film. Society will not accept you. You can't return to your previous life.” So I had to return to making films. Tanny (Black Magic, Golden Lotus) told that there was no turning back, it's best if I continue to do films, just ask for a higher salary, after a few years, buy a big house and not to let others hurt me. So I had no choice.
HKCinemagic : How did you come up with the stage name Shaw Yum Yum?
Shaw Yum Yum: When I returned to HK, I was asked to have a catchy name. So Shaw Bros was famous, I used Shaw. The name had to sound well in both Cantonese and Mandarin. Yum Yum sounded nice. Hence Shaw Yum Yum.
 
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