I follow news in Hong Kong fairly irregularly but recently, there seems to be dark clouds hanging over the city (for good reasons) and it’s difficult to find the light at the end of the tunnel. However, after seeing some articles / commentary on what Joyce Cheng (鄭欣宜 ) said, at least I thought this was something more positive.
For the uninitiated, Joyce Cheng is the daughter of famous entertainer Lydia Sum Tin Ha (沈殿霞) and actor Adam Cheng Siu Chow (鄭少秋). Her parents separated when she was just eight months old so Lydia was the one who raised her. Although she grew up in Canada, she also appeared in many variety shows with her mum. Since she inherited her mother’s figure – it was reported her weight was around 100kg when she was just 15 years old.
In 2003, Joyce became the spokesperson for a weight loss company and her weight dropped to about 51kg. This dramatic change was the talk of the town. We all watched Joyce grew up in front of the screen and this transformation earned her many praises. She even released a book called ‘My weight loss diary’. Many people wanted to know her secret.
When her mother became ill and later died from cancer in 2008, Joyce chose to remain in Hong Kong to build a career in acting and singing. However, ever since then her weight had always created headlines.
Recently, Joyce signed with a new management company and one of the conditions she set? No more diets! She is filming a new movie and what does the media write about? Her exploding 200lb figure – saying she has ballooned back and declaring she has wasted all the hard work she did previously.
(All these figures written by the media are always half truths… more of an exaggeration it seems. It’s not like they *know* the true weight of these celebrities.)
So in response, Joyce posted this on her Facebook page:
Ever since I was young, fat = me.
Without confidence, everyone was always mocking me. From little things like going on a roller coaster, to big occasions like my graduation ceremony, everyone only cares about my body shape. Roller coaster? Can you fit? Can you fasten the seat belt? Are you graduating? Do you need to custom make your gown? Do they have your size?
No one wants to know whether I had a good time?
No one wants to know whether I got good results?
I decided to lose weight!
To become just an ordinary person in this world,
I’m not a fat bitch, not the ultimate pork chop (pork chop = ugly / undesirable)
My wish was to become an ordinary person.
I really lost weight and I really became an ordinary person.
I received so many praises, so many opportunities, for these
I was living an insane life.
My body was used to being fat, no matter what medication I took, how much I refrained from eating, how much I exercised,
my stomach pains remained. It’s like my body was telling me, I’m hungry, I didn’t eat enough.
With the stomach pains I had insomnia.
For so many nights I asked myself –
is that how I should live my life?
During these long nights, I started to notice what others thought of me.
There’re praises and of course, criticisms.
Everyone was saying, you were born fat. Why change it? You want to become a hot girl? Shameless. Do you know what you want?
So, maybe being fat is a sin. A sin you have to bear for a lifetime.
There wasn’t anyone beside me who could help, my closest person had left.
I fell into a world without happiness,
only diet, diet, diet.
I forgot about life’s most precious thing,
that is your health.
With your health, you can do anything.
Without your health, you have nothing.
It all started to sink in, I thought about my life,
thought about how I should face myself.
I started to regroup,
start a healthy life, no longer forcing myself, I won’t ignore my heart.
With health, I will have happiness.
Happiness should come from within, not from others.
In the past I was afraid my mum will be happy, afraid that she would find out others are mocking her daughter, afraid of embarrassing her, so I’ll work extra hard for everything. Just like that, I didn’t think about myself.
Yesterday, my body shape became a focus again.
If this happened in the past, I think I would’ve had a breakdown because this will make my mum unhappy. Those who care about me would be disappointed.
But now it’s different, I want to tell everyone, you need to be yourself, you need to make yourself happy, need to make yourself healthy.
My new life is beginning now.
Nothing will defeat me
because I understand myself.
I rediscovered myself.
If you are facing any difficulties in your life,
please look at me. If I can bear it, you definitely can too! Please don’t let your happiness depend on your body shape! Everyone work hard!
Her message gained the support of many netizens (over 114k likes!), including this touching reply from good friend and fellow singer Alfred Hui:
Good brother… we share many great memories, I’ve always been the listener, because you talk about everything, except your body. I’ve seen you not eat anything except for nutrition drinks for a week. It was just for the recording of a TV show. I’ve seen that when you were unhappy, your tears can keep flowing for 15 minutes. After supper, after singing karaoke, you can suddenly cry, and then smile.
I’ve secretly tried to ask the ‘sister’ who looks after you, she said you often don’t sleep at all. It seems like you have endless energy, she was also curious – what are you made of?
This shows what I didn’t know before, after reading your post, I’ve found the answer.
As a friend, I can’t imagine how a person can handle all of this. I think, what I can do is continue to be a listener.
Joyce Cheng, I’m here for your 24 hours a day, call me anytime.
Isn’t that sweet?
In a small city / market like Hong Kong, it’s becoming increasing difficult to make a living as a singer, especially for females. Everyone has to stick to a certain body shape since it’s the ‘norm’. In the past, one or two bigger singers can make it but I would imagine no one really wants to take a risk if they fall outside of what the audience is used to. Joyce grew up in the public eye and have always been plagued by criticisms whether it’s about her weight or about her only became famous because of her parents. It’s really great to see her finding an inner peace and the confidence to keep going on her own terms. Add Oil Joyce!
And of course I’ll have to include a couple of her songs here. 🙂 She has a good voice!
If anyone has watched the super long running TVB series ‘Come Home Love‘, you should know this song – Embrace Love (擁抱愛) already!
有故事的人 (A person with a story) – from her first album
This was the theme song to Part 1 of A Time of Love – Unforgettable (愛莫忘).
Finally… I quite like this song as well. Love without maybe (愛沒如果) – it’s the Cantonese version of this F.I.R song.