My Grandma Didn’t Let Me See Her Photo Album Before She Passed, And Only Now Did I Find Out About Her Illustrious Life


My grandma passed 3 months ago in Feb, age 93, of natural causes. I spent a lot of time scanning photos she left behind for her funeral and scanned more over quarantine.

My grandma, 梁萍 (Leung Ping / Teresa Leung; sometimes “Liang” instead) was a prominent “shidaiqu” pop singer under EMI/Pathé in Shanghai, who grew up in and witnessed hardships during the Chinese Civil War, Sino-Japanese War/WW2 and Communist Revolution. Upon the latter, shidaiqu was banned, deemed “Yellow Music” (in Chinese, “yellow”, 黄, is a pun for “pornographic”). She fled to and continued singing in Hong Kong, then Singapore, before mostly retiring in San Francisco.

She was very private of these photos—I’d never seen them before she passed. My aunt reflected how she once asked her if she could look at them, and she smirked, “You can look at them when I go.”

Here’s a playlist of her music.

This is a condensed version, so you can visit my original Facebook album to see more.

More info: Facebook

#1 Photo Model, Around 50s

Photos are mostly focused on the 1940s, 50s (most prominent) and 60s, with a bit into modern times; and focused on her career, with a little bit of her personal life.

#2 With Elizabeth Taylor, Mike Todd, And Run Run Shaw

w/ Run Run Shaw (Shaw Bros.), Elizabeth Taylor and her husband Mike Todd (who’d pass away only 4 months later in a plane accident). Singapore, November 1957.
She was asked by Shaw to be a representative of the Singaporean entertainment industry to greet Taylor.

#3 In Her Wedding Gown

I originally shared these on Facebook to an overwhelmingly positive response and figured the Bored Panda community might appreciate a look too, into the past of times gone by.

#4 A Proud Mama With My Mom!

#5 With Her Mom, My Great-Grandma

This is a condensed version, so you can visit my original Facebook album to see more.

#6 All Styled-Up

#7 Obligatory Selfie, Nye 2013. We Miss You!

#8 With Marian Anderson

w/ Marian Anderson, one of the most important African-American singers who helped break many racial barriers. 1957.

#9 Beautiful Black Dress

#10 In A Cool Background

#11 A Candid Photo

#12 Posing With A Bike

#13 She Still Looks Beautiful

#14 Looks Like A Shot From A Movie

#15 Heyday

#16 A Watercolor Painting Of My Grandma In ’89, Which Hanged In The Hallway Of Her House

#17 With My Aunt

#18 I’m Guessing This Was A Broadcasted Live Performance On Radio Malaya

Malaya is a former name of Malaysia, that Singapore was part of until 1965… well, basically. The 50s and 60s were a crazy time between the UK, Malaysia, and Singapore).

#19 In Malaya, In Kedazaan-Dusun Tribe Clothing

#20 Another Newspaper Clipping, Competing For Miss Hong Kong

#21 Beer Ad

Advertisement for German beer, Beck’s. Was told that “Kunchi” is Malaysian for “key”.

#22 40s-50s

#23 With Yao Lee (I Believe That Is)

I speculate that may be Yao Lee by my grandma. Yao Lee was an important singer of shidaiqu, one of the “Seven Great Singing Stars” of Shanghai, and helped my grandma’s singing career. The two of them would sing together over the radio.
You may have heard her music recently in the film, “Crazy Rich Asians.”

#24 On A Bicycle

#25 A 1967 Release, I Believe

#26 Another Obligatory Selfie

#27 Concert

#28 Still Performing In The 70s!

#29 Concert

#30 Looks Like A Show

#31 Broadcasting Ad

Broadcasting ad, sponsored by a multivitamins company and some good ol’ Danish beer.

#32 Showing Off A Vinyl Cabinet

#33 Another Take From The Celebrity Party

#34 In Her Youth

#35 With Carrie Koo Mei

I am not sure who that is to picture-left, but at the right is 顧媚 (Gu Mei / Carrie Koo Mei), another prominent shidaiqu singer, who also starred in a few Shaw Bros. films, before retiring to Vancouver to become a painter.

#36 Playing With The Band

#37 Singing Or Talking To An Auditorium

#38 Another Newspaper Clipping

#39 Not Sure If She’s At Recording Studio Or On Radio

#40 Writing… A Letter, Or A Song?

#41 Singing On Radio Rediffusion In Hong Kong




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