Live concerts may not be an option amidst social distancing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but that does not stop the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) from finding an innovative way to bring elements of Hong Kong to Malaysians.
As part of a collaboration between HKTB and MTV Asia, Hong Kong-based Malaysian celebrity Gin Lee entertains Cantopop fans in a special virtual performance on this episode of MTV Jammin’, premiering on MTV’s official YouTube channel and Facebook page from February 4 at 7:00PM.
Having relocated to Hong Kong a decade ago to further her music career, the Johorean Gin is the perfect guide for Malaysian fans. From poignant Cantopop ballads, to mouth-watering delicacies and breath-taking outdoor destinations, the singer tapped on her personal experiences to introduce these distinctive elements of Hong Kong in the virtual MTV Jammin’ session.
Raw and real, MTV Jammin’ captures artistes performing some of their hits or covers in intimate, casual sessions, giving fans a front-row seat to these heartfelt performances. Gin performs three hand-picked songs and shares the inspiration behind them, as well as her most memorable experiences in Hong Kong. A big fan of Cantopop and its culture, Gin kicks off the set with 美男子與香煙 (Intoxicated) and reveals that she was inspired to reference the 80’s.
Given how the singer knows every street name, famous food stall, and outdoor destination in Hong Kong, fans may be surprised by her revelation that she struggled with culture shock when she first arrived. Gin confessed that her first experiences were difficult because she was alone in a foreign place, immersed in an unfamiliar culture and was not fluent in the Cantonese. “I’m happy to say that I feel like a local in the city now. Getting around in Hong Kong is really a breeze and I’ve made many valuable friends over the years,” Gin said.
In Gin’s eyes, Hong Kong is a wonderful place to explore the outdoors. “I personally just love places that are more tranquil, so every time when I have visitors, I would bring them to the islands nearby, like Cheung Chau, or Lamma Island.” She added that Hong Kong provides the perfect balance between bustling city life and a chance to escape to nature. Citing the iconic Dragon’s Back and Sunset Peak as her favourite outdoor destinations, the singer shared the important role they play in her music-making. “Being able to soak myself in the greenery and fresh air of nature keeps me feeling calm and recharged.”
Gin described the second song, 開燈熄燈 (Lights Off), as one that was particularly personal to her. Featured in her album Dear Secret. the song was written by Gin in memory of her beloved cat, who had recently passed away. She added that this incident affected her greatly, and she experienced a wave of emotion leading up to it, which she channeled into the album.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete Gin Lee concert without a Cantonese classic. 今生今世 (In This Lifetime), originally sung by Cantopop legend Leslie Cheung, is the title track for 1994 cult classic 金枝玉葉 (He’s a Woman, She’s a Man), directed by renowned Peter Chan and starring Cheung himself.
“Leslie is a legendary performer, and I’ve loved this movie ever since I was a kid. It brings back a lot of childhood memories,” shared Gin.
During the heart-to-heart session, the 33-year-old musician revealed that performing at the Hong Kong Coliseum ranked among the most memorable experiences in her life. “It was an amazing and humbling experience singing amongst thousands of people.” Gin shared that she hopes to perform there again, hopefully with her idol Jacky Cheung.
Before signing out, Gin made sure to recommend her favourite Hong Kong dishes to her Malaysian friends and fans: hot pot and dim sum. She urged them to try those dishes in Hong Kong once they could visit the city again.
Other virtual activities HKTB has organised in the last quarter of 2020 include the Hong Kong Food Week with GrabFood, virtual Cha Chaan Teng cooking tutorial with Chef Ili Sulaiman, and online Cantonese lessons.
From Grammy award winner Alessia Cara, to Australian heartthrobs 5 Seconds of Summer, to up-and-coming Asian artists Sezairi and Midnight Fusic, MTV Asia showcases heartfelt creative expression of its diverse line-up of artists.