James Wong’s SARS Concert

Born in Guangdong in 1941, James Wong migrated to Hong Kong with his family in 1949. Known for his lewd humour and vulgar works, James Wong was actually a well-educated and talented man. He completed his secondary education at La Salle College. In 1963, he graduated from the Chinese Department, Faculty of Arts of the University of Hong Kong. Wong received an MPhil degree from the University of Hong Kong in 1983 for his study in Cantonese opera. In May 2003, in the midst of his fight with lung cancer, he obtained a PhD degree from the Department of Sociology, University of Hong Kong. The title of his thesis was “The Rise and Decline of Cantopop : A Study of Hong Kong Popular Music (1949–1997)”.

Beginning from the 1960s, James Wong was the lyricist for over 2,000 songs, collaborating with composer Joseph Koo on many popular TVB TV drama theme songs, many of which have become classics of the genre. His works pushed the development of Cantopop to unprecedented popularity.

This concert was held about a year before he died in 2004. Hong Kong survived SARS. The former colony even survived Covid. Sadly, it won’t survive 国安法. Colourful characters like James Wong, even if they emerged in future, will no longer have an opportunity to express themselves.

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