[ELLE (hk) February 2008] Idy Chan happy returned On screen, she was Little Dragon Girl (Siu Lung Lui) SLL – an angelic girl who lives in the ancient tomb. Off screen, she cares less of fame and put herself into religion.
In the first half of her life, Idy Chan has played 3 different roles – from a leading TV actress to a kind-hearted volunteer in some charity organizations and a total religious person.
Recently, Lin Mui walked out from her secluded cell and come back to the TV field she had been missing for 14 years. A trip returned to the showbiz; a step into the world again, it is a new path to her.
Idy Chan got popular from the SLL role she portrayed in 1983. 10 years later, she chose to leave the showbiz and live an ordinary life, working as full-time volunteer for more than a decade. 3 years ago, she even put herself into the religion she embraced and followed her master either to travel around the world or to live a secluded life. It was not until half year ago she agreed to film for TVB. Audiences have missed her a lot but also couldn’t hold their curiosity to know how she was doing in the seclusion and rumors of her relationship with her best friend as well as the winning of big sum lotteries.
Stop guessing. Now we have Idy here to lift up the veil and reveal pieces of her life in all these years.
1993 & after: worked as full-time volunteer
After leaving the showbiz, Lin Mui walked in a total different world of hers to the disabled. She always went to St. James’ Settlement to teach the disabled pottery. Hey this woman was not playing for fun. She had been there in service for more than 10 years.
“Why became a volunteer? Well I thought it had something to do with my mom. I was grown up in Tiu Keng Leng where at that time my mom ran a food-catering business. She cooked for about a hundred kids, from kindergartners to high school graduate, no matter they could pay or not. So in some way I would say it was my mom fed them to grown-up. Later my mom fell sick and I truly realized that some people do need a helping hand from others. Therefore I decided to help those needy with my own hands after I left the TV career.”
To date, Idy is still involved in volunteering work but using a different approach. In the past she taught pottery and now she helps sooth humans’ soul with religion. “I remember when I taught pottery, people had fun with just kneading dough and that’s all. But now I hope to open up their heart. I will tell them wise words and hope they could grow from it.”
“I asked them why they became extras. They told me they needed money to spend on things like karaoke and games. The more I pried, the more they felt uncomfortable. They were afraid if I was a social worker. So they went home and asked their mom about me, only knew that I am Idy Chan who played the SLL role in Wah Jai (Andy Lau 劉德華) version The Return of Condor Heroes 神鵰俠侶 long time ago.”
2004: give up Buddhism for Tao “道”
Lin Mui adopted Buddhism in 1977 when she joined TVB actors training class at the age of 17. A few years ago she started learning Tao. What is Tao about? In a simple term, it is a mixture of Buddhism & Taoism.
“I am a pessimist. At one time I thought I would become a nun. Religion could help people change their perspective in many aspects and in further it would change the surrounding around you and your relationships with others. I was a Buddhist in the past 30 plus years and I thought it was the direction I’d wanted to go but I found it wasn’t. I want to move to a higher level. I want to practice my religion when alive and skip incarnation after death.” Lin Mui recognized a master who is expertise in this area in USA many years ago and later she gave up Buddhism. She even moved to reside with this master and other two soul mates, living a semi-secluded life without connection with family and friends. “It is good to live with my soul mates. Our relationships are much closer than family since we hold same belief which unlike our parents, whom we may have different views.”
However, will Idy Chan, once a sweetheart to many audiences even Chow Yun Fat 周潤發 and Andy Lau 劉德華, be content to live a nun-like life? “I don’t think it is that difficult. Just put in some determination.”
2007: making a screen comeback
Gugu fans were all excited with the good news – Idy Chan is back. In fact she chose a high profile appearance. First, she showed up in Be My Guest 志雲飯局 and received interview by Stephen Chan 陳志雲. Later she appeared in ATV programme “Hong Kong Best 10 Scenics 香港十大自然勝景” as a guest host. And she has just finished filming TVB new series “Catch Me Now 原來愛上賊 （previously named 盜亦有道）”, collaborated with Damian Lau 劉松仁.
When asked why she wanted to return, she said she just tried fooling around.
“I think filming is kind of fun and amused so I decided to come back. I have been living for my religion for a long period and it’s time for application. In the showbiz I could contact many people. I wonder if I’ve learned where to put in my efforts and to let go, at any time. If I could then I am no more a stubborn gal. So now I sort of live a carefree attitude. This is a religious exercise.”
Obviously, the used-to-be rigid Lin Mui has changed to an easy-going person. Just like Idy didn’t film over a decade and suddenly she has to throw herself into this stressful working pattern, filming from dawn till dusk and to tolerate those on-the-fly last-minute scripts change that is different from what she used to. But she didn’t show a bit annoyance.
“Someone has already prepped me so I don’t see any big problem. Actually it won’t be anything if you chose to neglect it. The less you think of hardworking, tiredness & strangeness, the less they will be happen,” she said flatly. And she didn’t miss the chance to make joke on TVB. She said the way TVB filming is most suitable for those who need to play ugly woman roles, just save lots of make up.
“I think it‘s not bad to act those ugly & haggard faces when you are out of shape and filming until 5 or 6 in the morning.”
Idy Chan has always played those beautiful women role on screen and in reality she’s never afraid of aging. Even when she returned the media has never stopped criticize her bad fashion taste & untidy appearance. But she doesn’t take it to heart. “They have freedom to express what they think. They’d already labeled me as a beautiful & stylish TV star so if I show up not up to their standard, they will complaint. I really think people should learn how to accept one true self and live on. For example, some people can’t accept aging and they turn to skincare products & health food, hoping these things could help them look young but it is just an illusion. No matter what you do you can’t change the nature.”
Lin Mui has no longer care about this aging thing. In fact she has stopped using skincare products for many years. She cleans her face only with clear water everyday and even when she was under extremely dry weather in Canada, she just applied cooking oil on her face and her skin still looks as good.
“It is just because for the come back I’ve bought some make- up items like foundations, lipsticks and eye shadows etc. They are my ‘working tool’. But now the filming is finished I don’t know when will I use them again.”
“Will you film another series after ‘Catch Me Now’?
“I don’t know yet but we will see when the time comes.” She answered vaguely.
No assumption. No planning. It is her living attitude for now.
“Things will happen in the right time. You can’t make any guess so it is meaningless to make out plans meticulously. But don’t take it as you can do whatever things you desire. It is just not responsible.”
While she can’t promise for another series but one thing for sure is she will keep her religious practice. But how she will do it and where to go? She has to listen to her master. In fact, she has been traveled around the world with her master all these time. Last year she spent 5 months in Vancouver and now she is ready to leave HK at anytime.
“TVB is a bit worried if I will be in HK when they start dubbing for ‘Catch Me Now’. I lost my voice while filming there so I have to sync afterward but the timetable has not come out yet. I’m afraid it will collide with my traveling time.”
To support all these traveling expenses, I think one must be very wealthy so did Idy really win the lotteries?
“I will answer you in private,” she gave out a model answer but then added later, “Master will take care of me and we live simply.”
Frankly, I didn’t anticipate an answer from her mouth to prove if she had won the lotteries. But as an ex-Gugu fan, I am really happy for her to have found a way out from the ups and downs she’s experienced in life, even this path maybe beyond most people comprehension. (by Fanny Lam)
[Idy is such a beautiful person inside and out and I’m forever admiring her. It’s totally so cute how she’s prying on young extras while filming and they didn’t know who she was. It’s obviously she’s been opening up a lot compared back in the old days. I do believe that we’re born to suffer and Idy seems to become enlightened on the whole WHAT-IS- LOVE LIFE thing. Blah!]