Be Myself, Be Happy
Award-winning Cantopop singer and actress Fiona Sit has been through some tough times recently, but now she is back on track and living life to full – positively beaming with happiness. She shares some of life’s special moments with Artemis Lam.
“One of the happiest moments of my life would definitely be my solo concerts at the Hong Kong Coliseum,” recalls Fiona Sit, referring to the city’s premier venue for Cantopop superstars. Fiona has experienced the ultimate dream of Hong Kong pop performers not just once, but twice – in 2012 and 2014. And the good news for her fans is that she may be taking to the stage of the Coliseum again, although it would not probably happen until 2017 or beyond.
Fiona has just completed filming Barbara Wong Chun-chun’s much-anticipated Girls 2. She co-starred in the original Girls (2014) as the loud-mouthed sex-obsessed Kimmy. The film was a celebration of female friendship and girl power — a fun romantic-comedy that impressed with some profound and genuinely layered acting.
Now that filming of Girls 2 is completed, Fiona is considering her options. “I would like to spend more time singing, that’s why I’m looking for a more suitable movie script,” she says, adding that she would also love to produce her own film, although she would need to find the time from her current busy schedule.
The conversation meanders back to performing at the Hong Kong Coliseum. Fiona lights up when recounting her memories of her first-ever visit. “I remember when I was a kid heading to a Leslie Cheung concert at the Coliseum. I was so thrilled,” Fiona recalls. “It was not just to see Leslie Cheung perform — who was wonderful — but I already felt I wanted to explore what was going on backstage. Years later, after I started my singing career and attended an award ceremony there for the first time. The whole experience overwhelmed me.”
Fiona says that it was much more than a dream come true when she performed her first solo concert at the stadium in 2012. “It’s more … much more. It was not just accomplishing a goal, but a wonderful experience that was a new beginning for me and encouraged me to go further and do better. A great happiness comes from hearing fans in the audience sing my songs along with me. It’s an enormous support when thousands of people come to the concert, and join in and sing my songs together. I am thrilled they are familiar with the melodies and the lyrics. I feel so loved.”
She may draw strength from the adoration from her fans, but her family is her true source of love.
A conversation about Fiona’s family always begins with her mum’s cooking prowess. “My mum’s cooking is wonderful, she is an expert at cooking fried fish and chicken with green bean shoots. Her rice soup is my favourite,” says Fiona, who now seems to be licking her lips in anticipation of her next visit home and her mum’s cooking.
“I am a ‘food’ person, I like to eat and I am good at it!” That’s something that comes as a surprise given how beautifully slim Fiona has remained all these years. “I am not picky at all and I eat almost everything, though it doesn’t sound very lady-like,” she grins. When it comes to food, Taiwan is her favourite haunt. “Taiwan is a remarkable place for food, I especially love it. Whenever I have to go and work there, the first thing that comes into my mind is the food.”
Fiona’s voracious appetite is part of the happiness of life, but it sometimes comes with a serving of embarrassment. She admits at one time being a bit hasty when she saw a “delicious” and monumental strawberry “cake” at the buffet in a grand hotel in Taipei. “I saw a gloriously made cream pyramid cake decorated with strawberries and wanted to cut myself a slice. So I did, it was harder than I imagined when I started cutting and when I found foam inside I figured things were not quite right. The waiter came up and explained to me that it was a display cake, politely placing some strawberries on my plate.”
She blushed deep red, but saved herself some face by joking that she would probably have won a prize as the first person ever tricked by a display cake. Staff, noticing her embarrassment, presented her with a $500 spa coupon. “Though it was all pretty embarrassing, it’s heart-warming to get such a polite response and wonderful service.”
As delightful as this gift was, it was not her favourite. That was a gift from actor Joey Leung; he presented her with a gorgeous kitten named “Ponyo” – her first cat. “Joey gave him to me to lighten up my days when I had depression. “Ponyo” was a real comfort to me. We were inseparable in those days; I took him everywhere with me – to the office, the beauty salon, to hotpot restaurants and even to Thai boxing.”
Pets have been a true pleasure to Fiona, not only as companions but also as loved ones. “I once rescued a stray kitten, but it died after a year. It was sad, but I learned to look at it in a positive way – we should cherish the time we have together and not complain that the life the kitten had was so short life.”
When asked if there is any gift she would like to give and to whom she would give it to – Fiona was surprised and laughed. “That is a very good question,” she says. “I’ve never thought about that. But if I there were no limitation, I’d buy a flat for my two assistants whom I care for and love. Everyone in Hong Kong works such long hours we all deserve a place to chill out and the best place is our own home sweet home.
“I am very attached to the people I love – my family and friends. And that’s why I love Christmas the most. It is the festival for everyone, unlike birthdays belonging to just one or Valentine’s Day for a couple. Christmas is the time to share happiness, with all the glitter and fun of Christmas trees, Christmas carols and a wonderful Christmas dinner.”
Fiona also enjoys travelling with her family and friends. She likes to take her parents with her when she goes on work trips or vacations with friends. “It’s not easy for me to squeeze in enough time for a holiday, so when I do, I can double the happiness in one trip with family and friends all altogether.”
Fiona recalls her most recent trip to Finland. “My mom and my friends wanted to see the Northern Lights, although they missed it. The idea was so romantic and the scene was so beautiful! And my mom was so brave to sit at the back of my snow bike going up and down all those hills – it was the first time I rode one!”
Fiona tells me that 2016 has been a delightful year for her. “It has been a fruitful year for me. I don’t mean just for my career, about singing or acting. This year I have learned more about happiness. We might not think that much about it but we have to learn to be happy,” she says with a wistful smile.
“Life is beautiful and needs to celebrated. We should be grateful of what we have and look at things in a positive way. I have been learning from friends and mentors and I am becoming enlightened. Now I found that happiness is self-driven and it is a choice for oneself. It is about respect and caring for oneself,” Fiona says.
“I think we can all be happy when we are determined to be, even if we are alone. Indeed, it’s not about having a date, a lover or being rich. You can’t expect somebody else like a husband or wife to be responsible for your happiness; you are the one responsible for yourself. It sounds simple though, it is a big theory to be understood and mastered.”