1 June 2008
Bringing together over 500 acts from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and SE Asia, the Artistes 512 Fundraising Campaign <演藝界512關愛行動> concert took place this afternoon at the West Kowloon Reclamation Site to raise money for the Sichuan Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund.
The show started at 2:28 pm and went on until 10:00 pm, providing non-stop entertainment to members of the public, who were charged a minimum $20 donation to enter. 100 telephone lines were also set up for people to ring in and pledge donations throughout the duration the show, which was also televised on both TVB and ATV.
A one-minute silence marked the start of the show to remember the people who had died when the earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale, struck a massive area across Sichuan at 2:28 pm on 12 May 2008.
The first group of performers then joined on the stage to sing the campaign's theme song "Promise" <承諾> to launch the seven-hour marathon concert.
Stephen Chow (周星馳) had dropped in before rushing off to Japan, so he was the first to give his address on the stage. He said that he felt very strongly the feelings of sadness that followed the disaster, but now that this has passed, the efforts now rest on rebuilding, which requires a lot of resources and effort. He encouraged people from throughout the whole world to offer a helping hand and help fellow Chinese people to find their homes and lives again and for children to be able to go back to school and find their smiles once more.
Jackie Chan (成龍) also made a quick appearance to speak about how moved he was to see that 1.3 billion Chinese people are joining together to support the cause.
After visiting the affected areas and seeing the relief efforts first hand, Andy Lau (劉德華) shared his memories of how people were desperate to return to their homes, but were unaware of the dangers that were still apparent. He said that seeing the relief workers yelling at these people to go back showed the genuine concern they had for the victims.
Andy's travelling companion Sammi Cheng (鄭秀文) also shared her experiences, but expressed her surprise at how positive the victims seemed to be. She recalled how some of the refugees were still eager to get autographs and take photographs with the artistes when they arrived. Sammi also spoke about how she was presented with some photographic records of the earthquake when she arrived and when she saw pictures of dead children still grasping their pens, it made her cry immediately. She added that when an injured girl with a bandaged leg came over and told her not to cry, she realised how strong these people really were.
Leon Lai (黎明) said that although natural disasters are unavoidable, it is extremely encouraging to see how humankind unites after such tragedies.
Joyce Cheng (鄭欣宜) spoke on stage about how a young mother in Sichuan had sheltered her baby from the falling rubble with her own body and remarked on how noble this self-sacrifice was. She said that she had just experienced her first Mothers Day without her own mother, but she knows that wherever her mother is, she will still be supporting her. She felt that in the same way, this young mother will still be supporting her child because the love of motherhood is great until the end. She hopes that the orphans will remember this and grow up as happy people.
Former beauty queens also appeared to show their support as Michelle Reis (李嘉欣) expressed her hope for people to continue to support the fundraising efforts to help and support the victims and Anita Yuen (袁詠儀) offered her time to help answer the phones. Anita said that she was in Japan on holiday at the time of the earthquake and when she heard the news, she could not stop crying. She then donated all her shopping to the relief efforts and she hoped that the charity that has been sparked off will not just be a temporary reaction.
Taiwanese representative Tsai Chin (蔡琴) spoke of her admiration for the unity of the Hong Kong showbiz industry, especially the efforts of Jackie, Andy and their colleagues for bringing everyone together for events like this concert. She remarked that seeing such great work in Hong Kong, the Taiwanese showbiz community had to react with their complete support.
Diana Pang (彭丹) made a special journey back to Hong Kong to appear at the show. She spoke about how she had supported a specialist bone injury hospital in Sichuan and how this hospital had been offering free treatment to victims of the emergency. She also revealed that she has adopted an orphan who shared the same Chinese name as her.
The stars reacted to the recent news about Sharon Stone's earlier comment suggesting that the quake was karma against the Chinese people and then her subsequent apology for her inappropriate words. Diana said that she no longer looked upon the Hollywood star as an idol.
HKPAG president Alan Tam (譚詠麟) said that he felt that what Sharon Stone did was very political and she is now looking for an exit space from what was a very foolish move at a sensitive time, but he did not want to say too much about her. Asked if he would like to visit the affected regions again, he said that he was quite a sensitive soul, so he did not want to see the upsetting scenes.
Among the other celebrities who performed and spoke on stage were Eric Tsang (曾志偉), Richie Ren (任賢齊), Tony Leung (梁朝偉), Carina Lau (劉嘉玲), Jacky Cheung (張學友), Kelly Chen (陳慧琳), Denise Ho (何韻詩), Guoli Zhang (張國立), Daoming Chen (陳道明), Xiaoguang Feng (馮小剛), A-Mei Chang (張惠妹), Julie Su (蘇芮), Chiling Lin (林志玲), Harlem Yu (庾澄慶), Barbie Hsu (徐熙媛), Dee Hsu (徐熙娣) and Lollipop (棒棒堂).
After over seven hours of music and entertainment, the show was drawn to a close by Sam Hui (許冠傑), Miriam Yeung (楊千嬅), Joey Yung (容祖兒), Leo Ku (古巨基) and the final group of performers.
The total of donations pledged during the marathon show emerged as over HK$31 million, with the telephone calls still continuing into the night after the show had finished.