Run Run Shaw's last years

An undated photo released by

Frail but Hong Kong entertainment tycoon found time for afternoon tea at swanky hotel with his wife.

IN his last years, media mogul Sir Run Run Shaw was increasingly frail and as his memory faded, the only person he recognised was his wife Mona Fong, said Hong Kong’s Apple Daily.

Citing an unnamed insider, the report said Shaw, who died on Tuesday at age 106, lived a reclusive life after a serious illness in 2008, when he was hospitalised for at least 10 days.

For the next three years, he did not show up for his television station TVB’s anniversary, which is celebrated on his reported birthday in November every year, said the newspaper.

In the past two years, he was also absent from the Shaw Prize ceremony, which rewards excellence in mathematics, astronomy and science, said the report.

Because of his advanced age, doctors advised him against going out to prevent him from catching a cold or a bacterial infection, said the newspaper.

He stayed in Hong Kong’s St Theresa’s Hospital for a week in 2006 where he was treated for pneumonia. In 2008, his hospital stay was at least 10 days but his wife said it was a check-up.

Apple Daily said he made one of his last public appearances in October 2011, when he dined out with his wife, her sister and other relatives. They were at ifc mall at the time.

The report said Fong, 83, seldom went out with him in recent years, but he would complain like a child that he was bored and she would then put away her work and go for a drive with him. But she would not let him get out of the car and he had to go home and rest when he was tired.

The newspaper said they still did one of his favourite things, going for afternoon tea at The Peninsula Hong Kong hotel.

The report said that in his old age, he still got out of bed early every morning to practise qigong. He also walked around his home and meditated for an hour before going to bed at 8pm.

His better half

Shaw married Fong, his second wife, in 1997, about 10 years after his first wife, Lily, died.

According to The Sun, he met Fong when she sang at a nightclub in Singapore in 1952. Shaw, whose theatre was downstairs, hit it off with her instantly, the report said.

Later, she joined his film studio as a dubbing singer and they struck up a romance. She became a procurement manager of Shaw Brothers in 1969 and then deputy chairman by 1999.

In the 1970s, the couple started going out together, said The Sun. Although she became known as his “other half”, she took it in her stride and said he had five roles in her life, “mentor, boss, father, friend, brother”.

She once said she did not mind not being married to him. Still, she became Mrs Shaw when they tied the knot in Las Vegas in 1997.

Apparently, he decided to marry her and make things official after he witnessed the family dispute of Cantonese opera singer Sun Ma Tze Tsang, who had many wives and many children.

She once said she and her husband had similar personalities, said the newspaper.

They could work day and night, and entertainment was the most important part of their lives, she explained. – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

Related story:
Movie mogul Run Run Shaw dies

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