THE respect shown by Penangites towards the elderly is one reason why Hong Kong actress Petrina Fung Bo Bo has fallen in love with the state and has even bought a penthouse here.
The actress, who is more popularly known as Oriental Shirley Temple, said she chanced upon a girl in her 20s walking into a restaurant with her friends during one of her outings here.
“In her arm was the hand of her granny whom she held closely to her as she helped her to sit down for a nice meal.
“She was taking good care of her granny and I could see lots of love between them.
“This planted the seed of my love for Penang island and I decided to make it my home base,” she said in an interview.
Fung, who rose to fame as a child star, said there was limited space in the houses and flats in Hong Kong.
She said many elderly people were placed in old folks home when they reached their 60s.
Fung, who bought a penthouse that “overlooks the blue sea” in Penang last year, had wanted to move into the place this month to start writing her memoirs.
However, she faced some problems from the residents association chairman over floor renovation.
“So my plans had to be postponed. I expect to move in at least six months to settle the issue and after renovation works are completed,” she said.
Fung, who married Malaysian architect Yoong Siew Chuen in 1997, would be making Penang her home but she would be shuttling to China and Taiwan for work.
The London display and interior design graduate did the entire design for her Penang home by herself.
Speaking of her six grandchildren aged six to 12 who call her Pet Pet (short for Petrina) Por Por. Fung said she celebrates her birthday every year with the youngest granddaughter who shares the same birthdate with her.
Fung, who declined to reveal her age but is believed to be 64, said given the choice, she would not have become an actress.
Recalling her childhood experiences in film production, Fung said she loved asking questions and would always ask for the reason when the production team told her she had to cry.
“My stepmother would pinch me to make me cry,” she said.
Fung did not know how much was the pay given to her as her father received all the money.
“He had three wives and their children and all the money went to them.
“When I wanted to do my studies, he could not afford to pay for it.
“It was the parents of a fan from Malaysia who help to pay for my studies,” she said.