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At the time of the tragedy, A Kindred Spirit, was still being broadcast. Despite the death of her son, she insisted on carrying on and hid her sorrow in her humorous performances. “I do not think we should share our tears with others because this may affect others’ feelings and work. That’s why I can tolerate [the sorrow],” she says.

But even the strongest person still has to endure emotion. Leung is no exception. Although she did not let tears creep into her work, she collapsed every day after work. “I did cry. Every time I got on the bus after shooting, I could not endure [the pain] anymore,” she recalls.

Her husband provided the crutch that helped her to carry on. That support has now gone. Leung lost Yuen Lai-ming, her husband of 63 years, last spring.

“He treated me so well,” says Leung. “My only condition for the marriage was that all the money I earned had to be used for supporting my siblings’ study. Few people could accept this. He could.”

A year on, Leung still finds it hard to adjust to life without him. When she is alone, different scenes and memories of their shared days flood back. “Just like when you are having a meal, you realise that someone is missing,” says Leung, her eyes brimming with tears.

After these heartbreaks, Leung hopes she will not allow herself to be trapped in the past. She chooses to move on with even more confidence and enthusiasm; she cherishes every moment with her children and grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys Chinese literature, learns Putonghua, does voluntary work such as visiting elderly centres and participates in the eight-hour fast organised by World Vision. And of course, she keeps working.

In fact, she has never even thought of retiring. After 56 years, she has not tired of acting, “I don’t need to retire,” says Leung. She tells Varsity she is learning the Shunde dialect of Cantonese to better shape her character in an upcoming drama.

“The most crucial thing is to have your goal and perseverance,” says Leung. Perhaps what makes Leung work till dawn is her humble attitude, her quest for discovery and unwillingness to flinch from difficulties – qualities forged in a different age but which remain as important as ever today.

Edited by Vicki Yuen