KUALA LUMPUR: Many Hong Kong artistes may look like they have always led glamorous lives, but the truth is just the opposite.
Singers and actors like Andy Lau, Sam Hui, Eddie Cheung, Nick Cheung, Joey Yung, and Priscilla Wong are six of the best known Hong Kong stars who had impoverished childhoods, yet worked hard and invested smart to attain their current lifestyles.
Entertainment portal JayneStars reported yesterday that A-list actor Lau, 59, came from very humble beginnings in Tai Hang village.
When he was six, his family moved out of their farm into the urban slum around Diamond Hill.
And when Lau turned 11, his family home was gutted by fire, and resulted in the Laus relocating to several squatter areas around the then British colony.
While growing up, Lau had to fetch water for his family eight times a day because their house was not equipped with plumbing.
In the 1980s, Lau became an artiste with Hong Kong's leading television station TVB and rose meteorically to become one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop.
He subsequently appeared in numerous blockbuster movies at the height of the Hong Kong film industry in the 1990s.
Currently, Lau lives with his Malaysian wife Carol Chu and their daughter Hanna, 8, in a detached house in Kadoorie Hill.
The property is estimated to be worth HK$200 million (RM120 million) and has a basement, private cinema, gymnasium, and a custom-designed children's room and library.
Award-winning tough guy actor Nick, 55, grew up in the Shek Kip Mei squatter area, which was once a haven for refugees.
A former police officer, he made his film debut in 1989's Thank You, Sir! and became an artiste of Asia Television before moving to TVB in 1995.
Nick's best known films include Beast Stalker (2008) and Unbeatable (2013).
He and his actress wife, Esther Kwan, have lived in a luxury home in Happy Valley for 11 years, and sold it for HK$58 million (RM34.8 million) in 2017.
They currently live in the Mid Levels and their new home is worth HK$130 million (RM78 million).
Eddie, 57, grew up in a slum in Sha Tin, and joined TVB in the early 1980s. At that time he made only HK$2,000 (RM1,200) a month.
Through hard work, he soon became a leading actor of the station, and invested in real estate in the 1990s.
Eddie first bought a luxurious home for HK$1.5 million (RM900,000), but over the years, he saved enough money to acquire property in Residence Bel-Air, Pokfulam worth HK$22.4 million (RM13.4 million) in 2010.
He also owns property in Beijing, China and the United Kingdom.
Cantopop king Hui, 71, grew up in Diamond Hill, but his family later moved to So Uk Estate when their financial conditions improved.
The star of the popular Aces Go Places film series in the 1980s recently live-streamed a concert from his luxurious home in Taipo, and revealed that it had a state-of-the-art music studio in its basement.
Yung, 40, grew up in a slum in Butterfly Valley, but later moved to Heng On Estate in Ma On Shan.
Working hard to become one of Hong Kong's Cantopop queens in the 1990s, she also invested her earnings in property and is now the proud owner of 12 properties around Hong Kong.
They include a condominium in Clearwater Bay as well as commercial buildings.
Wong, 39, grew up in a slum in Lam Tin and shared two beds with her four siblings.
Nevertheless, she studied hard and graduated from Hong Kong's Baptist University with a communications and public relations degree.
She began her entertainment career as a newscaster, before becoming an actress with TVB.
As Wong's acting career developed, so did her father Wong Wing Wah's construction business.
From selling fish illegally on the streets, to becoming a construction worker, he is now a billionaire with a public-listed company.
This means Wong is an heiress to her father's HK$1.8 billion (RM1.08 billion) fortune.