IT’S BECAUSE WE’RE VERY VAIN
HK trio Grasshopper reveals the secret to how it’s still going strong after 24 years in showbiz
By Kwok Kar Peng
May 06, 2009
THEY are in their 40s and not exactly great lookers.
ENERGETIC: A stunt that was performed during one of Grasshopper’s high-energy concerts, although it is not for sure that it will be performed here.
But the members of Hong Kong’s iconic dance trio Grasshopper still attract fans and have sold seven consecutive concerts in their home base alone earlier this year.
What explains their appeal after 24 years in showbiz, even with young gorgeous-looking singers bursting on to the scene like popcorn?
A 20-minute phone interview with Remus Choy Yat Kit provided the answer. He was flamboyant and witty.
The appeal of Grasshopper seems to be a fixation with looking good and improving their dance moves.
Remus unabashedly peppered the interview with the Cantonese phrase ‘oi lang’, meaning vanity, a term more comfortably used on weight-conscious and dolled-up women.
But, ‘Grasshopper has always been very ‘oi lang’ and so we will be taking along all our ‘lang sam’ (beautiful costumes) over,’ he cooed, of the group’s concert here on Saturday.
Each of them – Remus, his brother Calvin Choy Yat Chi and their childhood friend, Edmond So Chi Wai – will take along ‘four or five outfits’ for the concert. They come with a hefty price tag.
Accordingly to Remus, the outfits alone cost more than HK$400,000 ($76,500), with fabric sourced from Japan, England and Italy.
FLAMBOYANT: (From far left) Edmond So, Calvin Choy and Remus Choy will take along ‘four or five outfits’ for the concert. PICTURES: HYPE RECORDS
‘Wah, the designs of the outfits are really fantastic! Grasshopper has never been short of extravagant outfits and all of them are top fashion,’ he bragged. ‘The colours will dazzle you so much your eyeballs will burst.’
He wasn’t able to tell me which is his favourite outfit though, claiming every single piece is so beautiful that he loves them all.
Then he added with pride: ‘And I’ll be sure to take along my 4.5-inch heels too!’
He will be slipping into a pair of cream-coloured and sequined heels in a segment to salute Grasshopper’s mentor, the late songstress Anita Mui.
And he won’t just be strutting around in them, he’ll be dancing and jumping.
His high-heeled antics have wowed female singers like Joey Yung and Denise Ho, whom, he claimed, were awestruck when they attended their first Grasshopper concert in Hong Kong.
Remus sounded excited as he recalled their reaction: ‘They told me how amazing I was and that I looked like I was roller-blading in them.’
He claimed he could handle the pain and insisted that men can wear heels just like girls.
Then, sounding almost miffed when I asked if he was worried of literally breaking a leg or spraining his ankle, he said: ‘Grasshopper has 24 years of performing experience. How is it possible that a pair of heels can pose a problem?’
Ironically, Remus, Calvin and Edmond’s background in singing and dancing couldn’t really be more humble.
In an interview with Stephen Chan on the Hong Kong talkshow Be My Guest earlier this year, they admitted they had no formal training in singing.
Dancing lessons came from Remus and Calvin’s mum, a dance enthusiast who taught her sons the tango and the cha-cha-cha.
Remus said: ‘She scattered powder on the floor and we’d do the twist. Then I’d teach Edmond; you have no idea how much time I spent teaching him.’
All the effort has paid off. Edmond jokingly added on the popular talkshow that he now dances even better than before.
The father of two girls said: ‘When I was in my 30s, I worried whether I’ll still be able to dance a decade later. But now when I’m practising my dance routine for the concert, I feel like I’m still in my 20s.’
Remus has the group’s strict diet and exercise regime to thank for that, and he swears by it.
He spends three hours every morning working out different muscle groups in the gym. Then he’s off jogging for more than an hour in the afternoon.
He’s also strictly off sugar, salt, oily food and junk snacks, and he doesn’t eat carbohydrates after 6pm.
‘We are very ‘oi lang’, so we want to wear smaller-sized clothes,’ he said.
Doesn’t he crave potato chips?
The man has been a health freak for years and doesn’t even hanker after ‘tong shui’ (desserts), seemingly a must-have for the typical Hong Konger.
And he came up with anecdote that left this reporter swearing off chips for a while.
‘When my friends offer me potato chips, I take one from them and light it up. The chip will burn immediately and I’ll show them the copious amount of oil dripping from it.
‘Eat less of them and you’ll be fitter.’
The call for a healthier lifestyle has been extended to supporters going to their concert this Saturday.
Remus has called on his fans to start working out and building up their stamina or he says they won’t be able to keep up with the hyperactive group.
Also, he reminded them, all concert-goers should come dressed in red because the colour symbolises celebration, good luck, popularity and ‘is a very beautiful colour too’.
Fans can meet Grasshopper at an autograph session at Jurong Point Centrestage at 7pm on Friday.
WHAT: Grasshopper Right Now in Concert 2009
WHERE: Singapore Indoor Stadium
WHEN: 9 May, 2009, 8pm
TICKETS: $148, $128, $98, $68 available from Sistic at 6348 5555 and http://www.sistic.com.sg
WIN TICKETS: Here’s your chance to dance off your worries with Grasshopper live on stage. The New Paper and Hype Records are giving away five pairs of tickets to the concert. Each ticket is worth $128.
Call our contest line at 1900-9140801 and answer this simple question: Grasshopper will pay tribute to its mentor in the concert. Who’s this mentor?
1. Roman Tam
2. Leslie Cheung
3. Anita Mui
The contest closes tonight at 11:59pm. Each call costs 20 cents. Winners will be notified via phone.