"the first time i saw her in the tv play in which she plays Huang Rong, i was thinking, that is Barbara herself. She is not acting!" Rob said with a smile. 53 year old Rob has already got some middle age look with some wrinkles on his face. His gold hair is now grey and gettign thinner on the top. His smile is still bright, same sort of childlike smile as in those old pictures. Many years ago probably this sunshine like bright smile attracted that lonely and morose young girl, the one who is now memorized as the TV legend Wung Mei Ling.
The real girl behind the legend
It was such a long time ago. A young girl with no fame came out of the competition of three thousands candiates to be Huang Rong, the super clever role of young girl in "xxxx". She soon became a real legend. Huang Rong became another name of her,deeply rooted in the mind of the fans of several generations. It was also such a long time ago, she turned on the gas in her apartment and ended her own life at the summit of her career. She has been missed and memorized by thousands of fans for so many years, yet only a few in the world remember her as what she was really like.
Rob is one of the "a few". He still holds on to every bit of his memories and does not want to let it go. He even made a website to tell their unforgettable young love story. He said , Many people ask me why i chose to publish the stories from the past. My incentive was very simple. I just hope that the people could see the real her, not just a pretty face.
He first met Wung Mei Ling when they were both 17 years old. The Dutch teenage boy Rob moved to UK along with his parents. He often saw Wung Mei Ling sit alone the canteen of Cambridge Art and Science Insititute, writing something on her notebook. Asked about his first impression of her, Rob narrowed his eyes fractionally as if he was trying to focus to see clearly the young girl's fresh face in the sea of memories, "very cute, funny and full of humourous spirit. Sometimes she was an intervert, not ready to open up as a lonely individual. "
"Lonely" might have been the curse of Wung Mei Ling's whole life. Since she emmigrated into UK at teenage with her mother and her step father, she was the main support of the family-run fish and chips restaurant. Her family relied on her to communicate with the customers, to help with accounting and documents processing in English. As a result, she had almost no free life space to her own after going to school and helping out in the shop. Rob said, "She was not a queen type of girl. Her hands were covered with the scars left by hot oil burns. " Before she met Rob, she had no friends. Through Rob, she got in contact with the Cambridge Chinese community and started to have connection with the circle of other Chinese students.
Unforgettable first love
Because Barbara's mother did not approve her dating with a westerner, they had to hide their relation. At the age without cell phones and Internet, they could only trade their young lovers' endless energy and time with a chance of short meet. Barbara would pretend that she was going to paint in the botanical garden. Sometimes her uncle would follow her to check if she really went to do her painting or it was just an excuse to meet with Rob. Rob would usually hide first and only come out to meet her when it was "safe". Sometimes she was delayed due to some family matters and could not leave home, all he would do was waiting.
Later they went to different universities away from each other. It became more difficult to meet up. Every Friday night She went to Norwich where his university was located. Once he arranged to meet her at the railway station at 8 p.m., but she did not show up at the agreed time. He sat to wait at the freezing cold flatform in the snow as the railway station was closed till she arrived in a delayed train at 3 a.m. She was so happy and touched at the sight of him. "During the five years we were together, i spent most time waiting for the moments to meet her. My life was arranged around her as the center. I never doubted that we would be in love forever. "
Get attention by suicide
In the 80s, dating a westerner was not accepted in the local Chinese community. Sometimes Barbara suddenly spoke some Chinese loudly when they were chatting in a Chinese restaurant, which often confused Rob. Later he realized that some Chinese in the restaurant were giving some rude comments on them. Barbara deliberately spoke some Chinese to show them that she was able to understand Chinese. They had also to face the objection from both her family and the social environment, which was very hard for the young couple. Barbara's mother also kept introducing her to young men from well being Chinese families, hoping she could marry into a rich family and ease the life of her family.
However Barbara had her own methods to force her mother to give in, the most effecient one was suiside. During the time they were together, Barbara were sent to hospital twice for medicine overdosing. Her mother had to acquiesce in their relation and even once allowed the unmarried couple to go on a holiday in Venice. Rob said, "i don't think she meant to kill herself. Suiside is her way of saying 'I cannot take it anymore'! Every time she committed suiside, her mother or myself had to change our attitude and then the situation improved. I believe that was the intention when she finally turn on the gas. Unforetunately they found it too late. "
Engagement and last goodbye
For Rob, his love story with Barbara is not just young people's puppy love. They were serious and thought about their future. With the witness of Bob's family, they even had a simple engagemenet ceremony. For the two young couple at the age of 20, there were no doubt that they would spend the rest of their life together holding each other's hand. However their love gradually started to get affected by the physically distance and difference in personaltiy. "She was a serious person. She would stay alone in her rented flat other than going to school or working. I however had a rich university student life with a lot of friends. I enjoyed being a student and was not ready to find a job. I missed Holland and looked forward to the careless and burdenless life of young dutch people. "
Having realized the lack of common understanding for their future and wornout trapped in between her family and this relationship, Barbara decidde to break up. After getting back together and broke up once again, Rob moved back to Holland. However he did not realize that was the last good bye with Barbara in this life. In 1983 he went to England for a visit and looked for Barbara, but she had gone back to Hong Kong. Next time he heard about her was from a friend of them. The friend told Rob she conincidentally saw her grave when she attended a family funeral. "I was very sad. Over all those years, i told myself that she must have found the life she wanted and been living happily. The decision was right. After i heard of the news of her death, i did not know what to think."
Memories and secrets
He visited her grave. In the recent years, he went once a year to tidy up the roses in the front of her grave. His hands sometimes bled cut by the rose thorns. He set up a website barbarayung.nl to record the momeries of the five years they were together for, as if it is a floating palace of love in a virtual world. "Don't your family members mind of this?" The man with three daughters and a stable partner said with a smile, "It is fine. My daughters donot care about my little hobby . My partner, of course is not very happy about it, but she can still tolerate it. "
The highest hit numbre of the website was 9 million during the peak time. A lot of strangers left their own stories at the website. The higher reputation also brought in the trouble of being hacked often. A lot of information was lost after several attacks. Luckily they won't take away his memories of Barbara. In fact, there are more stories to tell. "Her mother is now in the eighties. She is still healthy but has some hearing problems. Some stories, especially the ones related to her family, it is better to tell after her mother passes away. " said Rob.
Looking at the pourig down rain out of the cafe window, he quietly said, "I really hope someone can write a book about her. I am not the right person as i only know a small part of her. I would like to miss her with all the other people who care about her. I believe she won't mind. "
Notes: Rob now lives in [City Name]in the east of Holland. He is working in medical management. His name is not mentioned upon his request.
(Thanks to Natalie for this translation)
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