Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Queen Elsie’s legacy

Elsie Lee Heung, who was twice crowned Queen of the Bands in 1968 and 1983, passed away peacefully in her sleep, on Saturday, at age 81.
Father and son:
Stephen Lee Heung son Shane
at their Woodbrook home yesterday. ...
Her husband of 63 years, Stephen Lee Heung, choked with emotion when he spoke yesterday about the wonderful years he spent with his wife, especially the glory days of when they produced Carnival mas bands from the 1960s to the 1990s.

He said, “We were married for 63 years. She was 18, I was 22 years, and I knew her four years before that. Elsie always played the main character in the band. In 1968, she won with “Honey of the Polynesians” and she came back in 1983 and won again when she played “Diana, Goddess of the Hunt.” Together the couple won four Band of the Year titles, the first in 1967 when they produced “China — The Forbidden City” that was designed by Carlisle Chang.

They went on to record a hattrick of wins from 1975 to 1977 portraying “We Kind Of People”, “Paradise Lost” and “Cosmic Aura” designed by Carlisle Chang, Peter Minshall and Tedder Eustace respectively.

Ten years ago, the Lee Heungs called it a day in the mas making business. Lee Heung said, “Mas is what matters to me so it was very difficult.” Commenting on the mas of today, Lee Heung said the portrayals had not appealed both himself and Elsie for some time.

“It is a repetition of nakedness. Since 1983, the standard of costuming has dropped. We stopped taking an active part in mas in 1996.”

Since retiring from producing bands, Lee Heung said he and Elsie spent time a lot of time looking at television programmes until she started ailing, earlier this year.

Elsie suffered two heart attacks, developed kidney trouble after the second. After the third attack, Elsie had to be hospitalised but three days after admittance she insisted on returning home. One week later, she died in her sleep.

For the 85-year-old Lee Heung, who had a stroke that left him without the use of his right hand, only time would tell what’s next for him.

“Time will tell how I go on from here. I intend to just take it one day at a time.”

Lee Heung also leaves to mourn her daughter Maureen, son Shane, grandchildren Lisa and Darren, and great grandchildren Maegan, Kadell and Cheyenne.

Lee Heung’s funeral service will be held at 10 am tomorrow at St Theresa’s RC Church in Woodbrook.
Source : Newsday 
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