My Family History

Trace your ancestors and then immortalise them!

                                         Poon Sow Keng  潘秀琼  1935 -
Poon Sow Keng (Pan Xiuqiong) the "Queen of Alto", became 80 in 2015, and she celebrated the occasion with some special concerts. She was born in Macau in 1935. When she was four, her family moved from Macau to Kuala Lumpur, where her father worked as a barber. At school, she was usually chosen as the representative in singing contests and school concerts. “Since we were not well-off, my siblings and I didn’t have toys like other kids did. Instead, we treated singing like a game. To us, it was the cheapest and most enjoyable means of entertaining ourselves. As long as I can sing, I’m happy. " 

At 15, she was performing in Singapore, as the entertainment scene there was thriving with the three amusement parks, nightclubs and hotels. “There were nine mouths to feed at home. I was genuinely happy to sing for a living. I felt honoured to be able to help improve the circumstances of my family.” At 17, she became the youngest singer signed on under the Pathé record label in Hong Kong, and also the only singer from Southeast Asia in its stable. She would go on to release more than 100 record albums and appear in 4 films. With the success of her signature tune, A Lover’s Tears, Poon’s singing career reached new heights.  She would shuffle back and forth between Hong Kong and Singapore, for her album recordings and singing engagements.
She was soon singing at prestigious establishments like the nightclub at the Singapore Hotel as well as at the restaurants at the Cathay Building. She would also grace cha-cha parties thrown by post-war British officers on the top floor of the New 7th Storey Hotel. Often, after half an hour singing in Mandarin at a Chinese restaurant, she would be asked to sing songs in English at the Western restaurant downstairs. She would also perform in nightclubs all over Hong Kong. “The tears I shed now are no longer tears of a lover. They are tears of happiness, tears of care and concern. They are really tears of gratitude. I have always led a simple life, and I feel that anyone can be happy if they keep things simple. Even so, I hope to be remembered. Please forget me not. I wish that the songs of Poon Sow Keng would be a part of everyone forever.”