We may fight with them sometimes, but deep down, we love our brothers. To celebrate International Brother’s Day, here are the five famous pairs of brothers from Hong Kong pop culture, and the stories of how they rose to fame together.
The Hui brothers
The four Hui brothers are some of Hong Kong’s more iconic entertainers. Each went down a different creative path. Eldest brother Michael Hui Koon-man is known for his comedic skills in film, scriptwriting, and directing. He wrote and directed the film The Private Eyes (1976), which also stars his younger brothers – including Ricky Hui Koon-ying. Ricky’s most memorable performance, however, is that of the hapless student in the film Mr Vampire (1985). He has been hailed the “comedian of an era”.
Stanley Hui Koon-miu was more successful off-screen than on, working as an executive producer and assistant director.
Perhaps the most famous Hui is Samuel Hui Koon-kit, known as the “God of Song”. The singer songwriter helped to define the Canto-pop genre. Most Hongkongers will have heard of his music; Caishen Dao, is played every Lunar New Year.
The Shaw brothers
Originally from Zhejiang province, the Shaws became one of the most influential families in Hong Kong in the late 1950s after setting up their own film company, Shaw Brothers (HK) Limited.
The eldest brother, Runje Shaw, first began building the Shaws’ film empire in 1925, when he founded the Tianyi Film Company in Shanghai. His younger brothers, Runme, Runde, and Run Run all took up management roles in the company.
When Run Run Shaw moved to Hong Kong in 1957, he founded the Shaw Brothers (HK), building a film studio in Clear Water Bay. At its peak, the studio produced up to 40 films a year.
In the 1970s, facing stiff competition both from new film company Goldest Harvest and from the rise in popularity of live TV broadcasting, Run Run Shaw decided to switch his focus to television instead.
He later became the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Television Broadcasts Limited in 1980.
All four founding brothers of the Shaw family have now passed away. The youngest, Run Run Shaw, died in 2014.
The Beyond band brothers
Rock band Beyond is one of the most successful and influential bands to ever come out of Hong Kong. It featured sibling duo Wong Ka-kui, the lead singer, and bassist Wong Ka-keung. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, they dominated music charts across Asia. Sadly, their success was cut short by Ka-kui’s death in 1993 after he fell off a stage in Japan. Still, iconic songs like Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies remain beloved by fans all over the world.
The Lamb brothers
Jan Lamb Hoi-fung is famous for his stand-up comedy, and for being one-half of the musical duo Softhard. But he is also big brother to Jerry Lamb Hiu-fung, who is best known for his role in the variety show Super Trio. The pair also have an older sister, Sandy Lamb Shan-shan, a well-known DJ with Commercial Radio. Fun fact: Hong Kong singer-songwriter Chet Lam Yat-fung often gets mistaken for the Lamb siblings, because his name looks so similar to theirs.
Brothers with different last names
You may never have guessed it, but actors Paul Chun and David Chiang Da-wei, and award-winning director Derek Yee Tung-sing, are all in fact related.
Paul Chun, whose birth name is Chiang Chang-nien, is the biological brother of David Chiang, who is three years younger than him.
After the Chiang brothers’ father died, their mother married filmmaker Yee Kwong, and gave birth to a third son, Derek Yee Tung-sing. That makes Derek the half-brother of Paul and David.
The more you know!