SINGAPORE — Singapore fans of popular Hong Kong idol Anson Lo from boyband Mirror are giving back to needy families in a big way to celebrate his upcoming 27th birthday.
On Sunday (26 June), Lo’s fans – or Sontos (devotees in Cantonese) – from the Anson Lo Hon Ting International Fan Club in Singapore will begin a week-long food donation drive.
The fan club is partnering with The Food Bank Singapore, a food charity that sources and collects over 800,000kg of food per year for 360 beneficiary organisations, such as family service centres, soup kitchens, and schools with children from low-income families.
The food drive, dubbed the "Anson Lo & Sontos Global Giving", will be kickstarted by a private screening of Showbiz Spy, a 2021 movie featuring Lo’s film debut, at The Projector where some 50 Sontos are expected to attend.
It will be the largest event organised by the fan club since its formation last year, said spokesperson Gigi Chan, 40, and will be held in partnership with fan clubs in 10 other countries and territories.
During the week, Sontos are encouraged to contribute non-perishable food with at least a month left before their expiry dates, such as canned food, biscuits, drinks like coffee and Milo, and staples like rice, in accordance with The Food Bank Singapore's wishlist.
They can bring their donations to the private screening. Alternatively, Sontos and members of the public can contact the fan club via Instagram during the week to donate food.
The drive will conclude on 2 July with a handover of the collected food items to The Food Bank Singapore, five days before Lo turns 27.
When asked about the target for the drive, Chan said the fan club aims to collect as many items as possible but it is mindful of the ongoing rising food prices in Singapore.
“Most of us are very fortunate to live in an environment and not worry about not having enough food on our table…we hope to help reduce food insecurities by doing our little part in this charity event,” said the graphic designer.
Sonto Canny Wong, who emigrated from Hong Kong to Singapore in 1993, said she will be bringing her two daughters, aged 10 and 13, to participate in the drive and show them that they can do “good deeds while pursuing their interests”.
“I think it is a great chance that we give back to society as sometimes we are so busy with work and family, and there is not much motivation for us to do so,” said the 43-year-old primary school teacher, who became a Sonto last July after chancing upon Lo in the Hong Kong remake of the Japanese boys’ love drama Ossans’ Love.
Wong is one of some 70 Sontos belonging to the Singapore fan club whose members are mostly aged between 30 and 50, while a handful is as young as four years old.
Lilianna Mok, 5, who is one of them, plans to donate Milo, “one of her favourite drinks”, to the drive. Her mother, Lilian Mok, who is also a Sonto, said her young daughter loves Lo’s recent hits and dances to “King Kong”, “Mr Stranger” and “Megahit”.
“Lilianna’s Cantonese vocabulary has improved a lot and she enjoys Cantonese music,” added the HR specialist and Singapore permanent resident in her mid-thirties.
Sontos are looking forward to meeting each other, some for the first time, during the food drive. For months, due to COVID-19 safe management measures in Singapore, they could only gather in small groups or over Zoom meetings.
Despite the lack of physical interaction with fellow fans, Sontos like Michelle Tan, who is in her mid-30s, said Lo has helped her through tough times during the pandemic.
The Singaporean nurse, who works in the public healthcare sector, said Lo’s “catchy music” and daily Instagram interactions brought her “joy and immense strength” to pull through the extremely challenging days as a healthcare worker.
Like many Sontos here, Tan, who is also participating in the food drive, said she wishes to fly to Hong Kong to meet her idol one day. Travelling to the city is challenging for her due to its current strict pandemic restrictions, she added.
“I would love to be able to fly to Hong Kong to just immerse in the vibes of turning every corner – seeing him on billboards, advertisements on buses, and in malls. Of course, being able to see him in real life would be such a breathtaking moment,” she quipped.
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