“Rush Hour” star Chan opened the program by leading dozens of singers and the audience in a moment of silence for the casualties in Japan. The singers then linked arms as they performed the event’s theme song, “Succumb Not to Sorrow,” based on a poem by children’s writer Kenji Miyazawa.
“The more ruthless natural disasters are, the more love there should be in the world. This event tonight gathers performing artists from different places, hoping to deliver the message ‘don’t be defeated by natural forces’ to all those in the disaster areas,” Lau told the audience at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park.
Action star Donnie Yen said in his plea for donations, “We all live on the same planet. We should not distinguish among races. Please extend a helping hand to those in need.”
Indonesian performer Sherina Munaf said the Japanese people should take encouragement from the way her country recovered from the 2004 tsunami that devastated coastlines across Southeast Asia.
“I am very impressed, I am very inspired by the Japanese people because after all these tough times, they still show calmness, respect toward each other and they are very helpful toward one another,” she said before performing her song, “Here to Stay.”
“The South Korean people were deeply saddened by the Japanese earthquake. I am happy those sentiments are shared here and that we are cheering on the victims in Japan,” South Korean actor Kwon Sang-woo said through a translator.
American singer Lionel Richie chipped in a video recording of a recent Australian performance of his hit song “Say You, Say Me” he dedicated to the Japanese people. “We believe you can survive this and you will get stronger,” Richie said in the recording.
The program was filled with inspirational numbers, with singers Coco Lee and Prudence Liew performing “Bridge over Troubled Water” and Hong Kong’s George Lam leading a rendition of the Chinese ballad “Armed with Love.”
South Korean singer-songwriter Park Jin-young and girl band Wonder Girls sang “I Love Asia” _ a song South Korean composers wrote for the victims of China’s 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Chan made a rare singing performance, belting the number “Believe in Yourself.”
Taiwanese singers Jonathan Lee, Sky Wu and Richie Jen joined Hong Kong’s Hacken Lee in paying tribute to workers participating in the nuclear disaster containment effort, performing Lee’s song “True Heroes.”
Japanese stars were also in attendance, including singer Masao Sen, actor-singer Masatoshi Nakamura, a native of hard-hit Miyagi prefecture, and girl band AKB48. Nakamura told the audience he lost a cousin to the disaster.
“I am very grateful you staged this charity concert for us. I will share the warmth I felt here with everyone in Japan,” Sen said before performing.
Proceeds from Friday’s concert are to go to the Salvation Army. Ticket holders were asked to donate at least 20 Hong Kong dollars ($3) each. Organizers also set up a phone bank for the televised show. They had received pledges of nearly HK$18.6 million ($2.4 million) as the show wrapped up.