Sep 01, 2005|
When I came to Hong Kong, I only bought a one-way ticket.
By accident, my first job in Hong Kong was teaching English. I didn’t know you could teach English and survive.
I came to Hong Kong to be a Cantonese singer.
When I first arrived in Hong Kong I lived at my friend’s house in Broadcast Drive. I had nothing to do so everyday I just walked around. One day I happened to walk down to the Coliseum, and bumped into some band people who were having a smoke at the backdoor. They recognized me as we met in Sydney’s China Town. So they invited me to watch the shows everyday, except for two nights, where I was the guest singer.
By chance, I got to work on a TVB drama series 18 years ago. I went to the studio and saw the lady in charge who gave me the script in Chinese. I sat there for five minutes and didn’t say a thing. I was petrified.
I said to myself: “I can’t be an idiot. If I don’t say anything and walk away, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.” The first character I played was a rapist. It was a pretty big role. I said the two sentences really loud and I sucked.
I couldn’t get a work visa on TV, because the contract wasn’t long enough, the money wasn’t good enough and they couldn’t prove that they could not find someone locally to do their job. I had to be special, but I wasn’t.
So after nine months I was thrown out of Hong Kong. I stayed in Taiwan for three months. I thought after three months they would forget about me. When I came back, they put me into the room and said, “You have seven days to pack and leave.” It was in the old airport.
My girlfriend and I already had a hard time when I was in Taiwan - it’s too hard to be that far apart for that long. So we decided to register in 1998 although we weren’t ready for marriage yet. A year later, we had a formal wedding in a church. That’s why each of us has two wedding rings.
I don’t know what I like about Hong Kong. I guess that’s why I like it so much.
I don’t translate when I speak Cantonese. I picked that up naturally. I learned the word’s meaning and not its translation. Same for Chinese writing. When I write, I have to think in Mandarin because it’s hard to translate from Cantonese to Mandarin.
I once went back to Australia to visit my parents. We were at this amusement park and I was talking to my father for three or four minutes. He looked at me with this blank face. Then my wife said: “Do you know you’re speaking Cantonese?”
Nothing is random. Everything is just a reaction to everything else. We think things are random because we can’t understand them. If we could understand everything right down to the smallest detail, we could calculate what was going to happen.
I can see the world in two levels: One where money and corporation controls everything and one where the world is becoming more and more superficial everyday. Families aren’t worth as much as they were 20 years ago; relationships are breaking down. The world is changing. The only money that makes money is corporations. If you don’t have shares in corporations, when you retire you won’t have any money.
Do you worry about the situation? Or do you become a part of the society and try to work around those problems? I’m still working on the analysis myself.
I regard myself as an outsider all the time. But when you have no food to eat, you can’t just keep observing. Sometimes you have to be a participant to survive.
Television is an idiot box. For most people it’s just something to pass the time. There’s no demand of depth on stories. But I can’t do much. I’m like other actors. If you want to act, you have to get into TV.
Sometimes people come and say, “Hey, you’ll be great in this part.” People say lots of things but don’t follow up. But eventually somebody does something, so you just have to wait till it comes. Luck is just being ready when opportunity comes, which is what I’m trying to do.
Today’s pain, tomorrow’s gain.