Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finding happiness in a simple lifestyle

簡單生活找到真正快樂 馬浚偉樂做「悶蛋」
Source: Sing Pao Daily News
July 4th 2009
When commenting on Steven Ma, many people often used the word “boring” to describe him. The topic that often crops up in conversations will be “When do we go play badminton?”, “I’m going to buy a book to read...” Ai, to be with him, one truly needs to know how to find one’s own entertainment to avoid being at a loose end. But the person in question does not mind being perceived as a “bore” in other people’s eye.

It is true that “not being a fish, one cannot relate to its happiness”, likewise, he (Steven) has found his own kind of pleasures in life. Like today, Chef Ma who loves to cook, plans to personally prepare a 9-dish dinner to entertain a group of good friends at home. In the morning, after playing 2 hours of badminton, he went home for a quick change of clothes, and then drove straight to his favorite Sam Sui Po Market. There, he personally picked out his choice of fresh vegetables and seafood. Shopping has it own pleasures, but accompanying the shopper also provides a different kind of pleasure, for it is only under this circumstance inside the market can one truly witness how very welcome he was by the proletariat. When he was shooting Stars of Love, he worked on these few streets (in the market) for 2 months or so, and had got to know the fishmongers and the vegetable vendors there, along with their menial help.

“Mm, here’s a tray of freshly caught clams, sell all to you...” “Ok, take all of them.” “And these small abalones; just came in…” “Ok, will use them to steam with dried orange peel & fan si.” Grabbed a handful of red & green bell peppers here. Buy! Selected 2 big fish heads there. Will steam them with pickled ginger and min gu (麵鼓). Wah, even before eating, mouth’s already watering. A group of vendor friends not only made suggestions but also selected the best fish and vegetables to sell to him; moreover, the prices were relatively low, too. Though only stayed for half an hour, he had completed his purchase of the required ingredients.

Once home, he took to the kitchen and closed its door. Soon the sound of chopping of meat and slicing of melons could be heard from inside. I was curious at how Chef Ma was getting along with the food preparation, but before my head even peeked through the doorway, I was yelled at by him: “Get out! Don’t peek! When it’s done, you’ll get to see the finished products. Just wait!” Nevertheless, I managed to get a quick glimpse; inside were several small plates of garlic, ginger, and scallions cut into lotus shape, and some julienne; the plates were all neatly placed beside the stove. Quite impressive! Later, he calmly and leisurely stepped into the family room, and relaxed. The doorbell rang and when all the friends had arrived, Steven pushed open the kitchen door; and all by himself, he started to stir-fry and steam the food. Bang bang, bong bong! And before too long, plates of dishes made their appearance one after another on the table top. Picked a morsel with a pair of chopsticks, popped it into the mouth: “Delicious! Very tasty!” At this moment, nobody remembered if he was “boring” or not “boring”, only that Chef Ma’s culinary skill was not bad at all. Those who partook his food raised thumbs in approval. After dinner, Ma Zai, sipping red wine and basking in friends' praises, soon began a spontaneous discussion on life.

Outside of acting, reverts back to oneself. “I truly enjoy living the life of a regular person. Actually, the life of an artiste is never real. Under the silver lights, every relationship and every event are all fabricated. I only use my life to experience a different kind of make-believe life. But to continue doing this will empty out my own life which is why outside of acting, I only want to be myself.” He goes grocery shopping in the market, and plays badminton with different groups of friends. Whatever he likes, he does. Outside of work, Steven lives life like a regular person. “Nobody should deprive another of the rights to live his/her own life. Acting is to realize a scripted character, a character I have no control over. The role of the thespians is to give form to the character and to bring it to life. In private, I must return to my own life.” His love for cartoons helps maintain a child’s heart inside him. Those who have considerable contact with him all thought he has changed. This change is because Steven strives to be himself.

“Because of work, we get to meet too many different faces everyday. All under heaven, we are friends, hence am obligated to see people that I really don’t want to. I don’t wish it to be the same in both public and private. So, outside of work, I don’t want to force myself to be a glib, worldly person (世界仔) or to utter insincere words. I only wish to do what I want to do, and to accomplish what I set out to do. As long as there’s no violations, friends that get along, will talk a bit more; those that can’t get along, then will not talk at all; will gather or part accordingly.” Nowadays, he will for sure strive to live his life with the lifestyle he prefers. “If I don’t wish to do it, nobody can make me. I love to play badminton, play with what friends? Wish to cook for which relatives or friends? I will do it based on what I want. I can only find happiness this way.”

Already thirty-something, what Steven wants most is to maintain a child’s heart. 「童心」 “I love to watch cartoons; loves to play with kids. Kids’ mind and behavior don’t have in them a hypocritical show of cordiality. I love living a simple life. Today I made a dinner for friends. I myself found pleasure in doing it. Seeing you all enjoying the meal, I also felt very contented.” Both the cook and those who ate all felt satisfied. Steven has come to realize that a simple life is beautiful, only in it can true happiness be found. Ordinary is bliss.

report & photos: 林雙兒
Posted 04 July 2009
asianfanatics post 1592 

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