Thursday, November 4, 2010


Editorial by Tsui Yong Yong  (徐蓉蓉) 
source: 香港杂志的文章 Hong Kong Magazine scan

Steven Ma - transformed into an ancient time ‘mole’. (mou gan dou) 無間道 (ref: Internal Affairs)
Steven and my relationship officially became employer–employee - almost 7 years now. Many friends at seeing us, one old one young, always together due to work would wonder and ask: “Why quit your job as a journalist to go gallivanting with a young artiste, for what reasons?”

Journalism, a profession I was in for over a decade; it had fertilized my personal growth. My life experiences have all come from it. How can I not love it, how can I not be nostalgic for it?

Year 2002. At my journalistic job, I was burn out and weary; my health deteriorated day by day, and my physical strength failing. Steven loves the publishing work. He offered me a learning experience. I, of course, would love to have it.

Never thought in that one trial, besides publication duties, I also had the learning opportunity to handle contracts on his behalf, and accompany him to complete every one of his performing obligations. During this period, only then did I see firsthand the hardships and toils of an artiste.

In the past, as a journalist, I was always outside looking in at false images and impressions. Now, having toured this entertainment amusement park without the pressure of reporting duties, and being able to observe the shooting of series, I’ve learned a lot, and the new experiences gained are broad; one had to experience in order to understand and empathize.

Over the years I have seen the sorrows and hardships of many an artiste. Honestly, without an iron will, this line of work is not easy to stomach. I, more than ever, have gained a greater respect for the people working in the artistic field because I have witnessed firsthand the toils of a group of artistes. Truly not easy to endure!

Steven is not a performing arts graduate. He debuted as a newbie without any formal acting training who could only portray his character based on his own understanding of his role. It’s tough, extremely tough. So I was happy when I saw how Steven has been so lucky as to have one after another entertainment friend showing him the ropes. At the time of filming "Where The Legend Begins", Steven did not even know how to put on his costumes correctly. The first person who taught him how to walk, move and gesture, and how to tie his sash correctly was Long Gui Tin. Their teacher-student relationship happened because of that series.

Year 2004: Had the chance to go to Hengdian in China to film the tv series "Zhao Jun". Even in that foreign place, he was so lucky as to receive acting tips from the renowned China actor, Sun Heng, who was Yuan Shi Kai in “Zou Xiang Gong He”, at the time. Steven's gains were enormous.

Year 2005: July. Safeguards was the first series he was cast in after signing a management contract with TVB. Since the series was filmed in July - the dog days of summer, the hardship can only be imagined. Fortunately, the cast was very united in work, moreover, they were willing to impart acting tips with Steven – Wayne Lai, Kara Hui, Tseung Chi Kwong, Kwok Fung. …. A tip here a tip there, and before long, a whole group of good friends had shared with him much of their acting experiences. After wrapping up this series, Steven had added another layer to his understanding of acting knowhow.

Wayne Lai, this brilliant actor - he is the first person who actually discussed the rhythm of acting with Steven. To Wayne’s painstaking coaching and guidance, from the bottom of his heart, Steven said, “Thank You!” (re: in Steven yahoo blog) Not only was Wayne a good acting partner then but they (Steven and Wayne) had also built up a teacher/friend relationship, a very subtle feeling difficult to describe in words.

Safeguards garnered a high of 42 points in ratings, Steven had once again taken a step forward in his acting journey. And then he met Lee Kwok Lung - this big brother. Every time during their collaborations, he and Steven would pore over their characters together, and he cooperated in everywhere he could.

In AJCL, he met Kent Cheng. Everyday they met up. Everyday they discussed and analyzed. Kent imparted all his acting knowhow gained from experience to Steven. Kent taught by example and by word. So during the later half of the year, Steven was ‘opened up”. He truly fell in love with acting. Always a person who is very serious about his work, he now loves his job even more. Whenever he receives notice of work, he is delighted. Hardship is no problem - putting in overtime, pulling overnighters are even less of a problem. Nowadays, what Steven pursues is improvement, limitless improvement. Like he says: “Acting, this kind of art form, needs an immerse expense of time and energy to learn. I, without a formal acting training background, need to put in even more effort. I know that, so I love doing it.”

Seeing the improvement on Steven’s acting skill gathering momentum, listening to one veteran after another praising him and continually giving him opportunities, as his comrade-in-arms in his struggles, I feel very happy for him.

Because of shooting a series, Steven’s body has collected scar after scar. At the scene site, saw him wiped off the blood from his hand, applied ointment on his wounded foot, and then right away took position in front of the camera, and slipped right into the character he needed to portray. Never late, refused to take breaks; that iron will and inner strength, even I, who consider myself a hard worker, could not compare to him.

June 8th. Steven’s new series, Sweetness in the Salt, will be broadcasted. This series has recently been aired in Malaysia. The response was excellent. The hit series, Rosy Business and Sits are both produced by Lee Tim Seng. Hong Kong and overseas’ double cannon fodders, Tim Goh is the man of the hour. (wai jun) Tim Goh is Steven’s first series coach. Steven’s first Qing drama, DOMD 1998, is in fact, produced by Tim Goh. He affirms the improvement in Steven’s acting skill. “ Zai Mai’s acting skill is now at the master level.

In the series, Steven portrays an upright and clean official, Nip Ji Yuen. Though in love with a salt smuggler’s daughter, but in carrying out his duties to rout out the smugglers he killed Yueng Yi’s parents. As an ancient infiltrator, love and hate are beyond his control. Words escaped him in expressing himself. The personality of the character is very melancholic. During the shooting period, Steven traveled the journey alongside his character and he too became melancholic. When the production ended, it took quite a while before I saw Steven smiled again and extricated himself from the character.

This, is the reason why I love my present job. Thinking back, I used to only see the rain through a glass window, today I am in it, so am able to truly appreciate the many facets of an artiste. What I have gained is so much more than from before.

asianfanatics. post 1440
Posted 04 June 2009

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