Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Steven Ma Experiencing the full flavor of life


 From a singer to an actor in tv series, Steven Ma's life experiences matured him. He now learns to savor life.  Steven will soon wrap up his new series, The Change of Destiny. The next new project will not be until early December. All in all, he will have about half a month's break to prepare for tvb anniversary gala program and to buy some visitations gifts for his adopted little friends when he visits them in Hebei province. For this year, this break will be the longest; he can rest for a while.

“Tired but very happy, especially knowing that Safeguards has garnered me three award nominations: best actor, most favorite male character, most improved actor; the feelings more intensified.”

Can’t call it emotional, after all, the return to his hard work has already exceeded expectation. If the awards are not taken too seriously, and if the wins and losses are viewed lightly, then Ma Zai is already contented.

“I believe I’ve ample confidence in myself now, and will now go with the flow.” In the midst of all this hoopla over the hotly contested award titles, apparently Ma Zai has always been considered by TVB insiders as a dark horse. This horse does not contend for first and keeps a low-profile. Yet who would dare to summarily dismiss him? Relying solely on a persevering, fighting spirit, he carves out a niche in the entertainment world for himself.

Recalling the past, following the termination of his contract with his manager, Mazai took off on his own. That year, his wealth increased but fame decreased. His exposure in tvb series greatly diminished; meanwhile, a new crop of actors burgeoned in abundance. At one time, Steven’s low profile greatly worried those who cared about him.

"I always knew what I was doing. Venturing outside enabled me to see new things, to perform on stage in North America, to shoot a mainland tv series, and to be in advertisements. All these opened my eyes to new experiences."

When TVB beckoned him, and invited him to sign a management contract, he mulled over it for almost 5 months. He carefully weighed the pros and cons, visualizing all that could and would happen scenarios, and on how to deal with them accordingly if so; only when he was mentally and psychologically prepared did he then pick up the pen to sign the contract.

To Mazai, filming Safeguards was a taxing job that put both his will power and physical strength through the wringer. July, August and September are the hottest months in the year. Everyday he worked under the scorching sun; riding a horse; shooting a fight scene; and sweat drenched each and every one of his shirts. At its worst, Mazai made do with only two hours of sleep each night, before getting right back to work.

“During that period, the minute I clambered into the car I would turn on this one particular song. I listened to it everyday, nonstop. I had to persevere. I had to get through. With its help, I survived the return passage to TVB, thus got through a very tough period of adjustment."  

The song, is Alan Tam’s Catching up from behind. 谭咏麟的《从后赶上》. At this crucial phase, one of Alan’s songs inadvertently became the battle song that motivated and supported Mazai’s resolute in his forging ahead. 
After a rainy night shines bright, sunny skies
Hope the pain will translate into strength, catching up from behind
Success arises out of struggles with despondence
Yes, he has fallen behind, but being 'behind' was Steven's own choice. No need to worry, no need to complaint. If you filmed less series, then naturally other people will have opportunities. He is not envious nor is he jealous of anybody. Only that, he knows in order to catch up he will have to work harder, that ultimately what he desires will still be within his reach.

Regained self-confidence salves his wounds. Mazai’s entertainment journey is not smooth at all; the hardship incomprehensible to other people. Fortunately, he has now learned how to be strong, more importantly, he has become ‘independent’. (become his own man)

“I’ve chosen my visionary path. Work hard. Always put in my best into each and every character. Enjoy my work in all each and every series. Enjoy the camaraderie of colleagues. I'm happier now.”

Mazai, who now appreciates the joy of acting, likes to take out case after case of video tapes to re-watch his own works during his leisure. He wants to critique his old works through new eye. “Ah! If I were to re-act this scene, I would not have acted it this way. Ah! This expression could be better. Maybe can do it this way…”

His accompanying friends would hear his constant lamentations over his acting deficiencies in the past. This dissecting mindset of his is gathering strength and not constrained to tv series only. Take his singing!

He entered the entertainment world as a singer therefore, of course, possesses a good voice. Because he had the singing skill; in the past, Mazai always meticulously sang every note just right (mun mun yuan yuan). His friends listening to his singing would tease him and call his singing “very tight”. Now that he is more relaxed, Mazai realizes belatedly their ‘tight’ actually implies “not good enough”. These days wherever he had the opportunity to karaoke with friends, he would select some oldies to sing along, putting in as much feeling as he could into his singing. Sing with feelings, only then can one be considered a good singer. Recently, listened to him sing ‘The turns of fortune’ 《轮流转》once again. He truly sang it with a feel of having experienced life vicissitudes; a maturity ripened by adversities; mesmerizing, lingering. When the music stopped, friends all around unexpectedly applauded, and whistled…

“Wah! You guys are even more fans than my fans, more enthusiastic.” Mazai laughed happily. He was happy because he to sing out the flavor of this song is truly not easy. A few years ago, he and a group of veteran friends went to karaoke; he sang 《轮流转》。He grasped the mike and proceeded to sing. His vocal was considerably good but a sincere friend told him a home-truth; heavy words but genuine from a sincere heart.  

“To really sing this song well, you still need to gain more life experiences; to evoke the true essence of this song is not that easy.”

Mazai stored the words in the back of his mind. He looked upon that as his goal to advance to. And today, the song’s essence was evoked by his singing; he had indeed mature. Truth be told, without having experienced life’s vicissitudes, human minds will not open up; once open, only then can they experience and absorb the full flavor of life.

35 years old already; October 26, met up with Mazai on his birthday, and talked about his birthday wishes. He solemnly said: “35 already, so fast. Feel like there’re still a lot of things I haven’t done. But anyway, what is most important to me is health. With good health and spirit, only will there be vigor.” Saying himself ‘dai gor zai’, Mazai said these days he only wishes to make more and better quality shows, and that his life goals and objectives will be of longer term.

“Will not just focus only on one aspect, but rather on a whole picture. I feel that I still have a long road to travel in my acting career. I hope to get awards because I hope to receive affirmation and encouragement. But more so, I am truly enjoying my work more now. The work is arduous; wearing hairpiece, lack of sleep, but every time when I view the product of my hard work, I had this sense of contentment; my hard work has value.”

Mazai is considered the most suitable actor to succeed Adam Cheng in ancient dramas. “I truly don’t mind acting in more ancient dramas at all because I enjoy being an ancient period character. I feel that I was born into the wrong era. I enjoy portraying historical figures. Every time I don the ancient costumes, it’s like I’ve entered a time tunnel where imagination can soar and be infinite. I wish to portray a character in the early republican era in China. And also as Zhuge Liang, and Lun Xun also. I really want to portray them.”

Before signing up with tvb, Mazai acted in a mainland China tv series 《昭君出塞》 as a cameo character. Nevertheless when the series was aired in cctv, his character, 王莽, left a deep impression on the viewers. During the production, Mazai got on well with the director.

“Things can be accomplished one at a time, no hurry. TVB and I still have a contract. During these next few years, I’ll focus all my energy in doing my series well. Since I’ve already decided on a long artistic road, if I concentrate on advancing towards the target, I’ve no need to worry about other things.”

Don’t be afraid of uncharted waters. Be self-confident and don’t be flustered. These days, Ma Chai has grown up, not only possesses a big brother’s demeanor "阿哥", but also 洋溢于眉宇间. (wth was that? Furrowed brows?) Self-confidence is the best cosmetic; knowledge provides the best skin care regiment. This is a truism. Physical appearance will age in time, but humans can preserve everlasting perfection not through exterior appearance, but rather through possessing a clean spirit, and the continuous enlightenment of the mind. Be contented so will not be enticed by fame and fortune; be diligent for knowledge so can achieve sublimity. And these are what Mazai most wanted to pursue.

“Luck is already at your side! Mazai!”

 不怕路茫茫,凭自信永不慌张。今日的马仔成长了,而且,一股「阿哥」风范,也开始洋溢于眉宇间。 自信是最好的化妆品,学问是最佳的护肤剂。这是一个不变的定律。 色相皮囊皆易老,人可以保持永恒的完美,凭的不是外观,而是心灵的洁净,思想境界的提升。 知足,便不会为名利所诱;勤学,便可以练就崇高气节,这才是马仔最想追求的。

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From his book 图文并谬 pg 36 -37 excerpt Despondence! Perseverance!
Steven wrote:

I always persevere; the perseverance to persist through the difficult times. Everyday life and career always go through phases of ups and downs; each, fresh and new. In the entertainment industry, the ebb and flow of careers is always outside one’s control! Safeguards is my first tv series upon my return to TVB. Producer - Lee Tim Sing, scriptwriter – Cheung Wah Piu. What an excellent pairing! Add in one Steven Ma, formidable? No comments. 不敢說.

Prior to Safeguards’ premiere, I endured all kinds of cold & caustic remarks, and sarcasm and derision. My heart’s imbued with feelings—awful feelings. But, hardship notwithstanding, the crew and cast gave it their all. The general led, his troop followed; they were a solidarity of one mind and one heart. That was a tough battle! An unequivocal victory? Can’t claim that! 不敢 bat gam! The triumph was of a spirit! Of a combined strength through unity! Strength? From what? Let me tell you, what is most precious in human, and also what should be most appreciated and cherished is the power of the mind. 


Alan Tham Catching up from behind 从后赶上
曲:梓人 词:向雪怀
歌手:谭咏麟 alan tam

luck left me one day幸运某天别我身旁
nightmare stares at me, applauding with glee 恶梦看著我开心拍掌
A mishap wall erects into my life 在我的生命里兴建意外围墙
Fallen even before advancing into the race未进级竞赛经已跌在场上
A rainstorm buffeted me on my way路上碰倒暴雨一场
I’m willing to accept these petty wounds我愿接受这些少创伤
If I dare not face them, the darkness will continue to lengthen 若我不敢面对黑暗继续延长
No one can help me regain self-confidence, salve my wounds 没人能帮我重拾信心敷我伤.
Heaven once bestowed strength upon me天曾赐给我力量
Heaven bequeaths me pain and loss天赠我痛苦损伤
After rainy nights, shines bright sunny skies雨夜背后怒放艳阳
Hope pain will translate into strength, catch up from behind愿痛苦化造力量从后赶上
Success arises out of its struggles with despondence成功首先是必经失意的对抗
Now have learned to be strong现在已经学会坚强
This is my road, my desired aspirations这是我路我选的理想
The tightly interwoven chain-like network, undaunted by its long, obscure road.密布连锁路网不怕远路茫茫


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