Thursday, September 22, 2011

conjectures on Steven's contract woes

Reiyi @ asianfanatics I wonder why Steven agree to sign such a contract in the first place? He should have known this will limit his career growth. Did he miss out this clause while reading the contract?

As a very detail oriented person I don’t think Steven would miss such an important clause. I’d wondered why too. I believe he was told that the clause was a company standardized stipulation in all artistes’ contract, therefore it must stay. “All artists in this company are subject to this provision in their contract stipulation.Maybe at the time, the lure of the promises made to him trumped over that ‘company stipulation’. Amongst them: a cooking tv program, the release of a new music album, and maybe with the elusive villain role thrown in, and other developments in different artistic aspect, possibly a mini music concert.(he did mention the hope of having one like everyone else did too) The dearest to his heart was of course the release of his music album, and the edging back into his beloved music world again. Music will always be his greatest love while acting is his livelihood. Of course, except for Apprentice Chef, everything else went up in smoke when 人算不如天算, SC was incapacitated for 18 months. If you follow Steven's weibo, you would know that during that duration, Steven whiled away most of his time on the badminton court hitting shuttlecocks. (weibo).

Naturally, I believe Steven's version over VL's and also because of the following reasons:

1) His character -- I believe him to be a man of honor and integrity.

2) There is no reason for him to lie about something that can be so easily verified. He has 4 important witnesses namely: RRS's secretary, Chan Fai Kong, Stephen Chan, Mark Lee, and Director Tsui Siu Ming, not to mention many more who were involved in the whole fiasco, including the feisty Tsui Yong Yong.

3) If he were found lying about the whole situation he would be mercilessly crucified by the tabloids; MT’s dissing of him would be peanuts compare to the hell tabloids would put him through. And Steven is not stupid. VL has power connection, Steven is on his own.

I don’t know if it was due to editing or not but when VL was asked if the stipulation was true or not she was very evasive with her terse ‘no’ answer, and immediately changed the subject with her story about her being good friends with Siu Ming to discredit Steven. Why didn’t she give an elaborate answer to that question since it was after all the cause of all this contention?


Conjecture: Reconstructing the sequences of events:

"Finally in June this year, he was invited by Tsui Siu Ming..."

Siu Ming invited Steven to join his series. Steven agreed.
Siu Ming gave Steven the initial contract.
Steven gave contract to Hillman to give to VL.
Virginia called up Siu Ming’s HR to discuss the contract terms.
After slightly less than an hour, couldn’t reach a mutual agreement.
VL called up Hillman to tell him offer was rejected.
Hillman called Steven to tell him the bad news.
Steven called Siu Ming to reject the series with regrets.

VL said:I remember it was a Sunday But VL could be wrong, from analyzing Steven & Tsui Yong Yong June weibos, it could be that VL was handed the initial offer on 6/16 Thursday - 6/17 Friday. (VL might have mixed up with the date Steven sent in his resignation request which was was on a Sunday on August 21st)  If contract were to tvb advantage, I bet tvb would have waived the clause unhesitatingly like it did for Ron and Myolie. Anyway, will assume initial offer handed to VL and her rejection within an hour on June 16 Thursday or June 17th Friday, a work day.

~~~Present Day~~
Tsui/y/y  9/17 10:16 
It took half a year to get him this job, in the end it took less than a hour to turn it down. Turning down not just money but a person’s golden opportunity to further his career in the next decade. Disheartened, (I) leave as protest! Making me leave was not him but her.

Tsui/y/y 6/18 19:18  
If work is a place worthwhile to stay, noone will want to leave. Venturing out will certainly see new sky. Don’t over think. Believe in yourself. Leave! Send to my good friend. 如果工作的地方值得留戀,沒有人會想到走。豁出去定見新天,別計較太多,信自已。走!送給我的好友

Tsui y/y 6/19 22:11  
No courage to seek change, then no better tomorrows. The wise will grab the opportunities. 沒有勇氣求變,便沒有美好的明天。把握先機,方為智者。

Steven suffering a devastating disappointment motivates himself with written words
Steven: 6/20 00:10 Actually, as a person, happy or unhappy still needs to live! Who doesn't have worries, no hardships? Prone to grievances and resentments will only create hardship for self. Maybe some people would say: Easier said than done. True, action is undoubtedly difficult! But since already in pain; action: how difficult can it be? Friends, don't over think. Don't immerse in misery, don't sink into sorrow, don't wallow in self-pity! Wake up, gather up your courage, lift up your head, puff out your chest, continue to walk! Add oil!

6/21 No weibo entry.

That’s that, or so Steven thought. He just had to suck it up and move forward.


July 28, 2011 FACE
Tsui Siu Ming admitted candidly to this magazine: “I wanted Steven to join in one of the big-scale productions in the nation, 建元风云忽必烈, (The Founding of Yuan Dynasty) collaborating with Hu Jun. But who knew, TVB’s terms and conditions will affect the future progress of the production. So the negotiation fell through. I feel helpless.” As to Steven’s decision to leave, Tsui expressed his welcome to him. “His image is good, and his other aspects also match my requirements. I want to use him, hopefully we can collaborate in the future.”

Contrary to what Virginia said: Siu Ming really wanted Steven in his series.

Steven: Who knows two months later, he received a message that Siu Ming gor was still waiting for him and urged him to vigorously fight for it .

About two months later from June 17.
August 20 Saturday
Steven received message that Siu Ming gor still wanted him for the role, told him to fight for it. Hope rekindled inside him. He sent another text message asking VL to reconsider his request but his hope was quickly snuffed out by VL’s return message after (x) hours of waiting. She said no.

Weibo entries
Saturday 8/ 20 17:35
Ideals can't be realized just by sitting around.
If needs to stand up then stand, needs to pursue then pursue, don't question again. The future will have the answer.

Steven: Afterwards was the most difficult twenty four hours.

Made up his mind after 24 hours pondering.
Steven at crossroad reminds me of the ending shot of a huddling Chi Yat Bo on the pier, curled up in deep thoughts and mixed emotions.

weibo Sunday, 8/ 21

Sunday, 8/ 21 23:34
Steven: Game, not necessarily must finish it. If worthy of staying then stay, if time to go then go!.......

8/21 23:59
Steven: It's not that I didn't know, just that I didn't want to know!...

read weibo entries in full****************************

And then the rest that follows is what Steven has recounted in his interview.

I definitely believed Steven’s story 100%, backed by Tsui Rong Rong, who, from her weibo entries, seems like an honorable woman too.

I was really shocked by his request to terminate his contract but now that I've time to think about it, from their interactive weibos, Steven did not terminate his contract on an impulse but had thought long and hard over it for months in the back of his mind because of how things had been going for him. But these thoughts were totally put on a back burner, just simmering until the series' rejection made it boiled over.

I believe Steven must have evoked "breach of contract" as a basis for his request to be released from his contract. Given just the short period between now and the contract due date, TVB will not be able to fulfill any of his other contractual terms and conditions, therefore automatically dissolving their contract. In other words, their contract is no longer binding due to TVB's ability to fulfill its contractual obligations to Steven.

Also, Steven has insisted that he belongs to no parties in TVB and that TVB would not permit parties and factions, but the truth there are parties and factions in TVB no matter how strongly he denies that.  Just the fact that TVB did not realize their contractual terms all because SC was not there to supervise say it all. 

As for VL's account of the incident, I don't believe her. Steven was given 'openings' to badmouth VL but he didn't, with two words, 'weak affinity', he succinctly describe their working relationship. VL looked for openings to belittle and mock him. Steven understood the obstacle of the clause, and the reason why VL rejected the offer, and per his statement and weibo entry, it was a regrettable situation but he had accepted it. But what truly gulled him must have been her dismissive and don't care attitude towards him. It wasn't just this time but the whole 6 years he has been in tvb -- her dismissive attitude towards him which may have set examples for others to follow .

Tsui Siu Ming opened his sina weibo on August 1st 2011. By then Steven had already rejected Tsui's first offer in June. But on Tsui's sina weibo Steven was the1st tvb artist and the 11th person among the shortlisted people he followed. Tsui definitely wanted to keep in touch with Steven.

Steven 8/9 16:02 What a pity can't collaborate this time....but, thank you!

香港徐小明 (HK Tsui Siu Ming) 8/9 2:48 The fate has not arrived. Anticipating it in the future. Believe will have a chance to collaborate.

Steven responded to a @him news article about Ray Lui joining the Mainland series of The Founding of Yuan Dynasty directed by Tsui Siu Ming. The cast still includes Steven name, hence Steven's clarification of the mistake. And Director Tsui Siu Ming responded to Steven's weibo entry.

Director Tsui must be psychic!



  1. Hi Tamaya, thanks for analysing the sequence of events for Steven's decision to leave. It was very well-done. And yeah, Virginia Lok took every opportunity to put Steven down in her response...Like the part on him throwing a tantrum just before the awards.

    I feel happy yet sorry for Steven. Sorry that he never got treated well enough in TVB. Yet happy that he's moving on and also happy he maintained his integrity, honour and dignity in this whole matter. I trust him too. I don't believe a word from Virginia Lok since Steven is not the only honourable artist to make such a move. Wong Hei too.Hope she leaves TVB or something. I think her presence in TVB is one of the main reasons for the recent exodus of siu sangs and fadans.

  2. Leba: You're welcome. And have your read that TVB is currently in a state of emergency :

    Little did Steven know that his premature termination of contract is just a harbinger of things to come to make tvb management do some spring cleaning.