Writer: Tsui Yong Yong
Because TVB did not permit him to shoot the grand tv series production, Legend of the Yuan Empire Founder, 《建元風雲》directed by Tsui Siu Ming, Steven Ma requested an early release from his contract with TVB. Recently, whenever I encountered good friends they would with much curiosity inquire into the cause of this ‘turbulence’.《風雲》
Actually all these years of accepting jobs for Steven, I was always on the passive receiving end since TVB has the absolute power in the final decision. I was but a ‘broker’. I understand that to acquire a job, lots of details have to fall into place and come together for it to happen, hence the gain or loss feeling is not all that huge because I always believe that what is yours will be yours, if it is not yours then losing it is not all that regrettable.
Except this time I was not only very disappointed but dispirited, too. Dispirited because I could not see the prospect of my own career, hence the thought of resigning.
Divine Land up north (old name for China). Today’s Hong Kong artists viewed penetrating China’s television and movie market as a top priority because of the infinite opportunities available in the mainland, which must be decisively seized in order to achieve better development.
In March 2011, I heard from a friend that Siu Ming gor (Tsui Siu Ming) had received the strong support of mainland film producers to direct a 50-episode grand historical tv series production, Legend of the Yuan Empire Founder.
Yuan Dynasty? Among the existing historical dramas in China, seemingly only “Yuan” had yet to be produced; after all, it implicates the struggles between nationalities. Because of its sensitive topic over an ethnic minority ruling of the Han people, only a highly qualified and experienced person who also possesses the proper nationalistic ideology can be the leader at the helm. I have known Siu Ming gor for 30 odd years. I know he loves to analyze the Yuan Dynasty, and moreover, has a deep passion for the grassland. When Siu Ming gor went to the mainland to direct his first movie, “木棉袈裟”, and his second movie, “海市蜃樓”，he had hoped to go to Mongolia for on-location filming. This time shooting, Legend of the Yuan Empire Founder, he just had to go to Mongolia for location shooting.
I felt that this presented an exceptional golden opportunity; a tv series that would be broadcasted next year on CCTV-1 in prime time at 8 pm, furthermore, Hu Jun and Ray Liu were in the cast. I felt I should help Steven to fight for this opportunity
In May, I suggested to Siu Ming gor that hopefully he could arrange a role for Steven in “LOTYEF”. When Siu Ming gor heard this, he laughed uproariously: “Tsui, (he likes to call me that), these past ten years, every time I saw you, you always recommended Steven to me. My hat’s off to you! Find! He is truly a talented person anyway. I’ll think about it. Rest assured.”
Early June, I received the happy news. Siu Ming gor had meticulously arranged a Liu Bingzhong role for Steven. Liu was Kublai Khan’s military strategy advisor, an esteemed founding minister; an important role character who appears in 26 episodes out of 50 starting from the middle of the series all the way to the end. He is a very important character in the series and has lots of scenes with Hu Jun.
Besides engendering fame and fortune, what is most important is the opportunity to learn from Siu Ming gor, Hu Jun and Ray Lui, and other seniors. I was very happy.
But regrettably, because of statements such as this: “If TVB does not buy this tv series, it cannot be aired on other tv stations,” Steven lost the opportunity to accept this series.
This has been a long standing policy enacted to safeguard TVB’s interests which I had no problem with. But in the past no one had ever enforced that policy because its implementation would incur huge losses. Therefore, if the series would not be aired on tvb, the policy enforcer would request the mainland producers to dub the voices if broadcasted on some other tv station. Problem solved.
But unexpectedly, for the very first time this policy was enforced, and the first to be affected and unable to spread wings to fly north just happened to be Steven Ma. He - was the very first victim.
A country needs its rule of laws, but its rule of laws will also provide special exception to accommodate special circumstances. Why not even consider borrowing the power of the "Easterly Winds"*? Why not for the sake of an artist’s future come up with the most satisfactory resolution to this situation? This is what I don’t understand, and what distressed me the most. Steven’s heart was hurt and the hurt was precisely over this. (tn: Hurt that tvb doesn't care about him and his career at all.)In the end, the cause for his being the first tvb ‘biological son’ to request an early contract termination was also because of this.
*Re-Zhuge Liang’s 「借東風」strategy = use an existing situation to assist our cause or to accomplish our goal.
Tsui yong yong weibo
9/20 13:20 To dare to speak candidly without restrain needs a lot of courage, a great undertaking of determination, and a fearless spirit to do it. I applaud myself because I was able to do it. To reveal the truth I dared to face down the mighty power without fear. With rationality on my side, who’s scared of who. Put the blame on me? You sure had the gall!
TN: credit steven ma's book 圖文並謬 2008
Truth is usually difficult for people to cope
Mask discarded, baring all before each other,
Perhaps that's the height of courage
But upon recollection, will realize it is really no big deal. Pg 142
Helplessness at anytime and anyplace will drop by, unannounced
Sometimes, catching one totally off guard
Sometimes, a date was made but no show. Pg 145