Saturday, March 30, 2013

editorial - Steven returning to shoot a tvb series

Though I don't like or wish Steven to return to TVB on a per series contract to shoot Uncle Choi's May series, and a pre-modern drama at that, I knew sooner or later Steven would give in to external forces to finally sign a per series contract with TVB: 1) To some people and Steven’s one of them: A debt of gratitude (人情债) though intangible is more binding and timeless than any other debts. 2) There is no such thing as a free lunch; earlier, TVB cut him loose without penalty just so they can cash in their favors (人情债) to rope him in at a later date.  3) Deep affection for Producer Leung, who has been constantly calling out to him to come back 'home'.

In the end it all boils down to Steven being intangibly fettered by his sense of gratitude, his spoken words of promises, and his sense of honor (the latter, though tremendous, is almost naïve, even old-school, in this day and age): be it his sense of gratitude and indebtedness to Catherine Tsang as his mentor, or his sense of obligation to TVB for being his maternal home and for their “magnanimity” to him, or his deep affection for Leung Choi Yuen.

Compare Uncle Choi’s year old forlorn post to his recent ecstatic response eagerly looking forward to a son finally coming home after a long absence. How can Steven get past Uncle Choi’s signature “dak ge la” vote of confidence in him without sounding ungrateful, not to mention disappointing and hurting the latter who has been like a father to him?

uncle choi@ 馬浚偉: Seeing the recent work, and realizing no Old Ma's share, so not used to it. It's like the son's not home from outside so can't sleep, understand? 看看近作 發現沒有老馬的份 這麼不習慣 有如兒子出夜街未歸 睡不著 明嗎? Feb-5/2012

So, is Steven's contract all finalised?
Uncle Choi: Dak ge la! (Should be fine!) 預晒佢 (count him in already) He has to try out the costumes. We've already arranged for him to have his measurement taken, and makeover try out. 3/ 28th 2013

Actually, whether I have contract with TVB or not doesn't matter, if Zhan Jie wants me to shoot a series, I'll certainly return to camp." link /2011/09/23

Recall these old news reports.
Revisit what Steven Ma had said about Virginia Lok

His very 1st quote when his request to terminate contract was mysteriously leaked to the media.
Had no choice but to leave? Is it because of him being suppressed by a certain person? "If you want me to answer you with a “no”, I can’t do it! Company (TVB) has many talented people, no need for you to especially do anything for me, but at least, be a little bit fairer!” When brought up the rumors that he has never gotten along with Virginia Lok, he quipped: “Virginia Lok and me, weak affinity! Don’t know why but we just can’t communicate. And after a while, the distance grew such that some people can’t even remember that TVB is my management agent."

Steven Ma has prematurely ended his contract with TVB. Despite his dissatisfaction accumulated over the years, his attitude was to 'live and let live' using only " did not click' to explain his parting from his maternal home, and even points out that this temporary separation from TVB is a good thing.

My relationship with TVB all along has always been fine. [..] But ultimately it all comes down to interpersonal affinity. Indeed, my collaboration with the Artists Management Department did not work out well. [..]

View from a different angle, what's wrong with the Artists Management Department?

It's not convenient for me to say. Since I choose to leave the company, differences of opinions obviously do exist. So it would be better to just cheerfully, happily and amiably end the contract

Let bygones be bygones. One's conduct has to get past others and oneself. I'll not have my words put Ms. Lok in a difficult position. Anyway, there's no need. Since we have weak affinity so be it. Moreover, for the time being, I won't come in contact with her through work. Even if have to discuss the contract I'm not worried. If the company cares for me they should understand. (tn: on what to do) link 2012/04/11


Nandu: At the time, you said bluntly: “What I am dissatisfied with is the whole TVB artistes management department's operations and arrangements causing many things to being inappropriately handled.” Why were you dissatisfied with the artistes management department?

Steven: Hard to express. Everybody feels differently. Were they at fault? I don’t dare to put it that way. People have their own views and requirements. Likewise, the company has its own policies and principles, no need to change for my sake. Maybe other people feel comfortable and fit right in! Never mind lo. I don’t need other people to change on my behalf. I only want to pursue what I want for myself under the premise of not hurting anybody.

Nandu: During that period, you had had many heart to heart talks with several top executives expressing your grievances. Did you express your innermost feelings and your opinions on TVB to them?

Steven: During that period,(request to terminate contract) the company and I went back and forth for a long time. Different executives also took turns talking to me for the longest time. They all didn’t want me to leave. I am thankful to my mentor, Catherine Tsang. She is forever my lifetime mentor. Also very grateful to Mr. Stephen Chan and Mr.Mark Lee, because they loosened up some contractual clauses to enable me to accept the LOTYDF series. (tn: and also Chan Fai Gong, 6 Uncle's secretary) How can I not be thankful for such magnanimity?[..].

Nandu: You lamented that your affinity with Ms. Lok (Virginia Lok) is weak. Did this contract termination and leaving the nest had anything to do with personal grievances with certain people?

Steven: I don’t want to discuss who’s at fault. It maybe that the Artists Management and I just couldn't click. Fate, if can’t get along then can’t get along lo. Doesn’t matter. Can still choose another form of collaboration.

Upcoming, what kind of contract will I sign? I want to be extra careful on that. Based on subjective feelings, I'll certainly give priority to my maternal home if the contract is of a different form. However, on the other more objective terms and conditions, I would have to think clearly and pragmatically. (link 2012/03/18)

The company has all along contacted me to discuss a per series contract, so long the conditions are comfortable and reasonable, I’m willing to have a different form of contract with TVB.

When queried if Steven’s mind is set, he said: “I’ve been with TVB for 18 years; it’s not that I’m dissatisfied with TVB but rather I disagree with the department that handles the artists management contracts and its departmental operations. I just can’t accept it!"

When asked if it was problems with the head of the artists management department, Virginia Lok, Steven said candidly that he would not specifically pick on anybody, and further elaborated: “I'm not a good fit but that doesn’t mean others aren’t either. Just that I no longer wish to collaborate with the artists management department. If TVB can agree to my requests then we go ahead and discuss another path!”

When asked if he does not wish Ms. Lok to be his manager, Steven said: “My job requires the management department to act as intermediary. Anyway, I don’t wish to pick on other people’s problems. If it is difficult to collaborate together then should not force it!”

eileen cha's interview transcript
So I ask him: "If TVB was so good why did you want to terminate your contract early? And moreover, refused to sign a per series contract with it? "

"TVB by itself definitely poses no problem.” So Steven's answer implies the problem is of an interpersonal issue?

Besieged by me, Steven would only say: "Siu Yan jie, I'm a mute eating bitter lotus (suffered in silence) What can be said I've already said to you"

Earlier on it was said that he and Ms. Lok had had problems renewing his contract. Upon hearing it, Steven expressed: "I signed my contract with an organization not with a certain person, during the contract renewal I met with several high executives. I look at the job not at a certain person. "

 9/25/2011 There were rumors that Steven Ma was in tears at an earlier dinner (mar 2011) between TVB artists and management. (1st timer ever Steven Ma being invited to a Virginia Lok dinner along with Norman Leung) It was understood that Steven did not shed tears for himself, but was worried over the future prospects of TVB. Steven confided to Norman Leung regarding the plight of the little-known state of TVB artists. Steven hoped that TVB management will place importance upon the matter, as an increasing number of artists would otherwise leave, resulting in greater losses for TVB.

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