Sunday, October 01, 2006
[Wen Wei Po 02/10/06]
Stephen Wong Prepares his Kung Fu Ready for a Fight
When you hear the name Wong Ka Lok, you may mistake him for Rosamund Kwan's former model boyfriend, however when you see the photos, you will exclaim: "Oh! It's him!". Yes, he is the one who plays Sonija Kwok's younger brother 'Fu Yee Chek' in the recent series "Land of Wealth" and also Kevin Cheng's younger brother in "Trimming Success". He is the up and coming artiste who is working hard to establish himself - Stephen Wong.
Graduating from the 17th TVB Artiste Class, Stephen's first series was working opposite TVB leading lady Liza Wang in "Let's Face It", where he played her third son. Afterwards, he was cast in popular shows such as "Triumph in the Skies", "Shine On You", "Love Bond" and "Wars of In-Laws", forging a great future. This has slowed somewhat in the last couple of years so his impression with the viewers has died down, but he has finally reappeared in "Land of Wealth", where the viewers can see him again and he can satisfy his fans who have been waiting for so long.
Stephen has been taking lessons in Kung Fu from martial arts master and co-star in "Land" Sin Ho Ying and asked why he has suddenly shown an interest in Kung Fu, Stephen smiles and says: "It is due to an injury that I sustained whilst I was filming in Hengdian for 'Land of Wealth'. The scene was one where I had to jump onto a horse without reins, but somehow I fell and sprained my leg. To avoid delaying filming, I was taking antibiotics for a month. Towards the end of filming, I had two weeks to rest and I was running a fever all that time. Coupled with the temperatures falling to minus six degrees, all the worst was brought out and it was very tough. Many of the younger cast members could not do many of the stunts that Master Sin could do with ease. Although it was freezing, but I saw Master Sin wearing just a very thin jacket running around, but I had to wear lots of layers to just about bear the cold. At that point, I realised how bad my health was and I decided to start learning Kung Fu to strengthen my body. Master Sin is very nice and is willing to teach me. I know he thought it was just a fad, but I have kept it up since then." Stephen says that last sentence with great pride.
Although he was injured filming for "Land", Stephen appears to have learned the value of health, so this is good that has come from it. "There were many happy incidents filming this series. At first, the horses were very playful and always controlling me, but in the end I learned how to settle them and it was very encouraging and satisfying for me. Secondly, I got on well with my 'big sister' on the show Sonija and she was very genuine to me, often teaching me how to perform better. She would call me 'little bro' and I call her 'big sis' and treat her as such. I admire her seriousness and although she is a girl, she is still willing to do many dangerous scenes herself. Her riding is top class! Her bravery and work ethic is also top class." He says this with total admiration.
"Another artiste who I admire is Moses chan. In my eyes, he is a perfect celebrity with no arrogance and when we met with problems during filming, he is prepared to teach me and help me by explaining where I went wrong and caring about me. I checked out his experiences on the internet and realised his path to stardom has been very rocky. Compared to him, three months without work is nothing. He is a very very good role model to learn from."
It has already been four years since Stephen emerged on the scene and he has experienced some ups and downs in that time. As soon as he graduated, he was given the opportunity to work with Liza in "Let's Face It", playing her son. He remembers that when he received this job, he had mixed emotions. The script had not been completed, so they were working off makeshift scripts and having to act in front of three cameras and opposite a veteran like Liza, he was terrified. "Everyone knew I was panicking, but luckily Liza told me to take it easy. No-one scolded me, but the pressure I put on myself meant my performance was bad."
"I am very lucky. I have no background and even though I have not joined any cliques in the industry, I have met many lucky stars who have given me the opportunity to take a hefty role. I am eternally grateful to producer Poon Ka Tak, because he was the first person to give me an opportunity and teach me like a son. We worked together on four other projects after that and we keep contact on a personal front. Mui Siu Ching has my heartfelt gratitude because when I was thrown aside, she picked me and gave me another chance. When she saw how hard I worked on 'Shine on You', she added extra scenes for me and this made me realise that people do notice when you are working hard. Also I have Uncle Choi (Leung Choi Yuen), who has given me a lot of encouragement. His praises of 'Ka Lok, you have improved. You can do it!' has given me so much confidence."
The greatest setback for Stephen was after filming "Let's Face It", when he was left out in the cold for a few months. "After filming 'Let's Face It', it suddenly went very quiet and without any opportunity to perform, it was very scary because I still had to give money to my family, but I knew from the start that I would have to start from the bottom. After filming 'Let's Face It', I didn't mind playing minor roles, but the biggest problem was that I didn't even have this chance and I was starting to wonder if my career was over."
"The unhappiest thing on a social front was that my classmates in the artiste class thought that I was being 'looked after' by the executives that gave rise to my opportunities. I was unhappy because they did not believe me. If I really had this special care, then I would not have been jobless for several months."
Small setbacks are no problems for young people, the question is whether you can stand up again afterwards. Stephen has been busy practising Kung Fu to improve his health recently and increasing his worth is another important reason.
"Practising is hard work and I already have a lot of injuries from when I used the wrong technique in the gym and I have to rectify those now. To be honest, after learning Kung Fu, I feel that my health has improved and my stamina is also much better." In Hong Kong's younger generation of actors, there are not enough martial arts stars, so has he considered following this path? "This is another target of mine. I know that I cannot lapse with this and I am not very outstanding, so to win people over will require extra hard work. With so many newcomers on the scene, the only way to avoid them overtaking you is to work even harder." He speaks with great sincerity.
Towards the end of the interview, Stephen suddenly said: "Apart from practising Kung Fu, I often watch many different films and series and I will also be rehearsing and practising how to present my lines..." This is understandable. For someone who has met setbacks in the past, he knows that he must cherish every opportunity he has.
Stephen has a handsome baby face and when he smiles, it is infectious. During the interview, it was a very happy and relaxed atmosphere. After all, he has the benefits of youth and time and these cannot be bought with any amount of money and this is his most valuable chip. As long as he is willing to work hard and be persistent in his practice, continuing to add value to himself, then I believe that he will have his day of success!
[The Sun 02/10/06]
Ron's Misinterpretation of 'ii'
After the English language goofs displayed by Ron Ng talking about 'my favourite' and 'Johnny Depp', he made yet another slip up as he attended the opening of ii Hair & Nail Spa earlier. When the host asked the guests what they thought the letters 'ii' conjured up, most people suggested the words 'idea' and 'image', but when it was Ron's turn, he mumbled something about being comfortable and then laughed that all he could think of was 'illegal immigrants'. He says: "I have been here for a manicure before and it is very relaxing. As I am currently filming for 'Cadets on the Beat', then 'ii' naturally makes me think of illegal immigrants." He also indicates that he often goes for manicures at this company: "Because I have to hold hands with female artistes. However, I will not have a pedicure, not because I have athlete's foot, but I just find it a little embarrassing."
Other stars present at the event included Sandra Ng, Athena Chu, Tony Leung, Vivien Yeo, Chapman To and Karena Lam, making it quite a star-studded event. Sandra has been busy looking after her newborn daughter lately, so she has reduced her public appearances: "Now I meet up more with my friends who have children, such as Chingmy Yau." She says that she would like to have another baby, but is worried she will not have time to look after him or her: "I will have to be quick to have another one, because I am getting old and I am afraid of losing all my friends and my career."
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