Monday, June 30, 2003

Gilbert Lam Fishing Fun Forever

Gilbert Lam has many hobbies: Fishing, water skiing, diving, riding... he can do it all, this is because he has many professional friends around him. Like his good friend Tsang Wai Ming who is not only a diving instructor, but also a fishing enthusiast, who earlier invested together with Gilbert and another friend in a fishery in Sai Kung. With an investment of over HK$600,000 they have gained the licence two months ago and named it "Star Fishing Club".

Buying the fishery over a year ago for Gilbert and his friends was purely down to interest because at the time, the government had not yet authorised it for commercial use, until the SARS crisis came along, the treasury indicated that it needed to support local economies by speeding up the application process. Gilbert says: "The fish farming business is shrinking continuously, so the government should relax their regulations. You see that there are so many empty fisheries because the costs to change the format is a few hundred thousand and not everyone can afford this. So like us, everything has to be done properly, even getting a licence has taken two months because there are too many rules. Even the polystyrene, the life belts, the toilets, life jackets, even a rope has rules about it."

Affected by Tsang, Gilbert has turned fishing into a business and the fishery has an expanse of over 5000 square metres and an order has been placed for a shipment of different types of fish, the price of the fish in the netted area is set at $20 each, if you want to challenge yourself, you can go and fish outside the fishery for five hours at a price of just $80 and take away all the fish you catch. However fishing is all about luck, if you are in luck, then you can catch many fish in a short while, of course it is also down to skill. Take Gilbert's daughter for example, although she is still young at eight years old, but she has the tutorage of her father and is already a fishing expert. Gilbert explains that there are many different ways of fishing for different fish, so for Shek Kai Kung's you use redworm bait and put the lead weight at the bottom before pulling up the line about a metre, then at this position it will be easy to have success, this fish makes a good soup.

Gilbert says: "The water here is not polluted, so the Ching Hau;s are sweeter than those imported from Australia. No joking, keep it fresh by eating it as soon as you pull it out. There are even squid here now, you just have to use this little squid light, because the squids will rush towards a speck of light... wow! Boil it and add some wasabi is the best."

Active friends also have plenty to do, waterskiing, diving, swimming and even boating are no problem, so for a big group of friends for a barbecue, you just need to let them know in advance and they will prepare the food for you. Gilbert reckons that the fishery's facilities can be changed to create a floating restaurant, because eating seafood in such a picturesque setting would be great! He admits that this investment was more for his leisure than for profit, but if he can make his money back in three years it would be very nice, because how much profit do you expect from $80 for five hours? He is just after some working capital and a place to come and relax in his spare time.


To be honest, not only is the environment great at the fishery, the views of Bat Sin Leng are like those from a landscape painting and there are different views for different times of the day, Gilbert thinks that the scenes at five or six o'clock in the morning are the most beautiful as the surface of the sea is as calm as the sea bed and it feels like you are floating on a lake and miles away from stress. To be on such a calm fishery, watching such a beautiful seascape, you will forget all your troubles. In a corner of the fishery, Gilbert has a set of tea implements, he loves to come here and study his scripts whilst drinking tea, enjoying the scenery when he is tired, as he says: "This is bliss!"

Gilbert's origins are Chiu Chow and has an insight into tea drinking. He says: "Drinking tea is pretty good, because it won't make you drunk, but I am not a good tea drinker as it gives me insomnia, but when with friends, you don't want to drink alcohol all the time so we drink tea instead. This set was bought fron Jingdezhen when I was filming there. Filming a lot on the mainland, I have visited many of their tea shops with my tea friends (Lee Kwok Lun and Johnny Ngan) so after watching them a lot, you become an expert yourself. There is an art to making tea, you have to have the water temperature correct and here, I use filtered mountain water so it tastes especially sweet."

It turns out that he has an ambition to get a sailor's licence so he can take the boat out to sea in his spare time. One day he will go and take the test. Is it difficult? He says: "Very difficult! You have to remember a lot of light signals, flag signals, I have to wait until I stop making shows before I have time."

From the TVB Artiste's training class in 1987 to now, Gilbert has been in the business for a full 15 years, moving from TVB to ATV to progress, but with little success and finally choosing to return to his parent company, after just two years, his progress at TVB has not been bad, as well as doing MC work, he has also had the chance to make some dramas. However, Gilbert uses "seeing past it" to describe his feelings, saying: "Fifteen years, I've seen it all. So many years later I still only have a little success to show, but I have to be content. My attitude has changed now, will I continue running? I am too lazy to run now, I just let the wind blow... hahaha."

Gilbert has also invested in a furniture factory in Dongguan and filming in Hong Kong has now just become a hobby for him more than anything, the reporter laughs that he will soon be retiring, but he immediately corrects this, saying: "I'm still struggling, I am still learning to do business yet. To be truthful, I have only been learning to do business in China for less than a year, so I need to stabilise and am yet to make a profit, however, I am starting to design my own label of products and can see that the future is bright." He admits that acting is his interest and is using this to make him contacts for his business, of course, he hopes for his business to keep growing bigger and bigger and create his own furniture empire.


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