Sunday, December 28, 2003

[Sing Pao]

From a young age, Sheren Tang has loved watching television. No matter if it is a cartoon, news report, drama series or even a game show, this has been the main course to her meal and after watching and eating, she will relive the pictures she has watched and fall into the role of the characters. And she goes to the market every day to buy her food, three dishes and a soup are no problem to her, but she has not chosen to become a chef because of this. The more people praise her cooking, the less she wants to make the dish. She just wants to appear in her many images to win the praises of others. Finally she has been recognised, winning TVB's "My Favourite Outstanding Female Talent Award". After the celebrations, she happily returned home, bought some fish and some meat and made some dishes that she likes. The real celebration is deep in her heart and she can truly taste her happiness.

When she was a child, the first time she watched a television programme, she had a strong feeling towards the princesses, ladies, nurses, heroines and maidens that she saw on the screen. She would think of herself in the scenes and within herself she would re-enact what she saw, clearly repeating the lines. Her grandmother was her faithful audience, having no choice but to watch Sheren repeat the scenes over and over again. As other girls took their dolls to bed with them, she would watch the TV as she fell asleep. It was her biggest and most loved toy and she doesn't know how she became a TV demon, but as long as the topic of conversation was the television, she could talk about it for half a day.

Sheren smiles as she says: "Around 1984, I applied for the TVB Acting Class and the wage at the time was about $2000 a month. I was lucky enough to be taken on and filmed some music videos. I was so happy, but I said to myself that I wasn't that pretty, so I could only hope that through hard work, my chances would become greater and greater." Loving to watch television, Sheren was finally able to fulfil her dream to work and perform in television, this made her happier than a small win on the lottery, but it was enough.

As her work increased, she had little time to watch TV, but this made her more and more nervous about her performance. Her first TV series "The Legend of the General Who Has Who Never Was" (Sit Yan Gwai Jing Dung) meant that her name was printed on the posters and as she appeared on the screen as a female leading role, she silently vowed: "If I become a female lead, I will commit my life to performance arts." Her wish came true and she no longer needs to repeat the scenes to herself. Her audience is no longer just the Tang family members and her lifestyle was changed as she bade a temporary farewell to the days of making soup and cooking dinner.

With one series after another, she moved from a viewer to a player. Happiness, determination, worry... she had all of these emotions before as she says: "At the time I really didn't know what was doing what you were told, I only knew that I was afraid of opportunities passing me by. I was totally committed to my performance, learning as I went along, happy for half a day when chances came along before worrying about the next one, unknowingly I became very tense and stressed." After she found fame, an opportunity faced her and with the thought that you have to move on to better yourself, she felt another wave of pressure coming her way: "The chance came, I made more money, but was this the thing I was really looking for? Every day I was performing non-stop, but I could not find the satisfaction of improvement." Appearing at ATV on a per series contract, she went through a period of feeling invited and poached, how could she not feel conceited?

As she was considering letting go of her rising career and head to America to study art and design, her pace of life underwent a huge shake up and with a cute openness, she says: "The TV artiste Sheren Tang had nothing to do with being a student. I was just a student, taking the bus to college every day, noting down everything for the day, not eating or drinking lavishly, paying her own way with her friends and once again cooking in the kitchen. Life was relaxed and fulfilling."

In the days without call-ups, she changed her stubborn ways of the past and living alone, she never talked of her past loves. She openly says: "I am a person who puts my all into my emotions and love affairs, but when I know that it can no longer be developed, I will think about responsibility, burden, promises and honesty. Women are still human and still need to bear responsibility towards emotional problems." She says of women 21st century: "Love is like a crystal ball, if you can afford to play with it, then you can. If it becomes scratched, then the damage can never be repaired. It can even be pushed from your grasp to the ground where it will shatter." She understands that when her parents split up, the thing she most wanted was love and to have her own family, but the harder she wished for it and the harder she looked for it, the more pain she caused herself. Today, she says: "Love is something that both sides must bear responsibility for." If her touching smile could release a fragrance, it would stay in the air for a long time and create a beautiful memory.

Remembering in the series "Loving You" [The Threat of Love] (really love this title) she played a flirtatious lady from the mainland who had an affair unbeknown to her husband, played by Chung King Fai. She also played a forgotten star who had turned to drugs; a woman who loves one night stands; a woman together with Nancy Sit who paid for male escorts and also a guest role as a woman who lost her legs to bone cancer. For each role, Sheren plays it to her best, how does she feel about this? She says: "Acting is not about a single leg. The interaction between the actors is very very important. I believe greatly in preparation, before filming, you need to be totally absorbed, then you will naturally perform. When I think of what type of person I am in the drama, then I will quite easily fall into the feelings and experiences of that person. Sheren Tang is just a name, someone in Hong Kong."

Sheren is a volunteer for the charity 'Teens Aids' (Youth AIDS Education centre) and in a concert before World AIDS Day, she stood on the stage and urged people to care for the sick, working hard to spread the word about prevention education and holding a card with autographs of other supporting artistes, she said: "We will care for and support each other, then we will not be afraid, the world will become a better place..." These words come from the heart and even without the focus of a camera, she is still full of enthusiasm and sincerity. As another chat was arranged, she was already preparing. Her focus is motivating to others and she has lost her air of stubbornness. She says: "I want to pass good wishes to everyone, I hope that at the start of a new year, everyone is peaceful and happy." She says this with true feelings.


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