Wednesday, February 11, 2004
[Oriental Daily, Sing Pao & The Sun]
Cutbacks at TVB have stepped up a level as Assistant Managing Director Chan Chi Wan has announced redundancies for around thirty staff, including some artistes, whilst others have been offered 'One Show a Year' contracts and other long serving artistes have not had their contracts renewed when they expire. Faced with no renewal from TVB, variety show veteran Leung Si Ho held a press conference yesterday and accused TVB of being heartless, leaving him pain and disappointment.
Leung Si Ho held the press conference because he wanted to vent his frustration at the situation and at the event, he indicated angrily that he knew nothing of being let go from TVB beforehand and when he called the Artiste Management Assistant Director Lok Yik Ling, he received the response that this was a decision made by the company that felt that Leung was still 'in demand' outside and therefore he was chosen as one of the artistes that they would not be signing again. So Ho feels that this is a show of the coldness of life.
Having worked for eleven years on and off in the variety shows section of TVB, Si Ho's last dressing up job was at this year's Chinese New Year show where he played 'Longevity' to wish Sir Run Run Shaw a happy new year. However, it turned out that the decision to let him go had already been made at the time and he says with great regret and a big sigh: "It turns out I am the suicidal old man. What a bad omen..."
Suspected to have been beaten up once for imitating a star, when asked for his feelings about being let down by the company, Si Ho replied angrily: "I will dress up as a pig or a dog, but they still don't want me. Why don't I pay Miss Lok $3000 and see if she will do that. (Do you feel let down after the incident that was caused by your work?) It's two things, but I feel that being dropped by TVB is even more painful in the heart than any physical pain after that incident." Leung Si Ho admits that he loves TVB and two years earlier had agreed to sign a 'one show contract' with the company whilst it was going through a bad patch. Receiving less than $3000 per show and not having any pay rises for three years, he never realised that he would be a burden to the company. He sighs: "Sometimes when I do MC work, I end up paying out more than I earn. How can an employee who pays to work be a target for termination? I am not a burden to the company, as a shareholder of TVB and having grown up watching the station, I am very saddened and disappointed."
When Si Ho mentioned the ending of his employment with TVB, he was so moved at one point that he cried and he says that if he was dropped by a dedicated true TV worker such as Catherine Tsang, he would respect and accept the decision, but to receive the news from an executive who knew nothing about his history or his accomplishments, he does not feel this decision is justified. His reference is to Miss Lok, who was not even aware that he was no longer working in drama and suggested one of the reasons for his termination was because he had not appeared in any series for a long time, despite appearing in a total of thirty shows last year. As he has just moved house, Si Ho did not receive the letter informing him of the decision until he returned to his old house to collect his mail. Upon reading the letter, it indicated that he was to return his work pass, locker key and parking permit by the 15th February. He also indicated that his reason for speaking out was because he wanted to expose this unreasonable dismissal as a warning to other people to be very careful.
When asked for her opinion on the job cuts at TVB, Myolie Wu hopes that the company as well as the whole of Hong Kong will be able to bear the hardships together. In response to the suggestion that artistes are just like a product line that needs to be deleted if there is no longer any value, she says: "It's a helpless situation, but as an artiste, I will do my own job to the best of my ability and hope that less of these things happen."
With further reports that TVB plans to axe a further four hundred jobs in the near future, TVB director and group Managing Director Ho Ding Kwan responded yesterday saying: "There are not as many as four hundred. If we could lose that many people, the first one to go would be me, however the profits last year were not too satisfactory and we will find out when the results are issued in March. The company is merely looking at supply and demand, we will be looking at which departments can be merged to save some overheads and make the running more efficient. (Is there a target of how many people will go?) There is no target and restructuring has been ongoing. There is definitely not as many as four hundred people going and maybe we could find that there is no need to lose anyone at all. (People are gtting afraid, how will you be reassuring your staff?) We will be following redundancy procedures and payouts issued by the labour department regulations." When asked if this operation was the will of Ms Fong Yat Wah, Mr Ho said: "Of course not, this is a decision that was made by the executive board."
As for TVB's union representatives holding a meeting today with Councillor Lee Cheuk Yan to discuss their responses, Mr Ho says that he cannot stop this and will not interfere. As for Leung Si Ho's public expression of displeasure, Mr Ho says: "This was a decision made by the productions department and I do not know the reason for this. (The director of the artiste department didn't even know he had moved to the variety shows group?) You will have to ask the artiste department."
[The Sun & Sing Pao]
As they left for a stage show in America, news broke once again that Deric Wan and Sonija Kwok had split up after the intervention of Tang Chi Fung. However, when the couple arrived back from their trip, they left the airport holding hands very tightly to dispel any rumours about their break up.
After completing their show in New York, Deric, Sonija, Sonija's mother and a male assistant returned to Hong Kong and the couple left the arrivals hall fully prepared, holding hands and beaming sweet loving smiles. In response to the suggestions of third party Tang, they both replied that the news was 'pointless'. Deric also twice raised his girlfriend's hand and said: "You can see this!" Sonija then said in a relaxed mood: "I was called by my manager this morning, but I have nothing to say. (Have you called Tang Chi Fung?) I never have!" After saying this, she looked at Deric and smiled, beating words with silence.
Afterwards, Deric also followed his girlfriend into Yuen Long to accompany her filming for "Golden Egg of Ap Liu". The two were holding hands again as Deric tended to her every need, passing water and the script and waiting for her to finish in his car. During this, Sonija refused an interview, saying she was working, but Deric replied on her behalf and said: "Every time we hear these reports, they will not affect us, we just leave them to it! (Do you know Tang?) He is a nice guy! (Have you proposed to Sonija, but she is making you wait?) Of course I have to wait, and I will definitely wait for her to have some free time." When asked about Bobby's suggestive remarks about his ratings, Derek says: "I am very selfish when I make series and don't really care about these things."
Jessica Hsuan has always had a slim body and only needs to diet after she has been on an eating binge. She says: "I think that when dieting, you have to note your own health, if it isn't too good and you try too hard to diet, then it will have the opposite effect. I have quite a large appetite, so if I need to lose weight, then I will start by cutting down how much I eat, reducing my two bowls of rice to just one bowl and even half a bowl if the results are not very good. Sometimes when I see girls who say they are dieting, but still eat so much junk food. Snacks are a killer, if you have a proper meal and don't feel the urge to snack, then you will not gain weight again. Every time I reduce my food intake to a third, I can lose 3 to 5 pounds and it works."
Jessica doesn't like to slow down and emphasises that you have to look after your health. She says: "I feel that the worst thing a girl can do is sit still and not move, so I am always running around. A certain amount of movement means that you will not get a belly as easily and when I take the dogs out every day, it is like a form of exercise and the best thing is that I keep doing half an hours every day."
Jessica's Diet Menu
Breakfast: Bread, Milk
Lunch: Half a bowl of rice, low fat dishes - NO SNACKS!
Dinner: Half a bowl of rice, low fat dishes - NO SUPPER OR DESSERT!
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