Monday, June 14, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao]

TVB's joint production with Thailand's Channel 3 "Fight for Every Moment" is currently filming away on location in Thailand. In order to show the importance of this production, TVB bosses Ho Ding Kwan and Yip Yung Yu headed out to Thailand personally for a press conference and Mr Ho joined Channel 3 director Mr Pravit in addressing the guests.

Also, on the day when the Hong Kong cast members, including Alex Fong, Yoyo Mung, Patrick Tam, Marco Ngai and Johnson Lee arrived in Thailand, they were met at the airport by their Thai counterparts Sririta Jensen and Chatchai Plangpanit before they joined together to pay respects to the four faced buddha and wish for a smooth shoot.

When the producer in Thailand Lo Wing Yin was contacted yesterday, he indicated that they are yet to film any major scenes as they are starting on the more vocal scenes. Alex has already filmed two scenes, one telling of him being pursued by the Thai police and not only did he have to run around all night, he injured his wrists when he was filming a handcuffing scene with an actor police officer and was unable to put his watch on the next day. However, Alex knows it was not done on purpose and has no complaints.

As the filming this time is with the total co-operation of the Thai authorities, everything is going very smoothly and filming in Chinatown early, they were able to seal off the whole street to film. Although the local weather is very hot and rainy and the cast have to keep stopping, they are all well prepared. As for Thai actor Chatchai, he offered the local hospitality and has taken the cast and crew to the banks of the river to eat. As he is very well known in Thailand, he has attracted many onlookers and so he took the chance to introduce the Hong Kong stars to the locals.


[Ta Kung Pao]

Christine Ng was filming yesterday for "Grey Tracks" and she indicated that she will finish her parts by the 21st of this month and she says she will miss the cast and crew. As well as missing her 'husband' Bowie Lam, she will also miss her daughter in the show, a six or seven year old child star.

Christine says: "Sometimes when I am on location and she isn't around, I will really miss her and will even call her." She also says that in the past, they all split their own ways after filming, but this time, not only the cast have developed a strong friendship, even the producer and director have built very strong bonds, so she hopes to be able to keep in touch with them all later.

When Christine was asked whether she has thought about having children of her own, she says that she was already broody when she was in her teens, but now she has changed her outlook and just hopes that she can do more things before the audience forget her. She smiles: " In th past I was lazy and too absorbed in my dating, so I wasted a lot of time. Now I feel that there is not enough time to use." She also says that Bowie once suggested she has the mental age of a 22-year old, because she has a huge curiosity and will never act her age. She feels that as an artiste, it is important to maintain some innocence because this makes it easier to get into character.

After completing "Grey Tracks", Christine will be heading out to Toronto to do a show with Mo Kai Yin and Lau Nga Lai, before heading into the Mainland to film a series and therefore she will be away from Hong Kong for a while. When asked whether her husband has complained about her being away all the time, she says confidently: "No, he is happy to see me so enthusiastic about my work."


[Sing Pao Special Report]

Yeung Ka Lok joined TVB three years ago from ATV and at first, his career was going well as he exceeded his performance quota every year, but the good times weren't to stay as good health and fortune are not to be taken for granted. Last November, Yeung was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, with the condition spreading through to his glands, brain and diaphragm. This bad news was to him quite an upset, as he suddenly realised: "It is so serious I could die." However when he has thought it through, when there are things that are beyond one's control, then he should face them calmly.

Ka Lok has just finished his six course of chemotherapy and from the look in his eyes and the speed of his speech, he seems a little tired. He says that after the courses in the past, then three or four days later he would recover, but after the sixth course and the added strength of the medication, his body has grown weak and the doctors say that he needs to take a break from treatment, but he must go back for regular check ups so that they can monitor his condition and asses the next stage.

"At my last check up, they could no longer see the tumours in my brain and some of the other tumours had been reduced. The Western doctors will not aim to remove 100% of tumours, as long as the cancer cells are controlled and do not spread for five to seven years, then this is classed as a success. To be honest, if the Western doctors are letting go so early, then I can only depend on the Chinese doctors, so I have been taking the Chinese herbal remedies as well. The cost of treatment and medication is not too expensive and I can still handle it." The Chinese remedy centres around controlling one's diet, so he has given up prawns, crab, goose and oyster, but to ask him to give up smoking is unspoken of.

The medical world widely believes that smoking will lead to a greater chance of developing lung cancer and although it cannot be proven that Ka Lok's cancer is caused by this and a professor once said to him that the tumours in his body are not the same as those normally found in smoking related lung cancer. He says: "I have already cut down on the number I smoke, because in the past, I would smoke three packets a day of strong cigarettes, but now I only smoke one and I have changed to the lights and use a filter. After changing, I am no longer used to smoking the strong flavoured ones." Although he has often been called 'Stupid Smoker' by his friends, he has no intentions of stopping smoking as he feels he has no other vice as he does not bet on the horses or the football, so if he loses this one and only luxury in life, then there leaves little meaning to his existence.

He remembers when he had brain surgery on 6th November and after the anaesthetic had passed, he asked the nurse to remove his tubes and by the evening, he was up on his feet. The next day, he was already out in the gardens smoking as he says of himself: "Naughty boy!" It is because of this mischievous and stubborn personality, that has made him survive until today as he feels that being afraid and worried every day is of no help to his illness and he may probably die of worry than of the illness itself. He says: "You could say I am a little overoptimistic, I will not remmeber the unhappy things and try to make myself happier."

Does the 41-year old Yeung Ka Lok have any regrets in his life?

"I feel that a lot of things aren't important, but health is very important. Without health, there are so many things you cannot do and even if you make lots of money, you cannot enjoy it. Also the phrase 'Seeing true feelings in hard times' is very true and it is only when I became ill that I realised so many friends around me cared for me so much. People from Taiwan, Malaysia and America whom I haven't seen for a long time all called me to wish me well when they heard about my condition. Even old schoolfriends who haven't contacted me for a long time searched high and low for my contact number just to give me a few words of support." With so many friends around to give him their support, it made him face everything bravely and never give up.

What would you most like to do now?

He laughs and says: "I really want to film! I have been in contact with Catherine [Tsang] and she told me to rest well. My contract is up in August of this year, but I am severely under my quota and I understand that with a bald head it is difficult to find me suitable roles. The company is also worried that my body will not be strong enough, so it is understandable that they do not arrange work for me."

Do you have any problems financially?

"Not for the moment, I am still using some of the money from my 'overshows' last year, but this year I am severely under, so there will be some problems next year. That is why I daren't spend any money now." He thinks that with the break in chemotherapy, his body will regain some strength soon and in any case he is not a main lead, so he should be able to handle some work. He feels that in the days without work, it was very hard to pass.

Do you follow any religion?

"Last year when the Sing Wan Priest visited, my friends took me to be blessed and I took on a Buddhist name 'Sin Gau' (Gentle Teaching). Since I have been ill, my friends have also taken me to church, for example, Sheren Tang had arranged for me to be baptised, but I was unwell and didn't attend. (You have been blessed by Buddha and now you want to be baptised?) I don't think there is a problem, any religion just turns people to the rightness, as long as you live life without any guiltiness."


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