Comments: haha..the article was eh… interesting? lol. I’m not sure how to comment on it except, hey, the person cared enough to write about Kenneth….and he has become TVB’s ‘superstar’ lol!
Recently, I read a translation of a great interview with actor Kenneth Ma over at Jaynestars.com, the current king of websites devoted to translating Hong Kong entertainment news and gossip into English. I crowned Jayne king (or rather queen) because her site updates frequently, her translations are coherent and grammatical, and she also throws in some very interesting features – just like that wacky “y” in the middle of her name. Hers is the best of the recent batch of such sites whose numbers have exploded over the last year or so. Before they multiplied, these websites formed a singular, sequential line stretching back to the mid-1990s.
Some still even exist today, though all eventually flamed out in one way or another. Before Jaynestars, there was Em’s excellent TVBspace News site (where now a smoking crater lies); Sanney Leung’s foundational and comprehensive Hong Kong Entertainment News in Review (“The website that reveals more than two points,” and which had an epic, Ripkin-like run from about 1999 until mid-2004, after which it devolved into a soulless collection of links to Asian entertainment-related news items found at other sites, thus becoming an anorexic shadow of its former self); and before that, the infamous SAR Film Top Ten Homepage (still updating after almost a decade, but now minus the Fluff in Color, which was unquestionably the best thing about it).
Anyway, the article about Mr. Ma was great if only because it shed light on this somewhat bland mid-level TVB actor, who is on the cusp of…something. Not exactly stardom, but more like public consciousness: the type of fame where no one recognizes your face except maybe housewives, shut-ins, star-crossed teenage girls, and very confused teenage boys. And even they probably don’t know his name…or maybe don’t want to.
The article revealed a number of interesting facts about Mr. Ma: (1) he’s 32; (2) he graduated from the University of British Columbia; and (3) he studied Mechanical Engineering.
First, he’s 32 years old – 32! To put that in perspective, he’s the same age as superstar TV actress Ada Choi, who entered the industry at 17 and is now at or near her career’s apex. By comparison, Mr. Ma began his entertainment career at 24 and is only now receiving a real promotional push from TVB towards leading man status. I don’t know whether that says more (or less) about Ma and his talent, ambition, political skills, or willingness to crush others on his way up, or more (or less) about TVB’s stockpile of leading men, the majority of which they probably siphoned off from the wandering packs of the insane lured from the streets. Whether Ma can become a bona fide lead actor remains to be seen, but according to the article, his goal is career longevity as a character actor, not ephemeral superstar status. It’s good to keep the expectations low, I suppose.
Interestingly, Mr. Ma was actually part of a previous TVB promotional push: the absurdly labeled “S4” group of young up-and-coming male actors circa 2003. However, he was more fluff and filler for that rather than the primary pushee. In other words, he was Ringo Starr. The primary pushee was Ron “Dead Eyes” Ng, a man who may or may not have an immortal soul, while the secondary beneficiaries were Bosco Wong and Sammul [sic] Chan. As with golf, I guess they needed a fourth so they threw in Mr. Ma to round out the foursome.
S4. Wait, isn’t that an Audi? And did the “S” stand for “suck”? And isn’t “4” the number of death in Cantonese? Odd.
In any case, the absurd “S4” moniker accomplished its goal as Ron Ng received the career booster shot TVB intended, while Bosco Wong followed closely behind. Sammul Chan, on the other hand, evidencing frustration at his comparatively slower development at TVB, has since announced that he’s going to hit the eject button and punch out of TVB in order to try his luck in the Mainland television market. So now TVB is apparently slotting Kenneth Ma into the gap and giving him another promotional push…
[Tangent. The interesting thing about Bosco Wong is how his career was touched by the Paul Pierce Phenomenon, i.e., experiencing a mysterious leap in productivity following a violent assault. As you all know, in 2000, Paul Pierce was stabbed multiple times outside of a Boston nightclub. Despite this, he returned to play a full NBA season for the Boston Celtics, even raising the level of his play to new heights. After one prolific stretch of games in which Pierce averaged well over thirty-five points, one sports talk radio show caller commented that if this was how Pierce responded to being stabbed, then they should have stabbed him more so that he could lead his team to an NBA championship. Sports talk radio is great…
In an eerie parallel, Bosco Wong was in the middle of a July 2004 incident in Beijing where some drunken Northerner smashed a wine glass into his face at a late-night eatery, bloodying him up in the process. The next year, Wong was named TVB’s “Most Improved Actor.”
Had he been hit with a tumbler, a martini glass, or a beer stein, we might be talking about Bosco Wong, TVB Best Actor, instead. And if he had been whacked with a sovereign of champagne, maybe he would have won an Oscar…for Brokeback Mountain…as the director!
The Paul Pierce Phenomenon, indeed. Believe it.
By the way, I challenge you to find another webpage that has the courage to compare Paul Pierce to Bosco Wong. Nowhere else on the web, baby.
Second, Mr. Ma graduated from the University of British Columbia, which is basically a finishing school for Miss Chinese Internationals. It’s a virtual beauty queen factory that’s uncannily prolific in churning out MCIs. Maybe UBC was also touched by the Paul Pierce Phenomenon. Can a university be stabbed multiple times outside of a nightclub? Anyway, it appears that UBC is now diversifying by churning out mid-level TVB actors like Mr. Ma. But I’m betting Ma won’t be mid-level for long because…
Third, Mr. Ma studied Mechanical Engineering, a.k.a. the god of majors. ME will prepare you for anything. Anything. Engineering, commerce, law, medicine, diplomacy, fashion design, cooking, funeral directing, flower arranging, lumberjacking, etc.
Every single mechanical engineer I’ve ever met has excelled in some field in addition to engineering mechanicals. For example, in college I lived with this ME who was also an NCAA Champion in some sport I can’t remember. All I know is that it involved traversing a large amount of ground in a ridiculously short amount of time. And he was the best collegiate athlete in the United States in doing that – the best! A great guy, too…
There was also another ME I knew in college, a Korean, who I saw playing basketball one day. On a fast break, he made a brilliant behind-the-back pass to another guy – also Korean – who not only caught the pass and made a lay-up, but – get this – went on to become a doctor. Specializing in pediatrics, I believe. All because of that ME’s pass! Killa skillz. Imagine if the ME had also stabbed the guy multiple times outside of a nightclub? Would he have become a neurosurgeon? A cancer-curing oncologist? The possibilities are endless.
Finally, a third ME I knew in college was an officer in the Singaporean Army and was chosen to demonstrate the proper technique for push-ups in a training video. Awesome! Oh, he could also telekinetically crush people…
Thus, each of the MEs I’ve known were accomplished in various ways, and I have no doubt that Mr. Ma will be similarly successful in his chosen, alternative career of acting. Why? Besides the ME thing, it’s because of quotes like this…
I don’t like Mickey Mouse because I think he is very fake, always smiling at everyone. In real life, people are not like that. But Daffy Duck is more real, he likes money and is hot-blooded. If I were to act as Daffy, it would be much more interesting than playing Mickey.
First, I think either there was a mistranslation or Mr. Ma confused Donald Duck with Daffy Duck. Isn’t Donald Duck the one who’s temperamental and greedy? (Which I don’t blame him for because, well, the dude hasn’t worn pants for the past 70 years.) Donald’s the hot-tempered duck. Daffy’s just insane – hence the name “Daffy.”
Second, if Mr. Ma really did mean Daffy, then he’s a genius. Good actors study people, figure out their nuances, and get inside their heads. But great actors? They take it to another level and study cartoon characters. Cartoon characters. But Ma took it to a third level by reaching across two corporate cartoon universes to compare the psychological profiles of a Disney and Warner Bros. character. Brilliant! Brando speaks!
Third, I’m glad someone finally had the guts to call out Mickey Mouse because that two-faced rat has gotten a free pass for too long. It’s about time someone publicly challenged him about his fakery and chemical-dependent narco-smile. And it only took a no-name mid-level TVB character actor to do it, too – a no-name mid-level TVB character actor who’s lambasting a cartoon mouse for being fake, and singing the praises of an equally fictitious cartoon duck with anger-management issues. That’s speaking truth to power, friends, and that took cajones. After all, Mickey does rule over kingdoms; I’m sure he’s had more than a few enemies whacked and buried in Fantasyland.
But Kenneth Ma did it – he got into Mickey’s head. He went there. You know why? Because he’s an actor. That’s what actors do. They go to the scary, far-off place and unlock crazy fictitious mental vaults, where they risk being emotionally flambéd. He went inside the Mouse’s head, dissected the essence of Mickey’s dark soul, and then scarfed it down with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
He’s fearless and he’s an Actor. And he may be TVB’s next superstar. That’s Kenneth Ma.