TVB’s newly promoted actor, Kenneth Ma, has been in the entertainment industry for 5 years. He has long regarded himself no longer a “newbie.” So when TVB cast him in “Lost In The Chamber of Love,” he did not self-congratulate himself nor did he feel that he has advanced to the position of leading male actor. But now since he has more acting opportunities, Kenneth is not shy to admit that he hopes to earn more money in the future….
He Doesn’t Care About Fame, Only What He Actually Earns
Although in “Lost In The Chamber of Love,” Kenneth shares the lead with Ron Ng, Kenneth’s mentality has not changed from before. He does not feel that his status has moved up. In reality, Kenneth does not want to be a star, but hopes to be an unknown rich man. Kenneth says, “When I go out on the streets now, I don’t feel that more people recognize me; my lifestyle has not changed much from before. But now, I just want to earn more money. If fame and money were separate, I would chose to be an unkown rich man. To have wealth and still have your own freedom, that would be the best combination.” Kenneth mentioned that since he is now 31 years old, and his parents have already retired, he hopes to be able to take care of his parents better financially.
Since graduating from TVB acting class 5 years ago, Kenneth now has more acting opportunities. He says that things luckily worked out: “Many people from the same acting class as me no longer have any performance opportunities. As for me, I am lucky enough to combine my interests in acting as a career, it is very fortunate. I will cherish this opportunity and will spend 10 years in the entertainment industry to advance my opportunties. Hopefully I will do even better. Actually, my biggest interest is soccer. Too bad Hong Kong doesn’t have an outstanding soccer team. If I were born in England, then without doubt, I would join their soccer team!”
No Rumors, Just Want to Get Married
When working with so many veteran actors, Kenneth doesn’t consider himself a leading actor yet: “Once a veteran told me, if anyone asks you, you have to have to say you are already a leading man. But I couldn’t say that, it’s not a question of my confidence. But I really don’t feel that my experience is strong enough yet. After filming “Scavenger’s Paradise,” I learned how to really read a script. In the past, I thought that if I prepared by reading the script right before we shot it, it would be adequate. But Roger Kwok taught me that’s not the case; you must read the whole script for the whole drama when you first get a copy of the script. Only this way, will I be fully prepared to act well. In my mind, actors like Roger Kwok, Hui Siu Hung, and Power Chan, are the real actors. If I had to tell someone that I am a leading actor, I would feel embarrassed. That’s why I am not concerned about fame and how many people know my name; I am more focused on my actual ability. In this field, I admire Hui Siu Hung. He is not an idol and does not self-promote himself, but he is still highly sought after as an actor!”
Besides recognizing his goals in the entertainment industry clearly, Kenneth nearly has had zero rumors. In contrast, Ron Ng has been plagued by recent rumors. In response, Kenneth said “In the past I have liked someone in the industry as well. But shooting a series is only for a very short length in time. I never believed in love at first sight. I will only like a girl and pursue her after knowing her for an extended period of time. But working in this industry is always so busy, after filming one series, then I have to film for the next drama. I had wanted to ask her out on a date, but I really didn’t have time due to my workload. As I am no longer young, if I were to be in a relationship, I would not play around, but I would wish to get married.”
More About Kenneth Ma
Kenneth Ma is a distinct creature in the entertainment industry. He doesn’t like self-promotion. In the past when trying to arrange an interview with him, he turned it down. Many actors hope to act in heavy roles, but Kenneth afraid he can’t handle them, would prefer to start with minor roles instead, to build up his experience. Many artists go hang out and socialize after work, but he would prefer to go home after work or watch a ball (sports) game. Men in their 30’s should not be interested in comics/ cartons, but Kenneth still likes Donald Duck. Having known him for a year, my opinion is still the same, he is not the sharpest person, is he suitable for working in the entertainment industry? Since working for TVB 5 years ago to having increased exposure today, the answer is yes! It’s because he understands his position.
Only TVB Accepted Me
5 years ago, Kenneth returned to Hong Kong after graduating from British Columbia with a degree in engineering. He sent out several covers letters to find a job, but only TVB acting class responded to his inquiries. When I was in school, I already liked to act in dramas. At that time, I decided to take a risk, but after entering TVB, I realized that surviving in the entertainment industry is not easy.
“At that time, I entered the industry based purely on interest. However after working for awhile, I realized that acting on tv versus my college experience was very different. Also I needed a bit more luck to succeed in the entertainment industry. After graduating from TVB acting class, I started out acting in very minor extra roles. But I was not discouraged since at the time, I was nervous having to speak 1-2 lines of dialogue already. If I were given larger roles, I would not have been able to handle them well. On the other hand, by starting out with minor roles, I was slowly able to build up my abilities and experience. I really never thought of discontinuing my acting career. The job market is still tough, now I have a job that pays enough to cover my expenses, why shouldn’t I continue acting?”
For 3 years, Kenneth was content playing small roles. When he received the offer to act in “Triumph In the Skies,” he was not nervous at all since the role was not a big one. However when he received the script for “Driving Power,” and his character part was that of a con-artist, he was a little anxious.
“When I heard that my other co-stars would include Adam Cheng, Cecilia Yip, and Lai Yiu Cheurng, who are all accomplished actors, I was a little worried. I was afraid my acting ability would not match to those of the veterans. However I am lucky that I got a chance to work with Lai Yiu Cherng; we had a lot of scenes together. He is a very straight-forward guy. He would often given me suggestions on how to act out a scene best. Working with him is definitely without pressure, and at the same time I learned a lot as well.”
No Newsworthy Content
Besides Lai Yiu Cherng, Kenneth also said that there were many other veterans that he gain a lot from as well: Law Lan, Law Koon Lan, Tse Kwan Ho, Hui Siu Hung, and Roger Kwok. He learned a lot especially from Hui Siu Hung and Roger, once would tell him straight out his mistakes, while the other would look after him.
“Benz Gor (Hui Siu Hung) would lecture me very sternly. ‘Do you know what you are doing?’ He would then point out my mistakes. As for Roger, he would give suggestions to Myolie and I on how to act out a scene more naturally. When Roger receives the script for a new series, he would read through the whole thing immediately. Roger would take mental note of all the important elements in the script. Roger is a team player and watches out for other people. Also I learned how to read a script properly from working with Roger.”
“After ‘Driving Power’ was released in HK, I didn’t feel that more people recognized me. I don’t know why there were reporters who were interested in interviewing me. I thought they should interview more famous actors, I didn’t feel that news about me would help the magazine’s sales volume.” When I heard Kenneth say that, I guess it was somewhat true. You can say he has business acumen, or you can say he was just being realistic about himself. Recalling an incident earlier in the year, when the reporter interviewed an elderly actor at Huang Mountain, the actor said at the end of the interview: “I guess you guys didn’t care who you were interviewing, as long as the requirements were satisfied.” The reporter was upset since that was not the magazine’s intention. After relaying the story to Kenneth, he laughed “I had the same mentality at the time [in turning down interviews].”
Kenneth does not know how to play the games in the entertainment industry. For example, he is afraid to chat with reporters he does not know very well. “When I see some reporters I don’t know very well, and they are acting like they’ve known me for years, asking me out to dinner and interviews, it’s a very odd feeling.”
He’s Not Interested In Self-Creating News
Example #2: Some reporters asked him to self-create some news, but Kenneth turned them down. “In the past, a reporter had called me. He asked me who was my current female co-start. He told me to ask her out to dinner so that the report could take secret pictures of us together. I was upset and turned him down because I am not someone to self-fabricate news about myself. Also another reporter asked me if I did not get along with a certain actor/actress. Although we had some minor disagreements, but it really was not to that degree worth mentioning to the reporter. I do not like fabricated news. If it is the truth, than I don’t mind it being published.”
Example #3: Also another time, there were reporters who wanted to interview Kenneth (since one of his dramas was airing at the time). However Kenneth was busy filming another series and he had to work past midnight hours most of the time. So Kenneth told the reporter that he’ll do the interview after he finishes filming for his current series. But after the filming wrapped up, the drama that was airing on tv also finished, so there was no need to interview him anymore. As a result, another opportunity to appear in the media news vanished. Kenneth didn’t feel that it was a loss however: “I only had 4 hours of sleep at the time, if I sacrificed any more time to do an interview, it would affect my health. I want to focus on acting, anything that affects my acting and performance I will not do. However if I have time, then of course I don’t mind doing interviews.”
Maybe Kenneth doesn’t under that when he has time for interviews, the opportunity may not be there anymore. Kenneth laughed and said that although he has entered the entertainment industry for 5 years, his personality does not fit the industry. One veteran had told him before: “Your personality can’t be like that! Other people always appear in the news, what about you? (Did they point out how you can increase your exposure in the media?) No they didn’t. But after awhile, I got to know some reporters better. After our interview, I looked back at what they wrote and they did report everything I said accurately. So after awhile, I had more trust in them.”
Kenneth is open to admit that it takes him awhile to warm up to people. “I personally feel that when I don’t know someone well, I have nothing to say to them at first. I need more time to know someone better…but I do know the cinematographer, make-up and hair stylists people quite well. Alot of people think I am very shy, but after knowing me better, they find out that’s not the case.”
Sometimes other artists say that Kenneth is quite “soft,” easygoing, and gives in to other people easily. Kenneth shakes his head, “it depends on what people want me to do. If it is not a major thing, I usually say yes. To a certain degree, I usually am ok, however if I really don’t like it, I won’t. For example like playing basketball, going to bar, I won’t. For one, I have no interest in basketball, and for the other, I really don’t like to drink. Other people may keep drinking, but I’ll settle for lemon tea. At the end of the night, I’ll pay my share. Unless it is someone’s birthday, then I’ll pay for it.”
Besides working, Kenneth is only interested in soccer or staying at home. Like today when we finished the interview, he said he had to return home. “Since I was young, I have enjoyed my time spent at home. It’s the most relaxing and I like being with my family. I am very close with my mother. People may ask, why do you always go out with your mother, I just think why would that not be normal? Besides that, I am very close with my father and my two older sisters as well.”
Although Kenneth has a close family where everyone gets along with each other, he said that his childhood was not always easy: “Since our family immigrated to Canada, Dad has been traveling back and forth between Canada and Hong Kong. My two sisters were focused on their studies, so I am usually the only one left at home with Mom. Since then, I have always been close to Mom and felt a need to protect her. I think that’s why I’ve always been on the quiet side as well. However after joining TVB, and interacting with more and more people, I have slowly started to change as well.”
Able to Lose
In the past, Kenneth did not have any specific goals. However since he likes to act, he hopes that people will think of him as an actor who acts well. At the same time, he hopes he is able to earn more money to provide for his family. “I am no longer young, I have to take on the responsibility for the family. I hope that I have more different performing opportunities. I want other people to think that Kenneth Ma can act, that I am serious about acting. I don’t mind playing villian roles either, as I am not aiming to be an idol. When I first entered TVB 5 years ago, I did not have anything. During this time, I have been earning enough to cover my needs. However if I lost everything now, I am not afraid of starting over again.”
Kenneth admits that his interests have not changed over the years. Since third grade, he has liked soccer and today he is still a big fan. Also liking Donald Duck, etc, these things will not change. Maybe these things may change? Kenneth says that he probably won’t….
(this one may be a repost…but oh well..)
Translated by: CB
Posted by Agnes @ makwokming.marlito.com
Comments: Randomly sticking in recent pix into an old article haha. A very good read! So it takes Kenneth sometime to warm up…6 yrs? hm..haha. jkjk.
As a shameless shipper of BK, I would like to note:
The reporter asked if she has considered to become a mother? [Bernice] immediately said “I want to.” (Do you have plans?) “Many people want to have children but may not be able to. I would also like to get married soon and have kids. But I still don’t have a boyfriend that is why I can’t have children. In the past I wanted to be a 24 hour mother, now I don’t know about that. But I am ready. I am mature and it’s a suitable time.”
Aw…Bernice & Kenneth have similar goals in a way! I always had a feeling that she would be a “family” woman, but I had my doubts. I guess this supports it! They would be great for each other….both love kids!