Just my two cents regarding the article:
.-- I like Michael's outlook on life. With the entertainment industry being such a pressure cooker, it's definitely a good thing to have a positive attitude.
.-- Not surprisingly, Michael is often asked about Barbara in interviews and such (and this particular one is no exception). Despite how much he hopes for 'bygones to be bygones', I doubt that people are going to stop asking him. Either way, I definitely agree with him that the whole situation was a huge tragedy and no matter what our individual opinions are of why Barbara committed suicide, nothing is going to change that fact.
.-- It's interesting that alot of people didn't feel that Michael Miu and Jamie Chik's marriage would last (probably because of Michael's 'image' from his many ancient series from the 80s). Whatever the case, they have been married for 21 years now and their relationship is still as strong as ever! Who says that relationships in the entertainment industry don't last long?
.-- Aww, the part where the article talks about how the Five Tigers came to be brought back so many memories! And Michael's comparison of how the environment was back then to how it is now is so true!
.-- Having been in the business world for more than a decade myself, I can definitely relate to Michael's sentiments in terms of how complicated and stressful the business sector can be. I admire his ability to be able to give up such a lucrative business and return to his acting roots -- it's not an easy decision to make at all!
Interview with Michael Miu: Letting go of the past, living in the present, and looking to the future
Article originally published on August 25, 2011
Source: Sina News
Translated by: llwy12
He likes people to call him ‘Third Brother’ (三哥), however it seems that people are already more used to calling him ‘Yeung Hong’ (杨康) [TN: his character’s name in 《Legend of the Condor Heroes》]. No matter how much he tries to break away from the ‘Five Tigers’ era, he is unable to avoid the constant questions and fond memories that many people still have towards that era. Throughout his life and career, he has experienced many peaks and valleys, highs and lows – starting as an obscure actor and eventually making a name for himself in the entertainment industry, he later became a businessman, earning millions in the business sector. Recently, with his return to the entertainment industry, it can be said that he has now come full circle. He is Michael Miu, and this week, his new Mainland series《金枝玉葉》[loosely translated as “Noble Beauty”] has officially premiered on CCTV-8 throughout Mainland China. [TN: The series is considered the Mainland version of TVB’s 2008 series 《The Gem of Life》]
Currently 50 years old, the passing of time hasn’t carved too many wrinkles in Michael’s forehead – rather, we see elements of calmness, wisdom, and ease. He doesn’t like to look back on the past, as doing so halts progress forward; instead, he hopes that from this moment on, audiences will get to know him as someone who enjoys life and views filming series as his way of having some ‘playful fun’.
A tragic and unfortunate accident
Not only was the 1983 version of 《Legend of the Condor Heroes》 one of the earliest HK series to become popular in the Mainland, it was also an important symbol of the success of HK series in that era. In the prime of their careers back then, the stars of the series are no longer the ‘young kids’ they once were – among them, some have enjoyed the fruits of their popularity, some have retired to a more peaceful life, and some still continue to silently toil….but for many of us, the one we are least able to forget is the one who currently resides in Heaven – our ‘Wong Yung’, Barbara Yung. Such a young and delicate life with a promising career, tragically cut short, leaving behind much grief and a feeling of what could have been…
Back then, none of Barbara’s friends ever imagined that she would choose such an extreme path of ending her own life. 26 years later, upon hearing mention of his close friend Barbara, Michael sighs and states: “Originally, she was such a cheerful, vibrant girl. Whenever I filmed with her, I rarely treated her as a girl – she was like a good ‘brother’ of mine! No one ever thought that she would end her life in such manner.” It is widely understood and believed by many people that Barbara committed suicide due to relationship issues, however it less widely known that perhaps she never really intended to leave this world. As Michael himself states: “I believe that she originally wasn’t intending to die, perhaps she just wanted to ‘scare’ a certain person – the unfortunate part is that it went too far and turned into a tragic accident. It’s a huge tragedy and loss – we all miss her very much.”
Admires wife’s unwavering devotion to taking care of their family
In the series 《金枝玉葉》, Michael plays a rich real estate developer, which coincidentally draws some similarities to his former real life status as the “King of Eyeglasses” [TN: after Michael left the entertainment industry back in the late 80s,/early 90s he went into the lucrative business of selling eyeglasses and earned lots of money.] All the complications of surviving in the business world – including the fickleness of the private sector and the often pressure-filled climb up the corporate ladder – that the characters in the series encounter are all too familiar to someone like Michael, who has toiled in the business sector for over a decade. However, what attracted Michael to the series the most is the unwavering love and devotion that the main male character has towards the main female character – a love and devotion that is very similar to his real life relationship with his wife of more than 20 years, Jamie Chik. In an industry where breaking up is just as common as starting a relationship, there were very few people who believed that this couple would truly be able to remain together for so long. Back during that ‘Golden Era’ of TVB, there were many celebrity couples who ‘loved vigorously, but broke up thoroughly’ – looking back now, Michael and Jamie’s relationship is one of the few that has withstood the test of time.
Michael expressed that what he admires most about his wife is her “unwavering devotion to taking care of the family, taking care of the kids, and taking care of me.” He further states: “One of the most important things in a relationship is mutual respect as well as tolerance of each other’s flaws and weaknesses – not only in a relationship between husband and wife, but also between friends and co-workers, it should be this way. Each person has their own unique personalities and it’s important for one to be able to tolerate the other’s flaws in order to become friends; the same concept applies in a marriage – when you take a step back, the sea and the sky become boundless.”
Did everything without complaint
The series 《金枝玉葉》explores a wide range of real life issues, such as ‘wealthy second generation’, inflation of real estate prices, etc., -- the most interesting by far is how the series inadvertently brings to light one of today’s ‘unwritten rules’ of the entertainment industry – the fact that young artists are oftentimes required to give up their dreams and even their dignity in order to get to where they want to be in the shortest amount of time. Looking back to the HK entertainment industry of 30 years ago, the young artists of that generation were a lot more naïve and simple-minded – as Michael describes it: “We were just a group of young boys with nothing to our names – no experience, no money, nothing – all we had was a type of stubborn enthusiasm. Everyday, we would put our heads down and throw ourselves into filming series – we didn’t understand anything about fighting for certain privileges, striving for fame, or adhering to unwritten rules.”
In the early 80s, five energetic youth – Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Felix Wong, Michael Miu, and Kent Tong -- caught the eye of certain people at TVB and quickly, the company decided to push their careers forward. In 1983, during one of TVB’s flagship large-scale variety shows《星光熠熠劲争辉》, the 5 youth formulated a group called ‘the Five Tiger Generals’ (五虎將) and performed a series of acrobatic stunts on stage – the highlight of the performance was Andy Lau lying on a bench and having a huge slab of rock shattered on his chest [TN: 80s TVB fanatics will surely remember that famous performance]. Thinking back to those days, Michael fondly states: “Back then, we were grateful that the company gave us the opportunity to perform, so we threw our heart and soul into it, with the goal of doing the best job possible. For instance, there were certain stunts that people thought we would never be able to do, such as backflips, somersaults, and of course, the shattering of the rock – these stunts that were usually undertaken by professional stuntmen, we went and practiced them, then performed for the audiences. At the time, all of us were full of energy and enthusiasm and were happy to have the opportunity to perform for the audiences – we did it willingly and without complaint.”
When people think of Michael Miu, they think of the year 1983
The glory days of the ‘Five Tigers’ era officially ended in 1991 when the action film 《五虎将之决裂》[English title《The Tigers》] debuted in theaters – from that moment on, the 5 Tigers went down different career as well as life paths. The film also marked the last time (and only time) that the Five Tigers reunited to collaborate in a movie.
Not surprisingly, when people think of the title of the movie, they can’t help but draw comparisons to real life and wonder whether these 5 Tiger brothers really accumulated years of resentment and grudges toward each other offscreen. Hearing this, Michael laughs and states: “Well, the title of the film does sound like there’s some hidden meaning and I could understand why people would think that way – however, the movie was not a reflection of real life. We never had any conflicts or breaking off of that nature – rather, we ended up going down different paths because our goals were different. That’s the reality of the entertainment industry -- each of us have our own busy careers and may not see each other for years, yet when we do get the chance to meet up, it’s as though we never separated. Even throughout the many years when I went into business, I never lost contact with my friends in the entertainment industry – Eric Tsang, Andy Lau, Alan Tam, etc., we’re all good friends and we never ‘broke off’ any relationships.”
A lot of times, Michael doesn’t feel like talking about those ‘glory days’ of the past: “For a lot of people, when they think of me, they think of 1983 and the Five Tigers – everyone always asks me and sometimes I feel a bit helpless. All of that is in the past, there’s no point dwelling on it anymore. Rather than remembering me as ‘Yeung Hong’, I actually hope that people will call me ‘Third Brother’ when they see me. If everyone started calling me ‘Yeung Hong’ all the time, I don’t know how I should respond – all of that happened in the 80s. I feel that if we’re constantly thinking about the past, it’s as though we are constantly stuck in time and not moving forward. I like living in the present and looking to the future – the way I am now is the ‘true’ me. I hope that audiences know me for who I am now.”
The complexity of the business world is hard to fathom for some
Michael Miu’s nickname ‘Third Brother’ is actually the name of a character he portrayed in the 1988 triad-themed film <
After 1983’s 《Legend of the Condor Heroes》, Michael starred in numerous series and was heavily promoted by TVB. Yet, when his acting career was at its peak, Michael decided to leave the industry and enter the business world, successfully taking over the biggest eyeglasses chain store in HK and running the business for more than a decade. Due to his success in the business world, it is said that Michael is the HK entertainment industry’s very first multi-millionaire.
Throughout the past 2 decades, there have been various ‘rumors’ about Michael’s decision to leave the entertainment industry at the peak of his career – some say that it was due to Barbara Yung’s death, others say that he was ‘frozen’ by TVB so he had no choice but leave, and still others claim that built up animosity between the 5 Tigers triggered his decision to split. The truth, as Michael reveals, is no where close to what was rumored. In reality, Michael didn’t just brazenly abandon his acting career and go into business – actually, back when he was filming series, he was already helping out with the family business on the side [TN: his family owned an eyeglasses business]. One day, he discovered that there was potential with the family business and at the same time, his acting career was bottlenecked, so he decided to let go of his acting career: “Actually, there was never really a ‘peak’ in my acting career – at the time, I felt that there wasn’t much room for further development in my acting and wasn’t sure how to keep going down that path; I was lost without a sense of direction. Coincidentally, the family eyeglasses business was going quite well, so naturally, I decided to place more focus there and that’s where I remained for the next 17 years. Having the opportunity to be in a completely different environment and encounter completely different experiences was definitely an eye-opener – it helped me to know myself better and later on, when I returned to the entertainment industry, it also helped me improve in terms of my acting.”
It can be said that the business world is similar to a war zone. With all the complexities and struggles that could take place, these 17 years surely have not been easy for Michael: “HK was very much impacted by the financial crisis as well as SARS – also, in the business world, so many things are profit-driven, plus there is the pressure of maintaining the business – the complexity of the business world can be very difficult for some people to fathom. Fortunately, we were able to survive that period and get through each difficult stage in one piece.”
Doesn’t care about being first or second brother
After the SARS crisis, HK’s economy was greatly affected – during this time, Michael decided to sell his business and return to the entertainment industry: “Having a business is a gamble – the competition in the market can get very intense and when reality set in, it made sense to sell the business. Also, at the same time, I was invited to participate in a filming project, plus a lot of people have been asking when I would return to the industry, so I thought, why not? Besides, I discovered that I still had an interest in acting. A lot of people say that the entertainment industry is complicated, but in my opinion, nothing can be more complicated than the business world. After experiencing so many ups and downs in the business world, being an actor is way easier and more relaxing in comparisons.”
But the landscape of today’s entertainment industry in HK has changed and has given rise to a new generation of artists. Amongst the ‘Five Tigers’, Tony Leung and Andy Lau have had the most successful acting careers, with both being multiple ‘Best Actor’ winners and maintaining their immense popularity even today. After being away for so long, how does Michael compare to his Tiger brothers in popularity? Actually, Michael does not care about this: “Returning anew, I realized the entire environment and landscape had changed, but it actually felt very refreshing – I was like a newbie entering the industry for the first time. I didn’t feel any apprehension, in fact, it felt quite casual and unrestrained – who cares about being a first brother or second brother? The important thing is doing your own job well. As actors, we are all friends – if we place too much importance on fame and fortune and put that in front of all else, it would be difficult to get through each day. I won’t put that type of pressure on myself – if all day long, I’m comparing myself to them and lamenting why someone has an award and I don’t, I would never be happy. I would much rather maintain a relaxed, casual attitude and happily enjoy each day!”