Here’s a delightful article from the latest issue of Mingpao Weekly (published this past Friday) recapping the interview that Jacky did with Raymond Ng for his NowTV program. Of course, nothing beats watching the actual interview once it airs (which I hope is soon), but for now, us Jacky fans can enjoy this ‘sampling’ from MP.
In terms of comments about the article….well, the article pretty much speaks for itself, but there are a few things that I wanted to mention:
.—I’ve heard of Raymond Ng’s (Brother Fai) name before and actually did know that he was friends with Jacky, but didn’t realize they were that close. No wonder Jacky was willing to accept this particular interview (note that he rarely accepts interviews of this nature unless the interviewer is someone he knows well). Brother Fai sounds like a very interesting person and it sounds like he and Jacky have a lot of mutual friends in the industry based on the names that came up in the interview (which isn’t surprising given the way the HK entertainment industry works). I definitely look forward to watching his interaction with Jacky in the actual program once it airs.
.—I totally LOL’ed at the segment where Jacky talks about his older daughter Zoe being ‘rebellious’ and not allowing her to go to the mall by herself. When he responded to Brother Fai (in that cute, innocent way of his) that the ‘Internet didn’t say anything about the mall being safe or not’(I can totally picture that segment in my head too), I almost fell on the floor laughing! Silly Jacky daddy! (hehehe)
.—One of the reasons why I enjoyed this article so much (and look forward to the interview) is because this is one of those rare interviews where Jacky talks in depth about his wife and daughters. It was sweet reading about how much he appreciates everything his wife (May May) has done for him and from the way he ‘gushes’ about his daughters, it’s obvious how much he loves them! As I’ve said numerous times before – in addition to the entertainer side of Jacky, one of the other reasons why I love him so much to become a fan of his for such a long time (22 years and counting) is because of his personality in real life and his reputation for being a good husband and father (as I’ve said before: good men like him are pretty much extinct nowadays, so May May is definitely lucky! Haha!). This article reinforces that fact.
.—Glad that Jacky clarified that Lehman thing again! Despite the fact that us Jacky fans have been stating for years that the rumor about him being significantly impacted by the Lehman issue was not true, tabloids continued to insist on it (not surprisingly) and of course, people who don’t know any better continued to believe them (the tabloids). Hopefully this is the last time that Jacky needs to clarify this issue (meaning let’s put this issue to rest, please!).
Jacky Cheung scolded for 10 minutes straight to give up alcohol; re-takes wedding pictures with wife May Lo
Source: Mingpao Weekly, Issue 2316
RTHK’s former deputy director of broadcasting Raymond Ng Sek Fai (吳錫輝) recently embarked on a new career path: serving as host for NowTV program Brother Fai’s Culinary Rewards (輝哥的饌賞). As an interview program that features the host [who is referred to as ‘Brother Fai’ by his friends] inviting his celebrity friends to chit-chat with him while enjoying various delectable dishes, the format sounds very similar to one of TVB’s former popular interview program Be My Guest (志雲飯局).
Towards this, Brother Fai explains: “At first, when I saw that HK’s local eateries were being ‘killed off’ by big real estate bosses one by one, I wanted to bring attention to the issue and so I figured that a food-themed program such as this was the best way to do it. In the beginning, I was only planning to be an advisor – in fact, for the trial episode, I had Kelvin Kwan (關楚耀) and Jacqueline Pang (彭晴) serve as hosts, however [nowTV’s Executive VP and GM of Production] Ho Lai Chuen (何麗全) told me that if I’m not willing to host the program, then he’s not even going to consider having it produced. Later on, it evolved into a cultural program of sorts that helped to preserve and safeguard HK’s core values, so we persevered with pushing this conviction.”
Recently, ‘God of Songs’ Jacky Cheung (張學友) agreed to be interviewed by Brother Fai for his program. Towards the ‘rare’ move of agreeing to such an interview, Jacky laughed and explained that when Brother Fai contacted him, he could not think of anything else to say except ‘Ok!’: “Brother Fai can be considered the person who ‘discovered’ me! We were both born on the same month, same day (July 10th) and even though we don’t see each other often, there’s an inseparable connection between us – he’s practically like a father figure to me.” Their ‘connection’ is indeed a very close one, similar to family: Brother Fai once scolded Jacky angrily over his excessive drinking and over the years, whenever Jacky encounters difficulties with his daughters, the first person he goes to for advice is Brother Fai’s wife, Blanche Tang (鄧藹霖) [TN: Blanche Tang is a former RTHK DJ turned parenting expert].
No matter how many years pass and regardless of whether he is ‘person’ or ‘god’ [TN: play on Jacky’s ‘God of Songs’ title], Jacky Cheung always has the utmost reverence in his heart for Brother Fai: “He was the head judge of the singing contest I participated in many years ago, so it’s as though he was the one who brought me into the industry.”
In 1984, Jacky participated in the 18th Hong Kong District Amateur Singing Competition, which was organized by RTHK – after so many years, Brother Fai still remembers that moment fondly: “You represented the Eastern district at the time; as soon as you finished singing Michael Kwan’s (關正傑) classic ‘Fatherland’ (大地恩情), I remember saying to myself: ‘The other 9 contestants are dead!’ No, I wasn’t trying to curse them – it’s just that when all of us judges discussed backstage, our opinion was unanimous: you were the best [out of all the contestants who participated]!”
When he first started in the industry, Jacky’s career was pretty smooth – from the ‘Best Newcomer’ to various ‘Golden Hits’ awards, it seemed that success came easily. Unfortunately though, the good circumstances didn’t last : in 1988, when Jacky released his 5th album Last Night in My Dreams (昨夜夢魂中), the sales of the album dropped to a record low of 20,000 copies. Unfortunately, Jacky’s reputation also took a hit as well – his ‘good boy’ image was tarnished and soon he became known as a constantly drunk ‘alcoholic’: “To this day, I still can’t figure out why I took up drinking – it’s not like I was under a whole lot of pressure or anything. But it’s undeniable that the constant drunkenness brought a lot of negative reports and as a result, record sales were affected.”
At the time, Brother Fai – who loved Jacky like a son – was pained to see him in this manner; one time, they were standing in the street in Wan Chai and Brother Fai started scolding Jacky severely for 10 minutes straight. At the time, [record company] Polygram’s top exec Chan Yu Hung (陳汝雄) tried to put a stop to the scolding by yelling out: ‘Enough! Enough!’ – however, Brother Fai ignored him and continued to reprimand Jacky: “Enough what?! Scolding him for another 5 minutes isn’t even enough!” Hearing Brother Fai recount this story, Jacky’s memory of the incident returned: “The worst thing is that at the time, I didn’t take your words to heart and continued to drink!”
After losing his way for a few years, Jacky suddenly realized that he needed to face reality – not only did he quit drinking, he also worked hard to rebuild his reputation and regain the acceptance of friends and fans. Over the years, Jacky is often praised for his flexibility and willingness to try different things – but even someone like him can have those moments where he finds himself in a difficult to resolve predicament: “During a concert in the year 2000, I suddenly was not able to sing. At the time, my eldest daughter (Zoe 張瑤華) was just born so I was already feeling nervous overall – plus my nose allergy flared up again and so when I was singing, I would often force my voice to come out – the result was that I ended up damaging my voice. This is why I often warn potential singers that they should have a professional singing teacher teach them the proper methods of singing because once your voice is ‘dead’, it’s hard to fix.”
Long distance call to ‘ask advice’
Brother Fai says that both him and Jacky were born on July 10th and so fall under the astrological sign Cancer – people with that sign have a common trait: they’re naturally compassionate and also place the most importance on family: “One time, in the middle of a performance in Australia, you called Sandy Lamb (林珊珊) in a flustered and exasperated state to urgently ask for my wife’s phone number. When you called, you asked if you could get some advice on how to communicate well with children.” It turns out that Jacky was desperate to make a long distance call to his friend to ask for advice because of a predicament at home: his wife May Lo (羅美薇) had gotten into an argument with their daughter (Zoe) back home – in tears, Zoe called her daddy to ‘complain’. Having just finished a performance on stage, Jacky was beside himself and didn’t know what to do, so he decided to call the only parenting expert he knew – Brother Fai’s wife Blanche Tang. Jacky recalls: “My wife is the type who gets extremely nervous over everything and in the process of raising our daughters, she gets flustered often. She and I handle matters very differently and so sometimes there would be conflict there – nowadays, the 2 of us try really hard to work together in order to accomplish our goals, especially as they pertain to our daughters. For example, on the topic of whether our daughter should go to boarding school – if we mutually decide that she should, then we analyze the situation together and figure out the best way to help our daughter understand that it’s the best option for her.”
Towards his 2 daughters, is Jacky partial to one over the other? In response, Jacky practically had to raise his hand to swear an oath: “With the heavens and earth as my witness, I swear I’ve never been partial to one over the other! In fact, I’m very very careful when handling matters related to them: the younger one ( Zia 張瑤萱) is still a little kid, so of course she will be a little more coy and want attention – she’s already at the stage where she sometimes fights with her older sister and will purposefully do things to try and please us to gain favor; the older one (Zoe) will be turning 13 soon and is starting to be rebellious—all day, she complains about things being ‘unfair’. She constantly complains that her classmates are allowed to go to the mall to watch a movie by themselves, but we don’t allow her to go by herself . There are lots of people at that mall, plus I’ve never been there myself and when I research on the Internet, it says there are tens of thousands of people there….” At this moment, Brother Fai couldn’t help asking: “Which mall?”, to which Jacky responds: “Festival Walk! [in Kowloon Tong]” Brother Fai asks: “What’s the problem? That’s the safest mall in HK!” Jacky sheepishly responds: “Um, I don’t know…the Internet didn’t mention anything (about that mall being the safest).”
Lehman Brothers issue was exaggerated
Last year, Jacky completed 146 shows of his ½ Century Concert tour – such an accomplishment could not have been achieved without the support of his wife May; Jacky is grateful to his wife for taking care of matters at home so that he could focus on his performances. Asked what was the most ‘romantic’ thing he had done to ‘reward’ his wife for her support all these years, Jacky replied: “The biggest thing was re-taking wedding pictures and treating close friends to a ‘wedding’ dinner. [TN: Jacky and May married overseas (to avoid the prying eyes of the HK Media) so they never had a ‘traditional’ wedding ceremony like others did]. That moment was definitely a very happy one! Sure, we waited until our daughters were already so big to take wedding pictures, but hey, it’s better than nothing!”
The past few years, there have been constant rumors that Jacky lost a lot of money due to the Lehman Brothers situation and that’s the reason why he had to do his ½ Century Concert tour. Towards these rumors, Jacky expressed his helplessness: “The matter was definitely super exaggerated!! After I finished my 2007 concert tour, my bank contacted me and proposed an investment plan that included investing in Lehman Brothers stock – the Lehman Brothers portion was only 20% of the entire investment plan, so even if I were to lose money, it would very little – no big deal at all. When I was asked about it at the time, I admitted to investing in Lehman Brothers and jokingly said that I’ll need to work harder now – after that, the reports came out saying that I had lost everything in that investment and had to resort to taking up a lot of job offers to make up for it! That rumor continued to spread for a number of years – in fact, in 2011, people were still saying that I did my ½ Century Concert because of the Lehman issue! At the time, it was more than 4 years already [since the Lehman investment] – if the rumor were true, I would have already starved to death by then!”
First page, top middle: After his bout with alcoholism, Jacky has since given up on drinking: “For a period of 7 years, I didn’t touch alcohol at all – not even one drop.” Brother Fai smiles and responds: “Unfortunately, you have a buddy named Eric Tsang () – he’s a bad person, don’t hang out with him so much.” Nowadays, when it comes to alcohol, Jacky only dabbles in it occasionally.
Second page, top left box: When it comes to food, Jacky does not have any particular preferences, as he views food as “a source meant to maintain my life.” For this interview, Brother Fai treated Jacky to dinner at Tak Lung Restaurant [in San Po Keung, HK island] – when the restaurant’s owner Mr. Tsang brought over a dish of pickled cabbage with pork, Jacky was ecstatic and ate one bowl of rice after another. In fact, he liked the food so much that he gestured over to Alan [lead vocalist for the music group Mr.], who was at the other end of the room, and shouted out: “Alan, come try this! It’s delicious!”