Aug 16, 2012|
When I was a kid, no one knew that illustrating could be a profession. There were only three jobs for women: housewives, nurses and teachers. A housewife cannot wear pretty clothes and her job is tiring. I didn’t want to be a nurse either, because it’s brutal to give injections. So I decided that I wanted to be a teacher.
Then I wanted to marry the hawker who sold cheung fun on the streets because cheung fun is my favorite food. Later, I became more politically correct and said I wanted to open my own cheung fan stall—there was a moment of panic and fury when my elder brother told me he wanted to be a member of the hawker control team when he grew up!
My family is quite liberal, and they did not stop me when I told them I wanted to be an illustrator. My older brother is also a designer, and we both studied at Hong Kong Polytechnic. Our home was turned upside down during that time. At one point, our home was pitch-dark because my brother made us switch all the lights off in order to process his film. I fell and hit my mouth.
McDull has changed a lot in 20 years. In the earlier days, McDull and McMug [another character] were still four-legged, and they were not the main characters. Gradually, it became clear that McDull was the most popular. A writer even told me she wanted to marry him.
McDull’s personality hasn’t changed. He is still kind, innocent and persistent, and he loves his mother dearly. However, he might not survive in Hong Kong.
If you are a mother, you would not want your children to be like McDull. You will want them to be competitive. The curious thing is that many mothers like McDull a lot.
There are different definitions of being competitive. You can turn your children into someone with a strong heart who can withstand difficulties and failures. The other way is to make your children able to do a lot of things. I think most Hong Kong parents opt for the latter.
I am glad that I don’t have children. I am kind of paranoid—I might force my kids to do crazy stuff. It’s better for me not to have kids.
Tse’s stories [Mak’s husband Brian writes McDull’s storylines] are not tragic, but they are very realistic. In the real world, most things are tragic. When Tse creates the stories for McDull, he looks at the adult world. In this movie, the kindergarten is going to close down and the children have to go to sing and tour around China to raise money for their school. This is not something especially tragic, but this is something that happens in real life. There have never been princes and princesses—except Prince de la Bun [a 2004 McDull film]—in our stories.
I am always being scolded by people [for the commercialization of McDull]. I don’t fear being scolded because they all love McDull and I a lot.
In 2010, I did a Chinese New Year commercial with the government, and it featured Donald Tsang and McDull. A lot of people said that I was a sellout.
Officials told me it was an opportunity for the creative industry in Hong Kong. And I thought it would be great if some illustrators could take up the job after me! Also, a lot of people could watch McDull on TV. As a creator, you want as many people as possible to know about your characters.
The officials hired me because they didn’t want Tsang and his wife saying “Kung Hei Fat Choy” on the screens!
I have all the bad qualities possessed by children, but none of their good qualities. I am clumsy, forgetful, and I need people to take care of me.
My life hasn’t changed a lot in these years. I always stay home. I grew up in Causeway Bay and I still live here. Central is the furthest place I go.
Going to Kowloon side is a big thing! I always feel dizzy when I go to Mong Kok because everything is repetitive. You see the same stores in the shopping malls, just like the ones in Causeway Bay. I don’t despise new things—I just look down on ugly things.
Recently, I thought that I would like to move to Mei Foo. I have been living in Hong Kong for decades, but I didn’t know that such a place exists! This place is so fantastic! It is beautiful with a lot of trees. There are wet markets, a lot of little shops sell interesting merchandise—it’s not like the shopping malls.
But if I really did move there, I think I would keep getting lost and become stuck in Mei Foo forever.
“The Pork of Music” opens in cinemas on Aug 16.