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Actor Eric Tsang Chi-wai
Eric Tsang Chi-wai isn’t just the rolly polly funny guy, he’s also a philanthrapist, devout Buddhist and an award-winning producer who’s film, “High Noon,” is receiving rave reviews. He talks to June Ng about friendship, divorce, and the joy of letting go.

By June Ng | Nov 13, 2008

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  • Actor Eric Tsang Chi-wai

I played professional football when I was young. Then when I joined the movie industry, I found myself working with another kind of team. Working with a team has really inspired me to cherish my friendships.

Everyone should give back to society by sharing their skills with others. When I was young, I received a lot of advice from my mentors. Now, I feel a responsibility to give something back.

Movie empires don’t exist anymore. The big production houses don’t nourish new talent like they used to. It’s not like it used to be, when if they discovered a new star, their profits would skyrocket.

That said, TVB does try hard to build new stars. The management system means a successful star will bring in a lot of money for the company. Miss Hong Kong will keep going, and the winners will still get to act.

At the moment, we either have big budget blockbusters or low-budget independent projects. We need more medium-sized productions. Remember, these kinds of movies kept the industry afloat in the 80s.

Gossip magazines stop celebrities from doing normal things—we’re labeled “cheap” if we’re caught going to an inexpensive restaurant or store.

Know your roots. A lot of actors from my generation have humble beginnings, but once they become rich and famous, they forget what everyday life is about.

Everyone acts everyday. They’re just not aware of it. It’s an actor’s job to exaggerate onscreen how people behave in reality. By observing the people around you, you can learn to play many roles.

Considering my age, I should have lost track of the youth culture by now. But I always think you should try to keep abreast of what’s happening in the lives of young people.

Being taken advantage of by others isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You might feel as though you’ve lost, but in fact you’ve gained something else: experience.

We make a lot of triad movies here. But it’s not because we have many triads; it’s because we cherish brotherhood. We grew up with martial arts stories, and now the triad world is the perfect setting for a modern take on the theme.

Nothing lasts forever. All that’s important is asking yourself if you are happy today.

Couples shouldn’t worry very much when they’re breaking up. Just look back and find the happy moments. Of course there must be some, otherwise you would never have clicked in the first place.

My first marriage failed because I was too young at the time, but my ex-wife and I are still good friends.

Be friends with your ex. It’s a pity that people become enemies when they’re not a couple anymore. It’s not easy to get to know a person and develop a relationship.

You can apply the same formula to sustaining your relationship and your competitiveness at work. Always deal with obstacles as if it’s your first day on the job. Then there’s no way you can lose.

Buddhism has taught me how to live an easy life, especially when it comes to teaching me how to “let go.” People put so many burdens on themselves; we should cherish what we have now.

The economic crisis has helped people learn to let go. A few hundred million dollars is a heavy burden to have on your shoulders, and it’s impossible to spend it all before you die anyway.

Everyone has lost. But what’s the big deal? Our living standards have been set back 20 years, and now everyone is poor. But so what? The most important thing is that this misfortune is a burden for everyone. We’re all suffering together.

Check out our movie review of High Noon

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