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Spawn to be wild

Talent, it seems, is in the genes for this quartet who are carving their own famous niche, writes Vanessa Yung

 

TRAVELLING IS AN important part of model-actress Jennifer Tse Ting-ting's life. As busy as her work can get, she always finds time for a getaway, however short, to refresh herself.

"Wherever I go, there's always some sort of inspiration I bring back that makes me so much more pumped for my next job. And if you're a worldly person, you have so much more to offer, especially in an art that expects you to express yourself for people, things and situations," says Tse.

Her recent trip to New York to attend acting school and New York Fashion Week proved both her theories right.

Although she has starred in movies such as Naked Soldier (2012) and Bruce Lee, My Brother (2010), it was after she attended acting school that she found how much she loves the profession.

What the school teaches students, she says, is to use their own emotions by going back to memories of things in their life that they've forgotten or buried because they were too painful.

"You learn a lot about yourself. You learn a lot about other people. Every class we came out with tears. It was emotionally exhausting. It was like a roller coaster," says 30-year-old Tse.

The daughter of actor Patrick Tse Yin and actress Deborah Lee, and younger sister of actor-singer Nicholas Tse Ting-fung, she grew up away from her family in Canada and learnt independence.

"We were still tight despite being as far away as we were," says Tse. "My dad influences me in his carefree, light-hearted take on life. He's generous, in an intangible way. My mum has unconditional love for everyone, and Nic is determined, focused and passionate about what he is doing."

Now she's keen to take on more roles in English. "The me that wants to reveal herself is when I'm speaking English," she says. "Language to me is so important ... It's the one way for me to portray my character."

Favourite sports: "I love scuba diving. I got my licence last year, and since then I've been to a few places. The last one was the Maldives. That's a whole other world. That's the one moment in your life when you don't think about the past or the future, and you just focus on someone else's world. You're so focused on your breathing. You don't touch; you just observe. It's just the most magnificent thing."

 

WHEN DEREK TSANG Kwok-cheung first told his actor-director father that he wanted to get into the film industry, Eric Tsang Chi-wai fell silent for 10 minutes.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada since the age of 10, Tsang always knew he had a famous father whom he would occasionally see on screen. But he had a "down-to-earth" childhood, thanks to his mother and the fact that his dad never exposed him to the showbiz world, so he didn't grow up as a celebrity child.

"He was really surprised [when I wanted to follow in his footsteps]," says the 33-year-old actor-director in his Afterimage Production office in San Po Kong. "He just gave me this really simple answer: 'We'll talk about this again when you've almost finished university'. It was quite traumatic for me ... I thought he didn't want me to get into the business."

But his father didn't forget and planned for him. Tsang recalled how touched he was when, the summer before he finished at the University of Toronto, his father told him that Peter Chan Ho-sun was starting a company and there was a job there for him.

That was how he started. With no background in film - Tsang studied sociology - he learned everything hands-on. He also started acting, starring in movies such as Shadow (2002) and Men Suddenly in Black (2003) - in which he played the youth version of his father's role.

"For me, I've always wanted to become a director. The acting thing just came all of a sudden. But I was like, 'Why not?' It's related to what I do, anyway," says Tsang.

For his third feature as director, he is looking to shoot a dark comedy about a dysfunctional family "where you step on and across the status quo, but it's still a warm, happy story. Films are not only entertainment, they can be a very good reflection and critique of what's going on in the world."

Favourite eating and shopping spots: "Hong Kong is really blessed for food. We have a very good selection. There are a lot of new restaurants that I like - 22 Ships, Yardbird ... the list just goes on and on. But we need more shops with personality, with character. The Star Street district and Tai Ping Shan Road have a lot of small shops that I like. I absolutely hate shopping malls. There's no character."

 

 

IT'S TOO EARLY for Timmy Hung Tin-ming and his actress wife, Janet Chow Ka-wai, to guess what their two-month-old son will grow up to be.

But if history repeats itself, Hung will have to let TJ navigate the competitive entertainment business - just as his own martial arts star father Sammo Hung Kam-bo did.

Hung was 21 when he quit university in Canada. He returned to Hong Kong, where he was born, to enrol at TVB's actor training school.

"[Dad] wanted me to be a professional because when he was young, he didn't have a choice," says Hung, 38. "But I really didn't do well in school. After I came back, he was pretty supportive.

"I want my son to try something else, something he loves. The entertainment business is really hard these days - too many people and not many chances. There's no relation between how much time and effort you put into your work and whether you get a promotion."

Every weekend when Hung was a child and, later, every time he came back to Hong Kong from Canada, he spent time with his father on a film location.

"There was nothing to do on the set, so I played with the stunt guys. We jumped around on the trampoline and did kicks, punches and flips. I'd train myself at home," says Hung. "I would ask my brothers to use a camera. I'd be the director, and we'd design our fight scenes."

Although Hung says he is focusing on acting for the time being, he would eventually like to be a director.

Right now, though, the role Hung most wants to play is that of father and husband. His face lights up at the mention of his son.

"Now I have a family of my own ... everything is for them."

Favourite hobby: "I've taken up motorbiking for almost a year. I have two bikes - a Ducati street fighter from Italy and another one from Canada called the Can-Am Spyder. [The latter] is a three-wheeler and much safer. It's pretty cool when you drive that - everyone will look at you because they haven't seen one before. Another cool thing about it is, you don't have to wear a helmet. The way we ride, it's really chill."

 

JOYCE CHENG Yan-yee has an infectious laugh just like her late mother, the larger-than-life showbiz personality Lydia "Fei Fei" Shum Tin-ha. However, underneath that cheerful exterior is a rebellious soul struggling to be seen for who she is.

"As proud as I am to be my parents' daughter, I'm not them. I'm myself. A lot of people will compare me with my parents and say I can never be as good as them - it can become very stressful," says the 25-year-old Vancouver-born singer-actress.

Her father is popular TV actor and singer Adam Cheng Siu-chao, who divorced Shum when their daughter was eight months old.

"I hate the idea that my entire career depends on my mum. Or that I'm using my mum's fame and popularity to establish my own."

Cheng entered the entertainment business shortly after her mother died of cancer in 2008 - a time when she had to both grieve and defend her father from accusations of neglect. The maturity and confidence that she displayed in that period won her public admiration.

But that has not stopped the unforgiving local media from casting a critical eye on the young performer, who is known for her frankness and, sometimes, overzealousness, on everything from her weight (she weighed 104 kilograms when she was 16) to her singing and relationships.

While Cheng concedes drawing a line between her private and public life remains a challenge - "My life has been an open book since I was an embryo. Everyone knows all my secrets" - she tries to use criticism constructively. "I'm rebellious and headstrong. I'm so scared of being stagnant. The more you say I can't do something, the more I'm going to turn it into my field and do it successfully to shut you up. I just don't like to lose."

Cheng is now focusing on her third album, which will be released in July.

Favourite time killer: "I'm a nerd and I like to stay at home. My friends usually come to my place to hang out. I love watching movies. I love reading. I believe that singing is a form of acting, except with music. And so, as a singer, I'm the storyteller. So how do I tell a story if I can't relate to the character in the story? That's why I love to read and watch movies - it lets me step into somebody else's shoes."

 

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