ROCK STAR Paul Wong Koon-chung believes that if Beethoven and Mozart were around today they would be playing rock'n'roll. The straight-talking musician has opinions and is not afraid to express them through his music. He tends to regard himself as more than a musician, saying he is a journalist and commentator. The former Beyond guitarist and vocalist's work records the lives of ordinary people and expresses discontent with society's injustices. In his debut solo album released last year, Wong criticised Tung Chee-hwa's administration for failing to improve conditions for people in Hong Kong. He repeats the theme in his recently released second solo album, Black And White. The 37-year-old says: 'With more powerful lyrics and anger, I try to discuss people's daily life from various perspectives but in a straightforward way, so that people can understand the messages conveyed in the songs more easily.' Wong says his inspiration comes from newspapers and television news. 'This is very important to me because, apart from looking for lyrics ideas, I would feel scared if I were out of touch with society. 'I write lyrics like writing news stories. They are made up of different perspectives or stories that I have heard from friends. My role is to record them in an objective way, just like news reporting.' Wong always aims to improve his work and expand his creativity. On the new album he tries his hand at a new discipline. 'Apart from composing the songs and writing my own lyrics, I have done the arrangements for strings. The songs include a 40-member orchestra and some tracks that I recorded on my own. I wanted to add elements of classical music to rock'n'roll, because of my childhood musical influences.' He was introduced to classical music when he was 10, listening to his father's collection. 'I used to lie down on the floor and turn up the volume on the hi-fi,' he recalls. 'My first impression on hearing it was, 'Wow! This is great!'.' His favourite composers include Mozart, Beethoven and Stravinsky. 'Their music has inspired me a lot. I believe that if Mozart and Beethoven were born in modern times they would play rock'n'roll, while Stravinsky would be making progressive music.' The new album also has Wong playing the double bass, viola, violin and guitar. He admits he was exhausted from working seven days a week to produce the album over the past year, but was proud of the results. With a smile he jokes: 'I think I'm better than Yo-Yo Ma.' Another source of happiness comes from Wong's love life. He is dating actress Athena Chu Yan. Wong and Chu have been together for three years. He grins when asked about the relationship. 'She trusts me,' he says. 'We understand each other very well. She supports me and recognises my work. 'She's different from other girls in show business, who like designer labels and dining at expensive restaurants. 'Athena can be just as happy if you take her out to a dai pai dong. ' Wong says he would consider another venture on to the big screen if a role came up. His last movie - his eighth - was The Boss Up There in 1999. 'I love films and I think acting is fun,' he says.