Head monk Sik Chi Wai once dreamt of being a film star. But he failed an audition in front of legendary actor and director Ng Cho-fan, who told him: 'Stop dreaming and get a real job.' 'I was 18 years old and quite handsome,' the 70-year-old recalled yesterday. 'I went to the film company to meet Ng Cho-fan. He handed me a script to read. Afterwards, Mr Ng told me to pursue another craft. 'Now I have become a media star, I guess,' he laughed. He also revealed that 20 years ago a Hong Kong tycoon offered him $2 million to leave the monastery and go into business with him. He refused. 'If I had been tempted, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you.' Sik Chi Wai came to Hong Kong aged three with his mother, elder sister and brother from Nanhai in Guangdong in 1935. The family lived with his uncle, Sik Fat Ho, then head monk of Po Lin Monastery, which at that time was little more than a hut. His mother died of starvation when he was seven. Three years later, the Japanese army marched into Hong Kong and the young boy became a messenger and scout for the local guerilla army. During a mission in 1944, he saved guerilla leader Lu Feng by hiding him from Japanese soldiers in the monastery. After the war, Sik Chi Wai was converted to Buddhism by his uncle, who feared there would be nobody to take over the monastery when he died. 'I worked from the lowest rank, doing all sorts of chores. Sometimes I joked that they worked me like a slave.' Po Lin Monastery prospered during his time. He was awarded an MBE by the British government in 1996 in recognition of his work. The following year he was made a deputy of the National People's Congress by Beijing.