Mirror manager Ahfa Wong, YouTube comedy group Pomato share stories at TEDxHSUHK

  • Event at Hang Seng University featured speakers from all areas of Hong Kong media, including music group RubberBand and content creators from Corrupt the Youth
  • Director Kiwi Chow, who produced the controversial documentary ‘Revolution of Our Times,’ was originally slated to speak but was cut
Kelly Fung |

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Ahfa Wong Wai-kwan, manager of popular Canto-pop group Mirror, spoke about the emotional issues she has faced as her career hits its peak. Photo: Captured from YouTube

The mastermind behind Canto-pop stars Mirror, Ahfa Wong Wai-kwan, has opened up about the struggles of being a manager for the group at a TED Talk held at Hang Seng University of Hong Kong on Thursday.

TEDxHSUHK, a TED talk organised by the university, invited nine guest speakers from all areas of media in Hong Kong, including the local music scene, television broadcasting, online media, and the radio and the film industries, to share their stories about the best and worst times of their lives.

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The four-hour event, held at the university, featured a line-up consisting of television show producer and Mirror manager Ahfa Wong Wai-kwan; local band RubberBand; Youtubers Chorus and Vito from the popular channel Pomato; director Adam Wong; radio host Ah Jeng; content creators Yeung Chun-yin and Kwan Ho-chuen from the philosophy group Corrupt the Youth; and director-scriptwriter Heiward Mak.

Director Kiwi Chow, who produced the controversial documentary Revolution of Our Times recounting the social unrest in 2019, was originally slated to speak at the event, but was later cut from the list.

Wong capped off the event with an 18-minute talk on the topic of “Stranger in the mirror”. The idol manager admitted that she had been dealing with the “worst of times” in her life since becoming the manager of the 12-member boy band.

The 49-year-old confessed that she has been suffering from emotional issues and is currently on medication.

“Every time I look in the mirror, I feel like I don’t know myself,” she said. “Even though I’m at the peak of my career, my life has changed 180 degrees since becoming a manager.”

In her speech, she opened up about losing her self-confidence, saying she felt disconnected with herself.

“I really dislike myself,” she said. “How can someone who is so negative give a talk that’s supposed to be positive?”

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Wong shared that Mirror member Anson Lo asked if she would be able to give the talk before she set off in the morning.

Wong credited the organiser of the event for giving her a chance to reflect on how she has changed in the last four years, saying it has allowed her to learn something new about herself.

“It forced me to think about how I could find the best of times during the worst of times,” she said.

She encouraged the audience to take a step back when they need to, instead of feeling like they always need to press forward, adding that understanding others and learning more about ourselves can help reduce conflict in society.

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She ended the talk by saying: “It’s tough to stay in the box. Let’s just take a step back.”

Earlier in the day, Chorus and Vito, both members of the YouTube channel Pomato, famous for its comedic skits, shared the secret to their success.

Vito said the key was to “create something extraordinary out of simplicity.”

One popular series on the channel, known as “Cold jokes in the fridge” in Cantonese, has already garnered over 50 million views in its 262 episodes as of June 2.

Chorus and Vito, members of the YouTube channel Pomato, said simplicity is best when it comes to creating something exciting. Photo: Captured from YouTube

In this series, a camera set up inside a fridge records two of the artists, and one of them must tell a joke in under one minute.

Vito said the idea was inspired by a YouTube video he saw of a person telling cheesy jokes. To his surprise, the video had racked up more than 40 million views.

“It made me realise that we can do something like this,” he said. “A lot of people don’t want to think too much when browsing videos on the internet.”

He encouraged everyone to “hold tight to what we already have” and keep things “simple and direct”.

Chorus, who also goes by his stage name, Ching Yan-fu, encouraged the audience to focus on their interests.

“For those who don’t know what they don’t have, the first step is to find out what you do have, whether it be your talents, flair or character,” he said. “Start with your interests.”

The duo agreed that on the internet, no talent would go unnoticed.

“You don’t have to be strong to start something. You become stronger once you start,” Chorus said. “Don’t dream, just do it.”

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