Here’s another 20-year-old video of superstar Chow Yuen Fat that brings us back to the days when Chow was better known as a comedian than a hitman. Oh, very nice.
More seriously, Chow, unlike his well-off Hakka compatriot Eric Tsang, was born in a poor Hakka farming community on Lamma Island in 1955. In the following video, also about 20 years old, Chow talks about his younger days working as a hi-fi salesman and porter in a hotel. His illustrious career started with an acting class. Most of the older fogies will remember how he became a household name in The Bund where he played a graduate who turned into a gangster.
今夜不设防 has become a classic and I suspect that most people writing about Chow Yuen Fat would watch it. Why? Chow spoke a lot more intelligently in this show than any of those silly interviews he did in Singapore.
Still, Chow remains rather secretive about his relationships, especially his 9-month marriage to 余安安. I believe the men asked him, but his refused to say anything and that part got cut. His account of how he ended up with his Singaporean wife and how they got along was sketchy and even sounded a bit implausible. It’s as if he was acting on the set. Who doesn’t know that life and romance were a lot simpler back then. For a man of his talent, substance and character, one would expect a lot more interesting anecdotes mental struggles on his first love. Probably, he didn’t have the time to craft them for this interview.
He urged everyone in Hongkong to be more forgiving. Everyone is just out to earn a living. Someone may hurt someone in the process. If it hurts him but benefits you, go ahead. Chow Yuen Fat understands and forgives you. Just don’t do things that hurt others without benefiting yourself. That sounds a bit overnice. Maybe it’s just “gangster talk”.
I’m not sure why they changed the venue towards the end. It seemed as if the sofa was a bit uncomfortable for Chow. Anyway, Wong Jim said something very meaningful about loneliness. You may not be lonely when you’re alone. You’re only lonely when you can’t break into a crowd/group.
It’s been 20 years since this video was shot. Chow has moved to Hollywood before 1997 and until this day, he is unable to achieve the same level of success that he managed in Asia during the 1980s and 1990s. At least, Jackie Chan is now way ahead of him.
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© Chan Joon Yee