Life: Stage 2 Begins

Filed in Dragonball (2008), Durango, Mx (2008), Life, Travel, TVB (H.K.) 香港無線電視, WorkTags:

Twenty years ago, I was working as an English tutor in the 育成 tutorial centre in Causeway Bay when one day, one of the teachers working with me told me of a poster at her school searching for a Cantonese-speaking Caucasian to act for a TVB series. I called the number she gave me and a Pakistani agent answered the phone. I was very unsure of my chances because at the time, I had absolutely no acting training or experience of any kind save for a few extra roles in high school plays. The agent however was reassuring, and encouraged me to go to the interview. He was reassuring because he could find no one else. I was his only chance.

At the interview with Miss 曾勵珍, I sat frozen in my seat looking at the few lines of English dialog in the script she had handed me. As the minutes of tense silence passed, I told myself that if I didn't take the chance and speak the lines no matter how badly I might say them, I would regret it for the rest of my life. When I finally spoke the lines with a loud reprimanding voice as apparently required by the scene in question, Miss 曾勵珍 who had turned her back to me, jumped in her seat, startled by my sudden outburst. I wasn't good, but again, TVB could find no one else and I was hired to play my first TVB role, a police officer in the series 「大茶園」. That was January 1988, a very long time ago, and a very special moment in my life.

Two years ago, as I had frequently done before, I once again seriously considered my future. Even with eighteen years of loyal service to TVB, I was still seemingly insignificant in their eyes, or at least not significant enough to be given heavier roles. I do not grudge TVB for this because Hong Kong is after all a Chinese region and as such, major Caucasian roles are almost always unnecessary. Regardless, I could not see a happy ending for myself if I walked the safe path and stayed at TVB. I decided to leave. When I informed TVB of my decision, they implored me to stay on, signing a freer one-show no-salary contract instead of the regular monthly-salary contract. I agreed and stayed on, but as time passed, I was time and time again reminded that my value at TVB would always be less than ideal.

The last few years have seen many important events in my life. My wife lost her parents who I was close to. I starred for the first time in a musical stage production "They’re Playing Our Song (2007)" and enjoyed a creative development process which was not possible in all my years at TVB, while at the same time missing out on the long-running Caucasian role in TVB's 「同事三分親」. And I encountered the one and only 周潤發.

In November of 2007, I informed TVB in writing that I would not be renewing my contract. On the 27th of December 2007, I performed for the last time at TVB. The 6th of January 2008 was officially my last day at TVB, almost exactly twenty years after my first day at TVB. On the 8th of January 2008, I was on a Cathay Pacific flight, taking the first steps of the next stage of my life.

As one magazine recently put it, the (TVB) 河國榮 era has come to an end.

At this very moment as I sit typing this in a hotel restaurant in Mexico's Durango, I am no longer a TVB artist. I have begun the next stage in my life and I'm excited at what might ensue.

Coming soon… The Untold Story

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53 Responses to “Life: Stage 2 Begins”
  1. Tony says:

    It's a shame that you have to leave TVB. I grew up watching you perform in so many different roles in its dramas. But your decision is understandable given the way the organization treats you. In any case, it might not mean a lot, but you set the standard for all the "random foreign guys" in all future HK dramas. I wish you the best of luck. Keep us updated!! You got tons of fans all over the world.

  2. Richard says:

    Hey Greg,

    Sorry to hear that you're no longer in TVB, but at the same time it is rather exciting to hear that you're making a big move in life. Hope everything goes well for you. :D

    On a different note: have you ever considered writing something? I've noticed that the Pearl channel is mostly of foreign programs, so perhaps you can use it to promote your own work? It could be a TV musical, soap, travel documentary, etc. I'm assuming you'll be interested in writing things at some point in the future.

    Of course, this could also be implemented on TVB's other channels, but Pearl would perhaps be a good place to start.

    By all means, do ignore this if things turn out really well in Life: Stage 3. :D

    Keep in touch with us!

    Regards,
    Richard

  3. mike says:

    I am a long time lurker, first time poster. WOW this is a stunning news to all of us.Not able to see you on TV is like seeing a close friend moving far away and not coming back. I always think TVB has issues with keeping talents and sadly, it proves me right once again. I wish you luck on whatever you're trying to do. We're 100% behind you and WE LOVE YOU GREG. Please keep us informed about your latest.

    wish you all the best,
    mike

  4. Alison says:

    Hey Greg,

    I'm a first-time poster on your blog. It was sad to leave you leaving TVB and HK, I do enjoy watching drama series of yours a lot. But then, I wish you luck in whatever you're going to pursue in the future, I wish I could go for my dreams like you do at some point in my life. So, keep us updated and I would love to know more of your coming adventures! =)

    By the way, you should tell us more about Mexico, I am considering to go there some time soon because I'm now studying in the US =)

    Best Wishes,
    Alison~

  5. Cassio says:

    同時三分親 should be 同事三分親 :P

    anyway, first post as well, although i've been reading your blog for quite a few weeks now. sad to know that i'm not going to see you in on tv saying chinese anymore (although, do you still do films? if i remember correctly, you were in Exodus (出埃及記), as a senior police officer)

    good luck with the rest of your life in mexico

  6. Holing says:

    It will be sad to no longer see you on our TV screens; while other high profile actors/actresses come and go, you've been a staple for many years. It is great to see that you've found a new direction in your life =) The best of luck to you!

    On a separate note, it is really weird to imagine you as 阿一 on 同事三分親!

  7. Vanessa says:

    Dont worry. Always be positive. End of a job doesn't mean you lost. A bright future is now started. Wait to see your sucessful career.

  8. 河國榮 says:

    hi Alison. I have left TVB but I'm not leaving Hong Kong. Hong Kong is my home ;-)

  9. 河國榮 says:

    "同時三分親 should be 同事三分親"

    thanks. I'll fix that.

  10. 河國榮 says:

    hi Vanessa. I'm not worried. Far from it. I'm happy, relieved, free and excited ;-)

  11. ahhmui says:

    it seems a lot of lurkers are commenting on this post (like me) because we are all really sad to hear you go... but we know it's not the last we'll hear or see you (just not on tvb). It's hard to step out of our comfort zones but sometimes we have too, to get to a better comfort zone! Best of luck in all that you do! If you are ever in NYC, you have a free tourguide!

  12. Kim says:

    A few years ago, I couldn't understand why artists would leave TVB. I felt like it was the best opportunity that could be given. It was not until my favorite actress, Michelle Ye decided to leave, that I finally understood, there is life after TVB. To be frank, TVB politics is unfair. I know there is a lot that goes on behind the doors that is not publicly known. You are talented, who's not only smart, but passionate and driven. So I'm not "sad" by your decision, b/c this would only open another great chapter in your life. I wish you much success in whatever your future endeavor may be.

  13. K H Leung says:

    Dear Gregory,

    I hope you've enjoyed your time in Hong Kong.
    And thank you very much, I grew up with TVB shows, and your appearances (will) play a very important part in my memories.
    You're definitely one of the most important icons in the history of TV in HK; and I'm sure seeing you on telly would be a true cultural 集體回憶 of Hong Kong, as HK people like to call it these days.
    Thank you very much for growing up with my generation.
    And I sincerely wish you all the best for the future.

    A fan,
    K H Leung

  14. Oscar says:

    Looking forward to seeing you in the TV shows again!

  15. sapphire says:

    I have some mixed feelings after I've read your posting.
    The good thing is....you've turned the page finally. The sad thing....we can't see you on TVB anymore!

    You're truly part of our collective memory!!!

    Wishing you all the best!

    PS. Please don't forget to keep us informed of your next move. :)

  16. Julie says:

    Hi Greg, well done, it's a very brave move! Like I said before, I really hope to see you on stage doing more muscials as you were so good in "They're playing our songs". I whole-heartedly believe that you have made the right decision, and you will rock it whatever you decide to do next. All my love to you and your family.

  17. Alex says:

    I suppose I am disappointed that you've moved on, but at the same time, I am feeling very happy for you. Working for TVB wasn't really the place for you, not for someone that is as talented as you are anyway. It is very hard to find a new direction sometimes in life, and it looks as if you have found something that you really want to do. Wish you the best of luck in whatever you do! And may be one day, you will return to the HK television or film industry!

  18. Ken says:

    hey greg
    its good to see that you have found a new direction. best wishes! we will miss you here in hk!

  19. tora_cat says:

    I'll miss you, just like a friend leaving. Keep in touch.

  20. cindy says:

    I will miss seeing you on TVB. Wishing you all the best in the future and hope that you will continue with your show biz career.

    =) I will still read your blog

  21. Maggie says:

    It's heavy after reading this update. One way I understand why you leave but on the other I don't want you leaving.

    Although TVB did not treat you well, you are still a good artist. (Don't take it personal as i think TVB didn't treat other good artists well.) I still remembered the first time i saw you was in Alan's concert, you sang a song of him. I think in my heart and many others, you had a significant position.

    Just wish you all the best and maybe you can post some pictures of your life now. Keep in touch and don't give up. ;o)

  22. themamakcorner says:

    Kinda sad to know that you've left TVB. As a matter of fact, I grew up watching your dramas too. Anyway, all da best for your future undertaking. I belief your fans (including me) will keep an eye on this blog to know the updates.

  23. pelly says:

    Dear Greg,

    a bit sad...coz you are such a great artist, and actually i think many of the hk ppl like you and you mean sth important to us.but couldn't agree more that TVB is not a gd company, u deserve sth better, so i wish you fly up high!

    p.s. a year or two ago i watched a drama called "perfume" (香水), i was impressed by your acting. and i like very much that sometimes you sang in some tvb series.

  24. 米蘭 says:

    Hey Gregory, I know you used to be in IT. If you're interested to get back in IT, I could arrange a decent paying job for you in Wan Chai.

  25. Pete says:

    Hi Gregory,
    long time lurker, 1st time poster and to a celebrity as well. Will miss your acting in TVB series. I've basically watch TVB series since the early 80's and noticed you pretty early on in your career with TVB. As a fellow aussie and "ABC" you put me to shame with your chinese as its so good.
    anyway just wanted to say will miss your acting in TVB and all the best in your next stage of Life...is Hollywood beckoning ? Mexico is just a stones throw away :) cheers

  26. Kelvin says:

    Hi Greg,

    Kinda sad to know that you left our screen. I grew up with watching your dramas (I am currently 24 aged). When I was young, I felt funny and special to watch a caucasian on the screen. It was valuable memory to watch your performance with my family. I am glad to hear that you find your way, your dream. You can do the best if you love what you are doing. Anyway, please do keep us update. All the best!

    Regards,
    Kelvin

  27. tvbmania says:

    Hey!!! =) i really enjoyed your acting on tvb and think your the best Caucasian actor tvb ever had (im thinking of making a clip of you with your memorable moments from tvb lol)

    anyways....after those 20 yrs are you a permenant hong kong citizen now? and do you think that there is a lot of competition upon entring this industry as a chinese or caucasian actor?

    thnx!! sad to see you leave ='(

  28. May says:

    Wow, i can't believe you've departed from TVB! Like others, I grew up watching you on the screen and it's gonna be different not seeing your familiar face anymore! But nonetheless, I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors!!!

    -May

  29. Annie says:

    This is rather a shock to me. I'm an Australian Chinese person who visits Hong Kong regularly, and every time I'm in Hong Kong, I'd watch whatever drama was on at that time. You are probably the actor I recognise the most, and every time I go to Hong Kong, my family and I would see you on TV and would be like, "Hey! It's the bilingual guy again!" You were always a delight to us, because seeing a Caucasian person speaking Chinese is much rarer than seeing a Chinese person speak English.

    This has happened over a span of a little over a decade, so it will be sad not to see you again in a local drama the next time I visit.

    Hoping all the best for your future,

    Annie

  30. Sompor says:

    hi....good to know ur doing well...best of luck with everything...and as u once told me "you'v got heart and spirit, don't ever change." =)

  31. Tom says:

    Why is everyone feeling sad for Greg leaving TVB, we should congratulate him on that. TVB is not a good place to work in, Greg is way too good to work in that organisation!

  32. Sylvia Cheung says:

    I come here for the first time. Sorry to know that you're leaving TVB.
    My sister and I had grown watching TVB series, LOL. And as I remember I usually saw you acting as a inspector of the police force.
    After reading this entry of weblog, I totally support you on leaving TVB to make a renewal on your career as an actor or artist! Hope to hear from you soon, and wish you all the best. Good luck and take care! : )

  33. patricia says:

    i'm sad because of your leaving.
    although it was my first time to come here.
    you are always a great actor in my mind.
    don't be dejected,you will have a good future.

  34. Mandy says:

    Wish you the best on your new stage! Good luck!

  35. Amy says:

    Wish you all the best with which ever path you choose. Aussies rule~

  36. Pegasus@Taichung says:

    Happy for you and proud of you!!

    Wishing you all the bests for the years to come.

    Take care and looking forward to your untold story!

  37. Joe says:

    I can't imagine what great photographs you will capture in Mexico.

    I am sorry to read that you have left TVB as I am just getting back into watching TVB series in Canada. But your decision to leave TVB is completely understandable - I always felt they were under utilizing you. In any event, life is short - and I am happy to see you taking advantage of this by traveling and seeing the world.

    All the best and keep us posted.

    Joe

  38. Ryan says:

    Hey mate, wherever you are going, I and the rest of the HK crowd who remembers you will support you.
    Im sure, no matter where you go, the Hong Kongers will still recognize you.
    When was your last time going back to Australia?

  39. KaRRie says:

    Hey Greg,

    it's a paradox to us that u left tvb finally. it's defintely our lose that we may not see any new performance by u in tvb, (hahah!~ who knows when u gonna back in tv again..guess that we all do hope there's one day ahead!) while on the other hand, ur new move and big decision are truly wise and rational. U're loyal enough to stay in tvb and contributed ur golden years there while they're not able to fully utilize ur strengths, give u chance and let u shine.

    U're no doubt far more valuable in our eyes than theirs. it's just a matter of time and chance if u still have passion in acting, plz dun give up! we do long to see u on stage, on tv or on show!

    Anyway, i can be sure this final decision of leaving could keep u relieved and enable u to have much more freedom and energy to pursuit ur dream!

    All the best to you and hope you have a prosperous future!

    Best wishes,
    KaRRie

  40. Jane & Amy says:

    Wish you all the best ;p

    Fans from Malaysia

  41. Alison says:

    i grew up watching you in so many tvb series! i've always noticed you in the shows that i watch. it's a shame that tvb never gave you any 'real' roles other than the police chief, the foreign business man, and the british soldier. it's hard to break into the chinese show business if you're not chinese.i wish you luck in your future career! and maybe someday i'll see you on the small screen again, and maybe this time you won't be the "token white guy".

  42. Daniel says:

    all the best mate~
    I hope you enjoyed the 20 years work in TVB and hopefully we will see more of your performance work on the stage in the future.

    Cheers
    Daniel

  43. BoBo says:

    Hello Ho Kwok Wing, How have you been doing in Mexico? Will you be back for chinese new year? It must be difficult for you to have to leave your babies and Bonnie although she said you will call every night which she apparently feels excited and look forward to everyday. Your babies must be missing you a lot too. Haven't seen Jason for a few days, wish they are doing well while you were away. And thank you very much for the New Year Ham...hahah... actually I don't know how to cook, and it is still lying in my fridge, still smell good though..hahaha lazy me... would it be still good to eat? hahah...Vivian said I missed your tasty homemade bread during the last gathering at her place which made me regret being absent last time to say good bye. Anyway, I wish you all the best, and your family a splendid, healthy and fruitful year of Mouse in 2008... Hope to see you again soon....you know you are the first to think of in case anything happened to the neighbourhood!!! hahah....sorry about that...hohoho..P.S. first time to post on someone's blog...

  44. Malaysian says:

    sob ! But I can understand your situation. It is the same everywhere. The majority rules. The minority has to obey. So you were an English tutor ? mm, may be you could still do some tricks with students who find English to be an alien language. Please do keep us informed of your work. Hollywood may be ?

    Best regards,
    Ho ( another Ho )

  45. Hui88 says:

    Just really sad to see that you left TVB = I will not see you as often as before. Anyway, I just want to wish you the BEST luck and fully enjoy your FREE time now :)

  46. Haley says:

    Congrats on your departure from TVB and beginning an exciting new stage in your life and career! Change is an absolute constant and creates exciting new opportunities.

    Loved watching you on TVB while I was growing up. Actually, I have not watched a TVB series in well over a year. I am not as mesmerized by Hong Kong TV any more; guess it's part of growing up. No more chasing series till 3 am in the morning--must be a good thing!

    All the best in your future endeavors!

    Haley

  47. Cheong Lai says:

    That's the way to go.

    (I am an occasional reader of your blog.)

  48. fianne says:

    hi~ i'm not sure if i should call u mr. ho but i hv no idea what your english name is, even though i grew up watching you on TVB! i came across your blog by chance, this is my 1st time here, and it's a huge surprise for me to learn that you're no longer a TVB artist! :O but from what you wrote, i can see that you're happy and this is what you think is the right thing to do at this point of your life, so i'm happy for you, and i sincerely wish u all the best wherever u go!!! :) i hope we'll continue to hear about u in the future :)

    love and warm regards from new zealand,
    fianne

  49. Ellis says:

    It's disappointed to hear your decision coz we couldn't see u anymore on TV. But...on the other hands, it's good for you to start your new chapter of life. I hope you'd find the way of life which is more suitable to you.

    Very and very best wishes to you and your family.

    Cheerssssssss ...

    Ellis

  50. Sandy says:

    I am sure wherever you go, you will shine!!
    Hope to see you on screen soon.
    Best wishes to you.
    Take Care.

    Love from a big fan. :D

  51. Wing Liu says:

    WOW. 20 Years in a job seems like a few centuries these days.

    You did great at TVB and Fat Gor is sure one nice person to work with. My friend Danny works with him on his photography.

    And I hope one day I can meet him too as Fat Gor is a Hong Kong legend and of course I have been watching him since I was a kid from the early 70s.

  52. Wing Liu says:

    Almost forgot. Good luck and enjoy your new found freedom.

  53. Canadian says:

    Greg! You are awesome man, watching all those TVB dramas from Canada, you were amazing! It's a shame that TVB doesn't see how valuable you are. I'm glad you made a decision to leave and move on to bigger things! I believe you can go bigger than TVB! Show everyone what you got and never give up! You're too cool for TVB anyways!