The Untold Story

Filed in Dragonball (2008), Durango, Mx (2008), Entertainment Ind., General, Life, Travel, WorkTags: , , , ,

A little over a year ago, I ran into 發哥 and was subsequently given a photograph of myself taken by this amazing man. It was in fact a chance encounter. 發哥 had not planned it, nor had I, but the encounter happened, and just as he was about to leave, it suddenly occurred to 發哥 to ask me if I'd teach English. If it was anyone else, I'd have immediately replied no, but this was 發哥 and I instead answered yes.

Perhaps it was pre-destined that 發哥 would not be able to contact me multiple times in his earnest attempt to deliver the photo to me. Perhaps this repeated failure to locate me kept me on his mind, so much so that when he needed an English coach to help him with his dubbing work on the new The Children of Huang Shi movie, he thought of me and tried to contact me yet once again. For the first time in 4 months, I was able to answer the phone and we spoke.

I had never heard of the dialect coach vocation, and yet, I had now become one. I was uniquely qualified. Twenty years of acting in a second language gave me unique insight into the challenges faced by someone like 發哥 working in Hollywood. Twenty years of acting gave me great understanding of the work of an actor, and twenty years of rarely speaking English while watching Hollywood-produced television and movies had eradicated all but a pinch of my Australian accent. Being fluent in Cantonese was also going to be invaluable, more so in the interpersonal relationship than in the act of teaching itself because 發哥's conversational English is quite good.

At the end of May, I began working with 發哥; almost on a daily basis; in preparation for the movie dubbing. When we arrived at the dubbing studio for the first day of dubbing, the director didn't recognise me and asked who I was. 發哥's assistant replied that I was his dialog coach, and that I was Australian. Whoa! The director's face sagged almost all the way to the floor. He was incredulous and concerned. Who would want an Australian dialect coach??? He was not happy, but his entire demeanour changed over the next few hours of dubbing and by lunch time, he was very pleased. 發哥's work was impressive and dubbing was proceeding smoothly.

It was coincidentally at this very same time that I was contemplating going to London to audition for the Musical Theatre degree at the University of London, but it was also a time when my singing voice was completely shut down as a consequence of overuse in the "They’re Playing Our Song (2007)" musical. Other factors beyond my control also conspired to stop me going to London, and so it was that I remained in Hong Kong and began working with 發哥 instead.

After dubbing had been completed, 發哥 requested that we work together weekly, and our long term working relationship began.

November came, and I was asked by TVB to renew my contract which was due to expire in January of 2008. For two years, I had contemplated my future and the only future I could see if I remained at TVB was that of a saddened unfulfilled elderly Caucasian actor still performing the bread crumb roles that occasionally fell my way. Over the previous months, 發哥 had repeatedly hinted that he would like me to work with him on location in his future Hollywood projects. Nothing was guaranteed, but it was a possibility none the less.

Twenty-one years ago, I took a gamble and bought a one-way air ticket to Hong Kong to follow my dreams. My life has been incredible. I met and married my wonderful wife. I have an incredible loving family, both human and canine, and I have made some wonderful friends over the years. I've had an unimaginable acting career with TVB and am recognised and thought well of by numerous people both in Hong Kong and overseas. I have no regrets, only gratitude. Now however, I felt that it time to once again buy a one-way ticket, this time away from TVB to destinations unknown, and I therefore submitted to TVB a letter of intent not to renew my contract.

It was the first week of December, and I was working with 發哥 in his home. Not more than fifteen minutes into our session, 發哥 informed me that he had accepted a role in the new Dragonball movie, and that we would be leaving for Mexico within the first week of January. I was in complete shock! This was totally unexpected and it was going to take some time to get used to the idea. I knew that 發哥 was considering one or two projects but I had no idea that we would be leaving so soon, and that we would be going away for so long; three months!

The future is not ours to plan, only to prepare for. We were scheduled to leave Hong Kong on January 1 but my contract with TVB was not due to finish until January 6. I could logically leave without consequence because I was not obliged to film any more episodes at TVB. I had fulfilled my contract obligations for the year. However, things could always become sticky if TVB wanted to make a point so it would not be prudent to leave before my contract expired. I wanted to leave with absolutely no strings attached and no concerns. I wanted complete freedom to move on in my life. Who could have guessed that because of continued negotiations with the movie's producers, our date of departure was pushed back to January 9! Perfect timing and none of it was my doing. Some things are meant to be.

So it is that I find myself sitting in a hotel room in Durango Mexico, working for one of the Hong Kong masters of acting, and well and truly taking the first steps of the next stage of my life.

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66 Responses to “The Untold Story”
  1. Eva says:

    It is sad to know you will leave TVB.
    But then maybe the next chapter of your career would be a better one as long as you enjoy what you're doing.
    Looking forward to see you around on TV.

  2. sapphire says:

    Way to go, Mr HO! Soooo glad to hear this story!
    This is your golden opportunity....'ganbatte'!

    Btw, could you say hello to 'Fat Kor' for me please? Hehe...

  3. Alison Law says:

    Hi Greg,

    Haven't been posting comments in your blog for some time. I am both glad and excited to learn about ur great leap. I do admire ur courage and determination. I also look up to you as you are so resourceful and well-planned in all respects.

    Take care in Mexico while hope u will enjoy ur new job. I think it is always nice to work with great and adoreable people. I am sure u will find great satisfaction in your new role.

    In the meantime, I look fwd to ur new stage work soon.

    Chrs,
    Alison Law

    P.S. Just realize there are so many of ur blog mates called Alison. I thot I better distinguish myself by adding my last name. :-)

  4. caroinlamma says:

    Wow! Greg! This is really something! You know what? Twenty years ago, you had the guts to buy that one-way ticket to fly to HK, and that's not just an imprudent act of young, some people like you just got that part of gene with them; and I believe this would still be sth that carry you a lot further than this.
    Big congrats! And wish you luck!

  5. Mark says:

    Follow your heart, follow your dreams..
    It's definitely more rewarding to work in Hollywood than in TVB. Only drawback is you have to be away from your wife and canine kids more often. I'm sure you'll all miss each other.

    All the best!

  6. a_midnight_muse says:

    Life is indeed a great teacher...you cannot leave everything to fate, but fate also has a way of working things out. You resonate with such passion, and I'm so glad that you're in a position right now where you are being appreciated, even in a behind-the-scenes role, as Fat gor's voice coach...it fills me with such joy to know that you're seeing more of the world and working with someone you admire. Life is still handing you more lessons and chances to make opportunities...best of luck in Mexico :)

  7. Haley says:

    I knew something exciting was happening your way. What wonderful opportunities you will have in Hollywood!

    Years ago when Fat Kor was filming in New York with Markie Mark, the film Corruptor, my mom had actually worked on the movie as an extra since a friend of ours knew one of the casting directors. Mom had to join SAG in order to work as an extra. I still remember the excitement in my mom's voice as she told me about this "adventure" that she had. She was able to get his autograph as well.

    I know what you mean about the reaction to having a "Australian" voice coach; most people when learning English, prefer the indescript American accent although there are a ton of distinct American accents depending on what region/state of the US you reside.

    Haley

  8. John says:

    Congratulations!

    You give hope and inspiration to those who are too afraid to follow their dreams and dive into the unknown.

  9. Nevin says:

    Congratulations!!!!!!! This is one of the most exciting things ever occur in the life time. The road up front is unknown but contains a lots of potential. Wish you all the best :-)

  10. Amy Ho says:

    Good luck to you with your new endeavour. All the best to you and your family. Your stories have inspired many Hongkongers who grew up with your TV projects. Sad to see you go. But happy to learn that you have embarked on a new journey which will certainly take you to another level. Keep writing. Someone somewhere sometime somehow needs some words of wisdom from an intelligent man.

  11. yinyin says:

    wow congrad.
    上帝关了一个门,他会给你开一口窗~
    i was so pleased to read dis article, n hopefully sooner or latter i can c u in some hollywood movies casting as some interesting characters.

  12. Matthew says:

    Dear kwok wing,

    Congrats! I purposelessly ran into your blog today and read your "Untold Story". As a Christian, all I can say is to "thank God" for what He has planned and prepared for you, including the timing of your departure to Mexico. I guess it takes tons of efforts to learn a new language, to adapt to a new environment, and to do something one has never done before (acting) and that you did it so well in the past 20 years heart-felt by TV audience (incl. me). Keep up the momentum and I am sure you'll do a great job as you turn a new page of the next 20 years, though we may not be seeing you on TV as often :( I hope I remember to come back regularly, check out your updates and wave an encouraging hand from the other side of the globe...

    May I wish you all the best and many happpppppy returns in the years to come.

    In Christ,
    Matt

  13. anf says:

    This sounds fantastic!
    Good luck with your "journey" and wish you all the best!

  14. hyn5 says:

    This is what you would call "Fung Wui Lo Juen!" After working for TVB for 20 years, who would have to expect that you would have the opportunity to work with Fat Gor Chow Yun Fat?

    You are an inspiration Greg! This teaches us to never stop dreaming because dreams will come true! Best of luck to you!

  15. cassandra says:

    Congratulations!!

    I stumbled across this blog randomly, but I had great pleasure reading your latest entry and I will probably scroll down and read some more. Of course those of us who've ever watched a few of TVB's series know who you are, and I've always felt that you deserve better roles than the ones I've seen you play, and it's great to hear that you've stumbled across Chow Yun Fat and the chance to work with him. That's exciting news! I knew he signed on for Dragonball, and I'm really glad you're taking a new step in your career. It's sad to see you leave TVB, but I'm glad to see your future seems so promising!

    Your entry has been most inspiring :)
    Thank you!!

    God bless!!
    Cassandra

  16. MaySze Chang says:

    I'm so pleased to know that you have taken this giant step. I know exactly how you feel about buying one way ticket to somewhere unknown. But this always happens when you let go something; something bigger and greater will come! Make the most of this opportunity in Mexico with Chow Yun Fat! Can't wait to see you on the big screen instead of one eye monster! Cheers!

  17. Karen says:

    Greg, congratulations!!!
    Step forward to a new stage of your life takes great courage and you did it!! Wonderful!!! ^^ Follow your dream and go for it!!
    Good luck!

  18. Malaysian says:

    You are very courageous. Going into TVB. Coming out from TVB. And now doing something which is different. You could have achieved something more comfortable. Instead you took a gamble. It won you a whole lot of experiences. No venture, no gain; I suppose. Anyway, wherever you are, whatever you do, please keep us informed. The spirit you show is the spirit that causes the world to move on. One thing about westerners is that they have this adventureous spirit. They will go where no men have gone. Asians are conservative and they do not like to be risk takers. They prefer to be stuck with the norm. Probably because of this, the western world is more progressive. But of course with globabilization, sooner or later, all countries will have one standard of living. What I mean is you will get the same things in Siberia what you get in Hong Kong. And please continue to keep this blog because this is how we will communicate.

    Best regards,
    Ho the Malaysian

  19. Simon From Canada says:

    Hi Greg!!

    Congrats on your next move in life :) I'll miss seeing you in TVB eps, but I'll be sure to see you succeed in the movie industry :)

    Best of luck :) I'll keep reading your sites for inspiration!

    Simon

  20. JL says:

    all the best, Greg!

  21. a local cantonese fan says:

    Hi Greg,

    Congrats and Kung Hey Fat Choi!!
    You have lived a life that has inspired many of us. A life with passion, caring, sharing and perseverance. It is encouraging and enlightening for me.

    Best wishes to you and your family in your new era of life

  22. Irene Lin says:

    Wish you all the best.

  23. Edwin says:

    All the best!! Teacher of Master Roshi!!

    P.S. I wonder how 'fat gor' can act out the horny character of master roshi!~

  24. sze says:

    Good luck and wish you all the best!!!

  25. C says:

    Congratulations, Greg! I really admire your courage to take up new adventure and risk. This is why you could have such a wonderful life. Good luck to you new venture!

  26. cherry says:

    wish u luck!

  27. MelC says:

    I'm a fan of Michelle who worked with fatt gor in Children of Huang Shi, so I'm surprised and at the same time, glad you helped in the dubbing of the movie.

    I think it's great! You did a great job in TVB, but like you said, all you had were bread crumb roles. I really think you deserved something much more meaningful and influential.

    Here's wishing you the best of luck in your career and more importantly, more of God's blessings ahead. ;)

  28. rosim says:

    life is a miracle, congrats!

    i'm sure that your dogs will miss you a lot and they're all wishing you the best luck like i do.

    i'm looking forward to hear fat gor's brilliant english in dragon ball & all future movies!

  29. cheungie says:

    Best of luck mate! Maybe one day I will see you appearing in those Hollywood Blockbusters!

  30. mark chan says:

    hi greg,

    saw you on tv for years and been reading your blog for awhile.
    know that you are now working with Mr. Fat is a great news.
    wish you all the best and try to have some nachos there :P

  31. Lee says:

    It's so sad to know that you are not going to plan anymore in TVB, but all the best to you and your family.

  32. Michelle says:

    Just purchase yr dream and work hard in other places~
    Maybe there are many unknowns in future but don't be afraid~
    Good luck!

    Michelle

  33. Flora says:

    Congratulations! Wish you have a great time and looking forward to see your new project!!

  34. Ling says:

    Gregory, I'm going to miss seeing you @ TVB, nevertheless, best of luck to you :)

  35. moon says:

    It's sad to know you are leaving TVB. You are a very interesting actor. I hope you have a good future. Best wishes to you and your family.

    PLEASE often update your recent news to us. We are looking forward to see future productions that you are invovled in. Thank you very much.

    p.s. I have to go 'full screen' to find the 'post' button. Technical problem? or the blog is not meant for Mozilla view?

  36. shaw says:

    Hi, Greg!
    It's been a while not visiting your blog.
    Congratulation on your new career! Good luck! It's a better choice than to stay with TVB. I will miss you whenever I watch TVB series, though.
    While in Mexico, try nachos, burritos, margarita.
    And send my regard to CYF, please. Thanks.

  37. Winnie says:

    Hey River...
    Long time no see...
    How are u lately...
    Don't u remember me...??
    Hahaaaa... ^^

    Winnie

  38. Bruce says:

    Hello Greg, Congrats!! All the best of Luck. It's really sad to see that you have left TVB. You will be missed! Hope we will hear from you soon.

  39. Qi says:

    I've just stumbled into your blog and read this story in amusement. I grown up in Guangzhou and have now been living in Melbourne for the last 18 years. I can't remember how many TVB series I've seen you in for the last 20 years, but be honest with you, I never knew your name, never knew you're an Australian. I know your face really well through all those TV series, but the only impression I had was that this guy is still around every time I saw you!

    I honestly think you have done a good job and make your mark at TVB. However, I think moving away from TVB is the right step to take for your future. I'm glad to see you doing this new project with 发哥 and writing a new chapter for your life.

    Good luck for everything!

  40. Tat says:

    Have been fan of you over the years. Great to have found this blog! Good luck with your Dragon Ball project!

  41. happylcs56 says:

    Great to heard that.
    Good luck to you and hope to see you on TV soon
    Take care

  42. EC says:

    It's very inspiring reading this sentence in your article - "The future is not ours to plan, only to prepare for." Thanks.

  43. Ryan says:

    What is wrong with Australian accent English? That director is so rude. Australian accented English is one of the best accents in the world.
    Anyway, congrats on your new job working with one of our favorite Hollywood Star, "Fat" brother
    Hope to hear you more soon

  44. Kiki says:

    when i was a little girl , i can see you on tv programme, i really like you so much!
    although im not your super fans,you are my 童年memory.
    sorry my English is very bad, i jux wanna tell you
    you are very good
    河國榮=]

    wish you all the best*

  45. Betty says:

    Nice to hear that you have a brilliant future!!!

  46. Warren says:

    I am sure you have talked about photography with Mr. Chow. Maybe someday you can share with us some of your photos taken in Mexico?

  47. Samu says:

    Congrats! Nice to see you taking this huge new step into both your career life and life life. Luv to see some pics taken at Mexico.

    ta~

  48. Peter Go Go says:

    oil oil 加油加油

  49. Yvonne @Montreal says:

    Way to go!!!! Looking forward to your new projects!!! You've given me a lot of inspiration! All the best!

  50. Sandy says:

    Just wanna say,, you rock.BIG TIME hehe
    Keep doing what you doing!!! :D
    bye for now~~~~~~

  51. Sandy says:

    By the way, its sad to know that you are not renewing your contract with TVB. I will miss seeing you on the screen. :(
    and dont you call yourself 'saddended unfulfilled elderly Cacusian'. you know its not true. You give so much to the world!!!
    Anyways,, I wish you all the best. :D
    speak soon. :D

  52. Connie says:

    How are you, Mr Ho!
    It's my first time to leave a message here although I occasionally come by and read about you. The first time that I discovered your blog I felt very amazed because I am an "English-language lover" and I could see you write beautifully and seriously about your life. Of course, the most important of all is that I admire your acting and excellent language skills!!!

    While life seems consuming most of my energy and making me lose my focus, I'm inspired when I know you're still fighting for your future. Support you! I wonder if your musical will be put on stage in HK one day?!

    Wish you every success in the challenges ahead! I'm sure return tickets are more in need for your travelling to and fro! :)

  53. Sandy says:

    Its playing 'dicey business' here in toronto. I saw you in it. you were so awesome hehe... :D
    I got all so excited whenever the camera was on you. :P
    I am anticipating a new blog from you. hehe
    Anyways,Hope all is well with you.
    Take Care.
    Love from a big fan. :P

  54. CC says:

    yes it's a great move...great chance to do something new
    all the best to you and your family

  55. ml. says:

    Good move! You deserve better than playing minor characters at TVB. All the best!!!!

  56. Small Potato says:

    Life is full of miracles. Just live for the day and do for happiness~!

  57. Grateful HKer says:

    Hi Gregory,

    This is my first visit on your blog. Thanks for your performances on TVB, I watched them throughout my entire childhood in Hong Kong. My father has a habit of commenting you every time when he sees you on screen. "This Ho Gwok Wing, this gwei lo is really something. He's good."

    I'll miss your performances on TVB. I'm very happy that you've found a new opportunity. All the best!

  58. MY says:

    Wow! This is excellent news! I'm so happy for you! Not everybody is able to find someone they can cooperate and work well together. From you're posts it sounds like Chow Yun Fat is a wonderful person to work with. I hope that both of you will become best of friends and working partners. I wish you the best in Mexico and may your opportunities continue to grow!

  59. Hilda says:

    I've been watching you on screen for so long! Good luck wherever life leads you...I'm so happy you get such a great opportunity!!!

  60. Yanni says:

    Hi, I haven't been here for so long, and today I thought I'd tell you something which you might like knowing. And now I read this! It's great! Dragonball! Wooh!

    Anyhow, I hope you'll be in Hong Kong to watch an independent film that I've worked on as assistant editor for the past two years on and off. I know that you own dogs, and I know this movie would be perfect for you!

    It's called This Darling Life. It's directed by Ms. Angie Chen (I wonder if you know her in person). It's a touching documentary about the lives of people and their dogs in Hong Kong.

    Please take a look at the trailer if you like, and we'd love it if you can come to our premiere! Maybe even with 發哥 ;)

    Watch it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vI2hzzfT50

    or go to our website: http://www.thisdarlinglife.com

  61. Lake says:

    Just wanna tell you that I became your fans after I saw your blog the first time.
    I think you are friendly, true to yourself and brave (at least you have bought two one-way ticket to explore somethin' new in your life)

    Looking forward to your appearance in Dragonball

  62. 河國榮 says:

    hello Moon.

    technical problem? I'm not sure. the 'post' screen's size and position does depend on the size of your browser's window so maybe there's something strange happening there when you use Mozilla with a smaller window.

  63. Sam says:

    Great to learn your new development! Keep it up.

  64. Kazza says:

    Hi Mr Ho!

    It is a very sad thought that we won't be seeing you in the TVB productions which involve a Cantonese speaking caucasian. I think you are very talented and perhaps you have played the most diverse number of characters/personalities in TVB's history (since you know, the 'gwai los' permeates all levels of the Hong Kong society, heheee).

    But it is really great to know that you are happy and persuing exciting things in life! Good on ya mate! Wish you all the best, and really hope to see you in non-TVB productions! Please do make Hong Kong proud, Mr Ho!!!!

  65. JF says:

    so glad to hear your story. you don't know me but i admire and respect you. i'm sure fat gor will have plans for you, go and shoot for your dreams. looking forward to seeing you in one of the hollywood films. (i wonder you must be a genius to be able to speak fluent cantonese being learning it at the age of 21)

  66. Joyce says:

    Hi Greg...

    I have to say that people like you stand out like s sore thumb in Hong Kong. (I mean this in a positive way) It's awesome you've had the tenacity and drive to stay at TVB for so long. Unfortunately in much of the world (especially in Hong Kong), the shows that media produce is more or less a "supply meets demand" situation, and it's unfortunately an actor of your caliber don't have hardly any room for creativity in mass media in Hong Kong. Hence the bread crumb roles, imho.

    我覺得香港電視有好多shows太retarded and lacks any sort of interesting plot lines. 唔知點解好多人都好冇奈地追episodes..