When we think of showbiz, we often view it as a lucrative job which can rake in loads of cash. However, Hong Kong star Lawrence Ng Kai-wah (吴启华) doesn’t quite agree.
Lawrence first started out as a TVB actor, but eventually moved to China to continue developing his career. As good as TVB had been to him, Lawrence shared that he made the decision because he wasn’t getting paid enough.
In recent years, Lawrence has not been seen on screen as often as he used to. However, he’s certainly happy with where he is. The actor shared that he and a friend have started a short video production company. Additionally, he bought a house in Shenzhen, China to settle. However, previously, when he was still working for TVB, this wasn’t possible.
“It’s not like how everyone sees stars,” Lawrence stated. “When it comes to being a star, it seems that you can earn a lot of money from filming a movie, but many people (on TV) are struggling to live.” When Lawrence started out as a TVB actor, he mainly had villain roles, until he left in 1987. He later returned to TVB in 1996, and made it with the role of Dr. Paul Cheng (程至美) in “Healing Hands (妙手仁心)”. Since then, he continued playing protagonists roles until he left again in 2006.
After 2006, Lawrence moved to China to develop his career. The actor explained that living in Hong Kong had been stressful. He also struggled to make ends meet each month, even with him taking on protagonists roles in dramas.
“(You) only get a few thousand yuan a month, and the rent may cost several thousand yuan, so it’s difficult to live,” he shared. He added that being exploited by the TV station didn’t help. “For example, when I filmed a show, I could have gotten ten yuan, but the TV station would take eight, (so) I would only have two yuan left,” he explained.
Lawrence has been working in both Hong Kong and China. However, it was only recently that he decided to settle in China, claiming that there was less pressure there. “In (China), even if (you) are the second or third (lead), let alone the main lead, the remuneration is much better than Hong Kong,” he admitted.
Additionally, commercial performances are surprisingly lucrative. “There are many Hong Kong artists who come to (China) and are living well by doing commercial performances,” Lawrence shared. “Doing a commercial performance is equal to the two month’s salary of a TV station.” He added that many old actors had switched from filming to commercials. “To be honest, this is also a way out (of acting),” he said.
Well, Lawrence is certainly more financially stable, and happier with where he is. It may not quite have been what he envisioned for himself when he set out, but it’s good enough for him now!