Chilam Cheung(張智霖) has been in the entertainment business for 20 years, and he is known to be wealthy due to his smart investments. However, Chilam was cheated of a seven-figure sum by his manager in his early career. Known for having a high EQ, Chilam never blamed the” swindler” and was even grateful that the person had taught him a valuable life lesson. In a recent interview, ChiLam shared his personal story that reveals his easygoing personality and finding happiness in any situation.
Chilam: “Happiness is a State of Mind”
Chilam said honestly, “As for having a successful acting career, it’s because of good luck, not hard work. Whoever’s up there is taking good care of me, and is allowing me to meet so many good people who have helped me during the most difficult times of my life.”
Firmly believing that happiness depends on the state of mind, he spoke about the worst time of his life that occurred in the beginning of his career. He had a large financial dispute with his first manager. Due to connections with Chilam’s cousin, Anna Ueyamaa (上山安娜), the manager planned to recruit and promote Chi Lam to be successful in the entertainment business. Unfortunately, his manager lost all his money from a bad business investment, and pocketed Chilam’s 7 figures HKD signing fee from another record company without his knowledge.
After this incident, Chilam believed his manager took the money out of desperation. Although his manager admitted to taking the money, he was unable to pay it back. Both men were very frank and straightforward during the negotiation. Chilam treated this incident as a life lesson and decided to not ask his manager to return the money. Afterwards, Chilam ended the management contract on good terms. If Chilam were to run into his former manager in the future, he would definitely greet him. Chilam felt that happiness is stepping aside and letting things go.
Money is Not Important
Chilam said that the $1 million (HKD) that he lost would have allowed him to purchase a nice apartment and even a few small apartments 20 years ago. As for whether he felt upset about losing the money, he remembers feeling angry, but now the feelings seem so blurry. Fortunate that he was not a big spender, Chilam is happy as long as there is food on the table and enough to pay for the monthly bills. He was very fortunate the loss of the money did not affect his modest lifestyle.
“Money cannot solve all problems.” Chilam believes life is much easier if everyone is not too concerned about money, as it is not the most important thing in his life.
Roadblock to Stardom
Some people feel Chilam started his career during the hype of the “Four Heavenly Kings” in the 1990s, which slowed down his road to stardom. Although many sympathized for him, Chilam was not upset, as he felt lucky to have performance opportunities in good TVB dramas, such as Cold Blood Warm Heart <天地男兒> and Return of the Cuckoo <十月初五的月光>.
Chilam is also grateful to Leslie Cheung (張國榮), Emil Chau (周華健), Phil Cheng (張宇), and other veterans who have helped him tremendously in writing songs and lyrics. They were responsible for launching his music career. He also thanked former manager, Florence Chan (陳淑芬) who helped him to step into the mainland China market and finding success there.
One of Chilam’s wish is the chance to act in a remake of his first TVB drama, Remembrance <黃浦傾情> because the drama was not aired during the prime time. Given a chance to do a remake, Chilam believes he will do a much better job.
Grateful for Leslie Cheung’s Mentorship
For many years, Chilam was in the shadow of Leslie Cheung due to their similarities in looks and appearances. In 1999, he and the mainland Chinese actress, Jiang Qinqin (蔣勤勤) played a pair of lovers in the TV series, The Bride with White Hair <白髮魔女>, and received criticism from the media. They often compared their characters to the pairing of Leslie and Brigitte Lin (林青霞) who starred in the movie version of the same title.
During a visit to his home, Leslie surprised Chilam with his advice. Leslie told him not to worry about what other people think of him as long as he is doing his best. Chilam continued, “Not many mega stars would show such care and support to the young stars. What more could I have asked for?”
Even now, Chilam will often think of all the great memories and times spent with Leslie. To show his deep respect and admiration for him, Chilam sang and dedicated a song, Thinking of You <想你> during his concert last year.
Earnings Greater Than $10 Million
Chilam is known to be wealthy and very filial towards his parents. He spent over a seven-figure sum (HKD) to purchase a house in Sydney, Australia for his mother. In September, Chi Lam spent approximately $10 million HKD to purchase a luxury apartment in Causeway Bay, and $350,000 HKD on a 350 SLS Mercedes AMG sports car.
Working continuously, Chilam’s music, movie, and TV careers are going well. He is always in demand, and his earnings in 2011 were reported to be more than $10 million HKD.
This article is written by Lance for JayneStars.com.
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