Joe Ma (馬德鐘) and Karen Cheung’s (張筱蘭) 30-year romance have stood the test of time. But as a father to his 14-year-old son, Ma Zaixiang (馬在驤), how does Joe keep up with his son who is growing up in another generation? Joe shares some insights on raising a teenage son and how to maintain good communications.
With the increased influence of the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook, Joe allowed his son to write his own blog. From time to time, Ma Zaixiang would ask his readers to support Joe in his television series. Joe would also publicly congratulate his son on his Tae Kwon Do belts and violin performances on his own blog as well. Joe said that he has always treated his son like a friend instead of a little child. “We communicate to each other via our blogs, but not too often. I think the most important thing was to spend time with him when he was younger and give him a happy childhood, so we have a great father-son relationship.”
Although Joe portrayed a strict SDU officer in Tiger Cubs <飛虎>, he is far from being a stern father in real life. Joe may look tough on the outside, but he is actually very caring and attentive on the inside. Joe shared that he has never hit his son when he misbehaved. In fact, Joe was so emotional that he cried. “I remember there was a time we were getting into the elevator, and there was someone ahead of us that was really slow. My son was extremely impatient and acted very irritated and kept pressing the elevator buttons. At that time, he made me very upset because I felt like I wasn’t raising him properly because he was so selfish to only think about himself. Afterwards I had a long talk with him to make him understand how I felt.”
In terms of education, Joe places heavy emphasis on providing the foundation for his son to get a good education. “I am very strict with Zaixiang with regards to education. He know that I don’t joke around when it comes time for him to study. I’m not grooming him to become a well-paid professional, but I do hope he can graduate from college and experience more of the world around him, such as learning how to fly a plane or boat.”
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