“Anti-Virginia Lok” Sentiments Rise at TVB; Catherine Tsang to Replace Ms. Lok

By on September 26, 2011 in NEWS, Scandals

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In Sing Tao newspaper’s exclusive article yesterday, it was disclosed that TVB Director of Production Resources, Virginia Lok (樂易玲), possessed a despotic and overbearing management style, resulting in a serious loss of talented employees.  Several artist managers recently resigned due to discontent with Ms. Lok’s management style. Recently an “Anti- Virginia Lok” wave took over TVB. Aside from Wong Hei (王喜), Steven Ma (馬浚偉) and Joe Ma (馬德鐘), Fala Chen (陳法拉), who was backed by Stephen Chan (陳志雲), joined the “Anti- Virginia Lok” camp and busily filmed her new drama!

With the increase of three new free television stations in Hong Kong next year, a surging crisis erupted within TVB. Ricky Wong’s (王維基) City Telecom tempted many TVB artists and employees to join the new rival station with promise of higher pay.  Sing Tao newspaper revealed yesterday that Ms. Lok’s subordinates, artist managers of Sharon Chan (陳敏之),  Joe Ma (馬德鐘), and Bowie Lam (林保怡) had resigned. In the coming days, more people will leave TVB.

Catherine Tsang to Replace Virginia Lok

With artist managers leaving the nest, TVB artists were dissatisfied with Ms. Lok’s temperament and left as well.  Employees were in a state of panic and an “Anti- Virginia Lok” wave emerged. TVB Vice Chairman, Mona Fong (方逸華), ordered top three executives, Norman Leung (梁乃鵬), Mark Lee (李寶安), and Stephen Chan (陳志雲) to retain corporate talent, while leaving out Virginia Lok from the task. Ms. Fong may be taking the opportunity of the chaos to “cleanse” internal management and set things right. Held in high esteem by TVB fadans and siu sangs, Catherine Tsang (曾勵珍), was asked to step up. Ms. Tsang was asked to negotiate with highly dissatisfied artists such as Wong Hei, Steven Ma, and Joe Ma regarding their contract extensions.

With the power changing hands at TVB, Ms. Lok appeared at TVB City yesterday. Alleged that her despotic and overbearing management practices lead to staff resignations, Ms. Lok stressed that she maintained good relationships with artist managers who have left or will be leaving TVB. Ms. Lok credited the dozen artist managers that worked at TVB, expressing her silent gratitude. She revealed that the artist managers did not receive high pay and did not receive any commissions; they were thankless jobs. Ms. Lok said, “When artist managers ask for filming schedules from the production crew, they may be scolded. When the artist managers respond to a vendor late, they may be scolded.”

Ms. Lok mentioned that prior to overseeing the Production Resources department, numerous artist managers faced challenging work conditions. Ms. Lok explained, “I suggested that if artist managers were able to achieve a certain quota in artist appearance revenue, they can be rewarded with a bonus. However, the suggestion was not implemented in the end. We are now fighting a battle. I will reflect with the boss. Aside from the artists, it is also important to take into account the benefits of my working partners.” Ms. Lok inadvertently admitted that the current TVB benefits level induced mass resignations at the company.

Fala Chen Joins “Anti- Virginia Lok Camp”

Supporting Stephen Chen while against Virginia Lok, Fala Chen was photographed having zero communication with Ms. Lok at an earlier Lives of Omission <潛行狙擊> promotional event. Through her actions, Fala clearly drew her boundaries against Ms. Lok. Held in high esteem by Mona Fong and Stephen Chan, Fala Chen was busily filming Palace Schemes of East and West <東西宮略>. Fala appeared very lively and coquettish on set.

At 5 PM yesterday, Fala, Koni Lui (呂慧儀), and Louis Yuen (阮兆祥) filmed Palace Schemes of East and West at Lai Chi Kok Park.  Since the scene involved simple dialogue exchange, the atmosphere was easy going. Prior to filming, Fala and Koni studied the script together under the park pavilion. During their breaks, they took out their cellular phones to pass the time.  In a great mood, Fala sometimes grabbed Koni’s hands to dance together. Since the filming location was a public park, numerous pedestrians remained to watch celebrities. Fala did not mind the large group of people and took the initiative to play with the young children.

Professed that he would prefer to work for TVB rather than a new company, Louis Yuen was very professional. He studied the script intently prior to filming.

Excerpt: Sing Tao

Jayne: I thought Catherine Tsang was Director of the Drama Department while Virginia Lok was Director of Production Resources, who oversaw artist management. Thus their jobs have different spheres of influence.

What bodes for the future for Ms. Lok? Certainly it is awkward that artists such as Steven Ma, who do not possess “affinity” for Ms. Lok, is currently heavily chased by TVB to remain. Yet Ms. Lok is awkwardly left out of such negotiations, while Stephen Chan and Ms. Tsang step in to help. This is a large sign that Mona Fong may think Ms. Lok cannot handle her job.

52 comments to “Anti-Virginia Lok” Sentiments Rise at TVB; Catherine Tsang to Replace Ms. Lok

  1. Stephy says:

    620 karma is heading towards you now.

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  2. Moo says:

    Hallelujah! She should have been gone a long time ago. She practically single handedly drove all the company to the ground.

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  3. Ah K says:

    Great article translated @Jayne, quite a good read while waiting for my lecturer to come lol!

    Anyway, is there an error here? “Ms. said, “When artist managers ask for filming schedules from the production crew, they may be scolded. When the artist managers respond to a vendor late, they may be scolded.” I think you accidentally omitted out Virginia’s surname heh! 🙂

    And a nagging question I always wanted to ask, who was the person who hired Virginia and brought her into TVB in the first place? :X

    Anyway, the writer of the article make it sound like it’s all Virginia’s fault. With so many grievances from the veteran actors, I think it is undeniably partly Virginia’s fault for sticking to her domineering ways but the other faults lie in the low pay (I mean there is inflation over the years manx, you can’t just issue a salary figure from the year 1999 to the artistes now right? They will of course be unhappy with you) and lack of initiative to find external engagements for the artistes. Certainly hope TVB would reflect on this! :X

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    • jayne replied:

      Ah K,
      I made the correction. Thanks!

      Aside from artist’s grievances, Ms. Lok apparently set her overbearing ways upon artist managers too. In numerous articles in the past, it was hinted that Ms. Lok often played favoritism. As Wong Hei bluntly pointed out, she can treat her “enemies” very coldly.

      Pay is but one factor of employee dissatisfaction. Of course everyone wants to make money, but in the end, but money is only one form of a company’s expression of appreciation and value. A respectful attitude, understanding attitude, and valuing the input of subordinates also add to job satisfaction. Ms. Lok seems to be all about money and generating incremental revenue for an elitist group, assigned to her favored artists, while failing to respect more talented veterans.

      Had TVB not been threatened by current mass resignations, Ms. Lok’s faults would not have been magnified in the current fashion. Someone in management needs to take the blame and that person is Ms. Lok. Perhaps rival managers have even been feeding the press with snippets. “Anti- Virginia Lok” camp may certainly be talking to Sing Tao.

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      • Bridget replied:

        I’m with Jayne. Employee engagement studies have shown that money is actually not the primary factor of job satisfaction; it’s actually what they call ‘learning and development opportunities’ and management relationships. I’m hoping the massive staff exodus means 620 will be sacked soon.

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      • Jayne replied:

        Bridget,
        “Employee engagement studies have shown that money is actually not the primary factor of job satisfaction; it’s actually what they call ‘learning and development opportunities’ and management relationships. I’m hoping the massive staff exodus means 620 will be sacked soon.”

        To Ms. Lok’s credit, she set up invaluable revenue-generating partnerships for many of TVB’s artists.

        Obviously, TVB cannot retain their employees by simply matching their competitors’ salary offers. The only way to retain employees’ loyalty is to change their current obnoxious and inconsiderate management style. From the tabloids, Ms. Lok seems to employ this management style. She treated veterans such as Wong Hei and Steven Ma very rudely, seemingly thinking that due to her position, she can make or break artists’ and subordinates’ careers if they do not abide by her terms.

        Employee engagement, as you pointed out, involves making employees feel that their contributions to the organizations matter. This involves engaged relationships with their peers and managers. Otherwise, a job can become just a job where people are driven by money and will not put in their best efforts. This is when everyone will only be looking after their own interests and not for the organization’s overall benefit.

        Sacking Ms. Lok may not be the answer, but perhaps someone else should manage the Artist department, someone with more interpersonal skills and a more fair and approachable management style, especially towards subordinates. I think Ms. Lok is best re-assigned responsibilities in Business Development, where she can continue to handle vendor relationships and new ways of generating revenue for TVB.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        No doubt she may have helped raised revenues but for her select few. It is like in a company of so many capable people, to have your boss keep pushing her gang of people which is called nepotism I suppose will in the end break the management. What you want is every talent has his or her day, each given equal opportunities. There are favourites, but not make it so obvious. I suspect 620 is capable (even if her PR skill is zero) but her dedication is only towards a select few. And we all know a select few can never drive the company in the long far future. She has her lieutenants and yet she chose only to listen to that few so the brilliant ones will in the end will underappreciated and leave. I don’t blame her alone. If Mona Fong or whoever can rectify the situation why did they let the situation get so out of control? Only in the face of impending critical competition they struggle to show a bit of attention to these talents so as to prevent brain drain. In a job, the main satisfaction may not be money; it is almost always a good boss that appreciates, play fair and PAY fair. maybe TVB right now lacks all these 3.

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  4. Fox says:

    LMAO~, just yesterday a Fala fan told me that Fala is 620’s god daughter =]].

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    • Canto replied:

      Why am I not surprised?

      The sweet faced and sparky smile lady has got A-M-B-i-T-I-O-N written all over her pretty little face…

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      • Fox replied:

        Yuk Lui, lol.

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    • exoidus replied:

      ROFL, i recently saw some pics of fala embracing 620. man she is def. one of those fake girls 🙂

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      • lol replied:

        Yes I also saw those pictures and in 620’s birthday she brought along her Neway boyfriend. Although some other magazines try to make rumour as if she and 620 are not in talking terms.

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  5. K-Asian says:

    Lok is not very good at management. Managers almost always (if not always^_^) plays the favorite game but in silent ground. Lok tries to hide that but clearly fails.

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  6. jayne says:

    If you were a consultant advising TVB on how to handle current existing problems, such as decreased employee morale for years, mass resignations, rife internal politics, and how to retain and attract future talent, what would you advise?

    Is firing Ms. Lok really the answer? How to fix an organization that got too obnoxious in which elitist management rose to power, in which management only looked after their own interests, while reducing TVB’s core competencies in producing quality family dramas?

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    • Masaharu replied:

      Perhaps it’s time TBB seek help from external auditors to make a mass audit across it’s systems; inclusive of manpower management, production qualities and finance. It might be a hard investment but may create a long term improvement for TBB.

      Hohohoh I’m in serious mode today 😛

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    • Canto replied:

      Hi Jayne,

      Yes, if I were a consultant advising TVB to handle their existing problems. When there are problems, the public’s tendencies is to always look for a “fall guy”. Sad but true. This is the way that TVB can account to their staff and to the public.

      620 in this case is the “fall guy”. Blame it on her bad luck, blame it on her not putting more effort in her EQ, or at least creating favorable impressions with the artistes. Artistes, on account of their mass appeal, are still powerful people. Fans lapped up their artistes’ every word. And if an artiste feels ill treated, woe and behold their perpetuators!

      Perhaps 620 got too high and mighty with her power and she thought it unneccessary to win the hearts of everyone. Perhaps she thought that her domain of power at TVB, her supporters and her favorites were so strong that they could step on the others without any regard.

      But yes, surprising turn of events, if this news is true. If Mona wants to get rid of 620, I would advise her to strike now while the iron is hot, while public opinion of 620 is at its lowest, before 620 regathers her strength and tries to fight back.

      For 620, I only have one thing to say. To climb so high and to be in such a position of power, one would have thought that she could read the turn in tide faster and better, i.e. unsavory circumstances coming her way. It’s an oversight on her part, perhaps she was too puffed up with pride, that she didn’t see the hints of this coming, until it nearly became too late.

      I am watching because it ain’t over till it’s over.

      TVB can either put her away to take charge of a subsidary investment maybe somewhere in China, or yes, get rid of her. Put someone well liked by majority to take over her, and assured everyone, the remaining staff, from both camps, the public, the stakeholders, that TVB is reshuffling their management in order to serve the public better, to bring TVB to greater heights, more positioned to fight against its competitors from the emerging China market.

      For the future for 620, the lady still has skills. I see her getting another job in another media company, e.g. a China based media company for example, as the corporate world is still eager to tap on her connections, skills and experience.

      My two cents’ worth.

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      • Fox replied:

        Or just go to her husband’s company like before TVB required her to come back.

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  7. uyenta says:

    does anyone knows when lok was hired and why. havent follow much news about her.

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  8. Chriselle says:

    Sharon Chan resigned?! That’s surprise news for me.

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    • Masaharu replied:

      No, she didn’t. Her manager did. “artist managers of Sharon Chan (陳敏之), Joe Ma (馬德鐘), and Bowie Lam (林保怡) had resigned.”

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  9. Veejay says:

    Thanks for the translation.

    I think SM would feel ease and happy atleast with top TVB executives supporting and asking for his stay despite the cold shoulder given by 620. It also shows SM still has the “value” appreciated by these top TVB executives, guess its because most series which has SM in received high rating point from audience. If the news is true as reported, then 620 surely has miscalculated. One part of Mona’s involvement is also because of the mass resignations which really question the management ability by 620. Other part is also the salary’s fees like others said above.

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    • Kidd replied:

      620 is the Director of Artist Management. So, her domain and responsibility is towards the artist. Artists leaving might be the fault of 620’s management. But, behind the scene people leaving should not be blamed on 620, imho.

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      • Masaharu replied:

        Atom was Myolie’s manager wasn’t he? Atom wrote a support post for Lok just now http://weibo.com/1804626857/xq70HwTpy

        Hoho. The “drama” now added with more twists and turns.

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      • Fox replied:

        Yes, have to blame SC instead because it’s his work.

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      • Vivien replied:

        This Atom must be one of 620’s party managers before to still kissing 620’s boots even after leaving TVB!! Look like a fake person.

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      • Vivien replied:

        @Fox “Yes, have to blame SC instead because it’s his work.”

        SC was absent from TVB so how can blame him?

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      • Vivien replied:

        @Kidd but Steven and Wong Hei leaving hundred percent 620’s fault. Steven and Wong Hei admit on their own and 620 cant run.

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      • Vivien replied:

        She also so cheap for telling media about Steven crying at Norman Leung during that dinner. A good manager wont tell something that make your artist lose face! I don’t believe her.

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      • Kidd replied:

        @ Vivien

        Steven and Wong Hei are artists. I’m saying behind the scene people (i.e. scriptwriters, producers, camaramen, PA) leaving should not be blame on her.

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      • Fox replied:

        @Vivien: You forgot that SC came back to TVB for a while before the second court?

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      • Fox replied:

        @Vivien again: Many ppl think he crying = he is sensitive = he is a good loyalty guy. So actually she told about his crying moment might be good for him.

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  10. Funn Lim says:

    Which is why she is so powerful; she controls the artistes.

    Kidd;

    “But, behind the scene people leaving should not be blamed on 620, imho.”

    I doubt her influence is limited to artistes. Controlling artistes means she may control even the scripts, the scenes, the direction, etc. Even if officially she doesn’t, I am sure she is such unofficially.

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  11. shadowrain604 says:

    Dunno why but Virgina Lok looks sort of plastic in the above pic. Maybe it’s just me…:P

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    • Veejay replied:

      speaking about that, her eyes area and nose part look quite tight/stiff there.

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      • exoidus replied:

        LOL, she is the one who recommended ray’s plastic surgeon…

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  12. AC says:

    I think they might transfer some of 620’s power but I don’t think they would actually fire her or anything. A lot of artists may dislike her but it seems like there are also a lot that do like her. Can you imagine if she got fired and decided to work for another station and took along some of the artists with her? Now, that would be interesting! lol

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    • WhoAmI replied:

      The War of Beaty 3: TV Stations’ Fight

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Rather Men With No Shadows. WHo is the devil here? Or is it a trick? That there is no devil but one pretending to be a devil to control others to her will? Does she have a shadow?

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  13. Kidd says:

    Steven Ma still follows Miss Lok’s weibo and vice-versa.

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    • Vivien replied:

      Steven sound like a scholarly person so he wouldn’t disfriend 620’s weibo and make enemy. He said by his mouth himself in his interviews that he’s not in good term with 620.

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      • Vivien replied:

        Or maybe he got busy meeting with his future company and studying the 50 episodes script

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      • Vivien replied:

        maybe because he got busy he forgot to unfollow 620.

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  14. Bridget says:

    Got to hand it to the writer of this article for that terrible photo of 620. She looks like a psycho controlling freak, which is exactly what they want to portray, I suppose.

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  15. sushiroll says:

    i always get the impression 620 is like the “anna wintour of tvb. cold hard b!tch is what i’d describe it. lets face it, i go to work and put up with b!tches like 620 every day. makes you wonder why so many are leaving. its like a clamp on your heart.

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  16. Vivien says:

    Why Mona Fong take actions too late and let 620 reign and make many employees angry for a long time?

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    • Vivien replied:

      Wong Hei has been complaining since Kevin stole his lead position in BF3 with 620’s help but fell on deaf ears of TVB

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  17. Joan says:

    “When artist managers ask for filming schedules from the production crew, they may be scolded. When the artist managers respond to a vendor late, they may be scolded.”

    IF THEY DO NOT SHOW UP TO MS LOK’S BDAY W/ NICE HANDBAG, THEY MAY BE SCOLDED! LMAO

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    • Joan replied:

      IF THEY DO NOT SHOW UP TO MS LOK’S BDAY W/ NICE HANDBAG AS PRESENT FOR HER, THEY MAY BE SCOLDED! LMAO

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  18. Summer says:

    WOW Nice Article. Ms. Lok, we called this Karma. I mean she plays favoritism all these years and now TVB is giving her “a taste of her own medicine”. She is no longer favor by TVB or Mona Fong now. Clearly she will be the first one to blame if many artistes are leaving. Just like she will take all the credit if her artistes that she favored are successful.

    I mean if Fala gets TV Queen, then she is so lucky since she jumps ships back and forth. She is really lucky.

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    • asianfan replied:

      yeah Fala has just been sticking with whoever has influence…so typical!

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  19. krize150 says:

    I don’t know if Catherine Tsang is a better promoter. Some of her artists have unfairly won awards too. For ex: Kevin and Tavia Yeung. Tommy Leung is better, imo. His artists usually have to win artists outside TVB. For ex: Raymond and Myolie has won at the Asian TV awards. Also, Tommy Leung recognizes TVB’s small pool of artists and invites non-TVB artists like Tse Kwan Ho or past TVB artists like Gallen Lo.

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    • Joan replied:

      No Tommy Leung, else we’ll be seeing his daughter Toby in dramas all the time & she’s horrible w/ awful annoying chinese.

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