In a recent interview with Face Magazine, Bernice Liu Bik Yee’s voice grew emotional and her eyes became red. It was not because her ex-boyfriend, Moses Chan Ho, did not reveal their relationship publicly. It was not because her relationship with the wealthy Alastair Lam did not advance ideally and ensuing “gold digger” ellegations by the media and public. Bernice’s eyes brimmed with tears as she spoke about falling ill over Lunar New Year, with the lower right side of body becoming immovable. When she signed release papers to undergo surgery at the hospital, Bernice contemplated that potential paralysis in the lower half of her body.
“No one knew that I had entered the hospital. At first, I considered pretending that nothing had happened. That day, I thought about the possibility that I may not leave the hospital in a healthy condition. The world did not know what happened to me. I did not get married and have children yet. Perhaps there may never even be a possibility to do so….”
In the entertainment industry for ten years, 32-year-old Bernice Liu never countered nor clarified negative rumors. Possessing a height of 5 feet 7 inches and weighing 52 kg, the statuesque Bernice was never perceived to need protection.
Never Acknowledged as Girlfriend
Bernice’s waist surgery led to her confession. Regarding allegations in dating two men at the same time and branded as a gold digger, Bernice revealed that she had broken up [with Moses Chan] in 2008. How could the allegations that she was dating two men be true? Dating for six years, Bernice was never acknowledged publicly as [Moses’] girlfriend. Bernice said she was a normal woman and was waiting for him to openly acknowledge her girlfriend status.
Suffering Pain in Silence
After being photographed on a date with Alastair Lam, rumors claimed that Bernice broke up with Moses Chan and branded her as a gold digger. Bernice was the culprit in causing good-man Moses’ haggardness.
After filming Show Me the Happy <依家有喜> in January, Bernice suddenly disappeared. In March, it was revealed that Bernice had a major surgery at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital. “I was filming Show Me the Happy in Central District and injured my waist at the end of November. It was a simple scene in which I had to walk and talk at the same time. We even rehearsed it a few times. However, I stumbled and injured my waist.” At the time, Bernice did not feel immense pain. On the second and third days, the pain increased. “After completing each scene, my pain was so intense, I had to grab on to something for support. Normally, I can tolerate pain quite well. When the director felt something was askew, he forced me to consult a doctor. During the filming of Show Me the Happy, I entered the emergency room three times. No one wants to delay filming progress because of one person’s situation. I took pain killers to complete the filming of the series and cancelled two overseas appearances. I had to cancel the last trip because I could not board the airplane and quickly entered the hospital.”
Regarding the specific injury, Bernice said that her vertebrae had shifted and fractured. The situation was complex and required surgery. Staying at the hospital and resting for a month, Bernice currently had to attend weekly physical therapy sessions. Bernice was able to wear high heels, walk, and run but was uncertain whether she could continue practicing martial arts and dancing at this point.
“The worst part was that I was unable to move the lower right side of my body while laying on the hospital bed. I do not like to cry in front of other people, especially my parents which would make them worry. However, I was in such immense pain at the time, I could not hold back my tears. I did not know what else I can do. At a young age, I studied dancing and learned Taekwondo and Wing Chun after entering the entertainment industry. I was not injured in wire nor action scenes. I was simply walking on the street and sustained the injury. Isn’t it incredulous? On the hospital bed, I couldn’t even move my fingers and toes. I was afraid I would lose everything I had at that moment, the simplest capabilities that people were born with and that you may take for granted.”
When Bernice entered the hospital, media rumors were rampant that Bernice was an opportunistic gold digger and Moses appeared haggard due to lost love. Bernice indicated that she did not clarify the rumors at that point because her family felt that the most important priority should be recovering her health; other issues had to wait.
“Everyone thought I was very tough because each time I made an appearance, I was smiling and not crying. This time, I did not want fans to worry and did not want other people to feel that I was using my surgery for publicity. At first, I did not want to let anyone know about the incident and pretend that nothing happened after recovering my health.
“After signing the release papers for surgery, I grew scared. I contemplated that I may not be able to emerge healthily from the hospital. I did not get married nor have children yet…. In the industry for 10 years, I have never stopped. Perhaps this time, God told me to stop a bit and allow me the opportunity to reflect on my career, life, and feelings. Entering the industry when I was 21-years-old, my dream at the time was to get married at 24-years old. My sister, who is older than me by 3 years, already has two children. Even my brother, who is younger than me by 3 years, is already a father. Without realizing it, I have walked a different path. My dream was 8 years late and did not have a chance to get fulfilled yet.”
When asked whether her former boyfriend had visited her in the hospital, Bernice said, “No.” When the entire Hong Kong was criticizing her as a gold digger, did Bernice wish that someone would come forward and speak up for her? “Yes.”
“A public figure does not have any privacy, which is often revealed. A public figure cannot do whatever you want to. Many children decided to keep dogs as pets and study dancing because of my influence. There is definitely a degree of obligation to society. I understand the meaning behind the idiom, ‘If you eat salted fish, you have to withstand thirst.’ However, the rumors were out of control at the time and my image was deeply impacted.
“After leaving the hospital, my family started reading the news to me and explained to me that ‘worshipping gold’ meant being greedy for money. I realized how serious the situation had become. Virginia Lok Yi Ling, my family, and church friends all supported me. It is now the time to come out and speak up for myself. Why were there allegations that I was dating two men at the same time? We had broken up in 2008! Why were there allegations that I did not want to acknowledge his position [as my boyfriend]? I am a woman. Shouldn’t the position be given by the man to a woman?”
If Bernice [and Moses] had broken up in 2008, then allegations that she was cold-hearted and had dated two men at the same time did not hold true anymore. If the victim of the so-called love triangle stepped forward to say a word, then Bernice’s reputation could easily be restored. However, from beginning to end, that person did not do so.
“No one came forward to speak up for me. I cannot force it. After this incident happened, I truly believe that women have to rely on themselves.”
“For normal people, a romantic relationship is a regular occurrence. For an artist, there are many issues to contemplate: should you publicly reveal the relationship? Will it be suitable for my image? Is it advantageous?” (What do you mean by advantageous?) “Will there be a positive or negative impact on your image? It’s not me who is calculating. I do not know if someone else calculated this; it is up to the individual’s priority in placing career, image, or love first. In this line of work, I did not think that the greatest impact is that, encountering a stranger on the street, I do not know you, but you know who I am and already possess many views about me.
“After the success of a television series, an onscreen partnership is popular with the audience. Naturally, the audience hopes that you are a real couple. Over these years, although no one admitted to dating, we have been considered a pair. Although we broke up in 2008, it was inevitable to meet again at events organized by the company. 2005’s Love Bond <心花放> [the series featuring Moses and Bernice shortly after they started dating] is currently airing overseas. I realize that even if two people wanted [their relationship to end], it is not truly over.”
Let the past be the past. Bernice noted that she was currently single, although she was photographed eating with Alastair Lam at an Italian restaurant near her house shortly after her surgery. Bernice noted that Alastair was currently a friend only. Compared to recovering her health, dating was not a current priority.
“Over the past decade, everyone told me to not to miss any opportunities. I do not know and will not regret whether because of this, I have missed any opportunities. Right now, I will consider whether I should accept certain work arrangements. Should I rest more? I also consider whether I should walk slower, to find someone who is absolutely loyal, trustworthy, and willing to have children together. The most important thing is to place me as his top priority, knowing when I need him. In the past, I have experienced where someone did not place me first. The first position was always his image or work, but it was not me.”
Excerpt from Face Magazine # 204
Jayne: This interview explains my earlier question as to why Bernice did not come out to clarify gold digger rumors, although they were severely damaging her image. Due to her health situation, she did not have time to deal with the rumors and the paparazzi ran with their speculations or whatever would sell tabloids.
In the interview, Bernice sounds quite upset about Moses for not stepping out and clarifying that they broke up in 2008, the year when she went to Hollywood. In another Appledaily interview, Bernice also mentioned how Moses appeared to be haggard since photos of her date with Alastair Lam surfaced, but he became happy once tabloids discovered his romance with Aimee Chan.
Had Moses stepped out and said they broke up in 2008, how would that impact his image? Many fans liked him with Bernice very much, why did he not want to acknowledge it? TVB pressure?