Bromance: Raymond Cho and Michael Tong Will Always Have Each Other’s Backs

It’s like being reborn from the ashes for Michael Tong (唐文龍), who finally has a role that people can recognize him in after going through 20 years of playing forgettable supporting characters.

The 48-year-old actor was brought back to the limelight after starring in the TVB anniversary drama Heart and Greed <溏心風暴3>, in which he played opposite Sharon Chan (陳敏之), with whom his character has an affair with.

The past 20 years hasn’t been easy for Michael, who at one point in his life lived with a meager monthly salary of HK$4,000. He even lived in a small subdivided flat which he payed HK$1,800 a month for, and ate only fast food.

Now that Michael has made a strong return to the industry, the Heart and Greed actor said he has to thank his close friend Raymond Cho (曹永廉) for being his biggest supporter, especially during the days he struggled financially. Michael told reporters that Raymond knew he didn’t have money for food, so Raymond would always be around to treat him to meals.

Raymond said he’s very happy with Michael’s success today, saying, “We’ve been friends for over 25 years. There’s nothing to fuss over about. (Michael said you always treated him to food.) Whoever has the money would do the treating! Sometimes I earned more, so I would treat him to a hundred-dollar pizza. When I’m not earning as much, then we’d eat some food for a couple dollars at a cafe. I’m so happy for his success today, but as a brother, I worry for him. He’s had a lot of ups and downs [in his career], and he’s not much of a saver either. When he has the money, he tends to spend all of it. He’s pretty cheap when it comes to food, but when it comes to his friends, he is not cheap at all. He once gave me a clay pendant that had my zodiac animal etched on it. It was at least HK$10,000. I’ve been keeping it well.”

As for the stories of his struggles, Michael, who is currently in Beijing, said, “That happened in the 90’s. I’m sure many artists have had similar experiences before, and honestly, I miss the days when I would just eat fish balls and sing karaoke. It’s true that Heart and Greed has gotten a lot more people to notice me, and honestly, I feel like a dinosaur fossil, like people have just dug me up now to observe me. Everyone’s gotten a lot more curious!”

As for his friendship with Raymond, Michael said, “He really took care of me and watched me grow! I’ll never be able to repay that!”


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. Is it real fame or TVB is trying to make it look like fame? His role in HoG is so uninteresting and not memorable at all… He’s another bland Gary Stu and for some reason Sharon liked him. His scenes had no range but he did look like a Best Actor next to Sharon; she was a snooze-fest! I did not feel their romance at all…

    1. @jjwong it’s more like “boiling water” sort of news or rather PR stunt or like you know people write about him, etc. Acting wise he has and always will be mediocre. But gotta admit, he has aged but physically he can show Moses and gang how to grow old THAT way!

  2. Hope to see more of Michael Tong.
    He just needs to be given more opportunities and the TVB executives needs to realise there are other great actors to utilise and not having to recycle the same actors all the time (i.e. Moses Chan etc) as its getting really boring.

  3. Um, ok – one thing I’m still unable to wrap my head around is why Michael would give up a potentially lucrative career as a fashion designer to pursue a lackluster career in acting that pretty much had him in the poorhouse for 20 years? I mean, not only does Michael have a DOCTORATE in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (one of the top fashion schools in the WORLD!), he also speaks perfect English (and holds U.S. citizenship), as his family immigrated to San Francisco when he was still in primary school (and even before then, in HK, he went to La Salle Primary School, so pretty much his entire life’s education was in English). Seriously, if I had a degree like that plus the privilege of great education like that behind me, to hell if I’m going to waste 20 years of my life in HK (and later in Mainland China) playing kelefe roles for what amounts to peanuts at TVB (and probably in Mainland too, since Michael claims that his HOG3 role is the biggest one he’s had in his entire career)! Honestly, such a waste!!

    1. @llwy12 dang he got my respect though. A man that took his time and energy to accomplish such a degree is pretty smart and patient. He seems like a whole package, really doesn’t need TVB. Maybe he really love acting?

    2. @llwy12 doctorate? kidding me? haha lol…what a waste that he spent 1/2 his life playing kalefes. sad that the biggest role is such a jerk character hahaa but then again the female mistress was pretty bad too.

  4. @llwy12 i don’t think as fashion designer can be more lucrative than as a TVB starlite. Especially when he was younger. He was handsome, built and had more of a making to idol status than Moses. However, his acting was so worse than Moses then… Not sure why Michael quitted. I thought he was neck to neck as far as exposure and opportunity wise with Moses.

    @funnlim Yeas, physique wise, Michael definitely has it down packed. He’s fit with 6 packs and healthy, instead of skinny arse like Oscar, Moses or that one dude fromnswimming to actor that everyone is drooling over currently.

    On the other hand, Raymond Cho definitely aged more gracefully face wise. Looking at that picture above, RC looks like a baby brother next to MT lol.

    1. @jjwong True but even if he wanted to try his hand at acting or whatnot because of his looks and build, once he realized things wouldn’t work out (ie he’s still playing kelefe roles say 5-10 years later), why not quit then and go into something more stable where he could actually utilize his skills? I guess it just doesn’t make sense to me that someone with that level of education and a doctorate degree would prefer to live in near poverty conditions most of his adult life in pursuit of a nonexistent acting career rather than make his own situation better when he obviously has the means to. I’m not too familiar with the fashion world, but I’ve got to assume that with that degree, he could probably get a job that pays way way way more than what TVB would ever pay him!

      1. @llwy12 idk, fashion is a harder nut to crack into than tvb imo. What can he do with that degree anyways? Write a blog? He needs to be in the fashiom trends and shows. Be a designer? He needs famous fashion people to buy in and promote him. Be someone goofer? He doesn’t seem like the type. Honestly, he doesn’t strike me as a fashionista, lol.

        He obviously left TVB for awhile. What has he been doing before this one role? Everyone at TVB had that poverty time frame though. He’s no different. Maybe he did dab into fashion but didn’t go anywhere *shrugs*

  5. I personally think his most memorial role was as Cheung Hok Yu in Flaming Butterfly ATV series. That’s when I began to like him. I have seen him in many TVB dramas but I must say I started noticing him since FB.

  6. I didn’t know that MT was struggling. I mean I assumed he wasn’t starring in a lot because he was taking it easy with how much he earned but dang…

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