Dicky Cheung (張衛健) appeared as a guest on Steven Ma‘s (馬浚偉) self-produced talk show Fate Comes From Coffee <緣來自咖啡>, where he spoke about the pressures in his early career. Since his parents divorced when Dicky was young, the actor started supporting his family when he entered the entertainment industry at 17 years old.
Working as a sailor, Dicky’s father was often away but would physically abuse the family when he returned home once a year. After his parents divorced due to his father’s extramarital affair, Dicky became the sole financial provider for the family. He saved up money to send his brother overseas for schooling, but unfortunately had to give up on his own studies.
Shouldering such a big responsibility when he was still a teenager gave Dicky a lot of pressure, especially since he made very little money as an artiste in his early career. “After I joined TVB, I wasn’t given any opportunities to be a lead character. We all know that TVB’s salary was not fantastic, so I was struggling to get by. It got to the point where I didn’t have money to put food on the table. I felt a lot of pressure to be the breadwinner of the family at 17 because I had only just graduated from high school. But I was still very happy–it is a fortunate thing to be able to have family members to take care of.”
Passionate about the entertainment industry, Dicky did not mind the initial small roles in TVB dramas. When he starred as the Monkey King in Journey to the West <西遊記>, it was a major turning point in his career which opened up opportunities in China. Dicky commented, “I really love that character and fully immersed myself into becoming him. At that time, I really thought I was the Monkey King!”
No longer as prolific in his later career, Dicky’s intention is to only film select projects. He accepts a new job every three to five years, which creates a strong sense of desire to perform. “When I sang ‘Good Health’ <身體健康>, the producer was already okay with the recording, but I requested to sing a few more times. There was really no reason behind it other than my desire to sing. I bring the same mindset to acting.”
When asked how he maintains his positive mindset, Dicky shared that it is most important that to figure out what personal happiness means. Is it necessary to have a house and a car to be happy? Do we need to sacrifice lifestyle for survival? “Back when I couldn’t even afford beef chow fun, I still felt that I was living life to its fullest because I had goals and wasn’t just sitting around waiting for luck. I was using my time and energy to create opportunities for myself.”
This article is written by Kiki for JayneStars.com.