Leading up to TVB’s 43rd Anniversary, Felix Wong Yat Wah posted on his blog, “Mother, today is your 43rd birthday. Happy Birthday! After leaving for many years, I returned for several months to film series last year. I still felt the sense of ‘family’ there. I hope that the ‘programs’ you produce continue to do well and that all of your ‘children’ become talents. Signed, ‘Departed from the Family,’ Felix Wong…”
A day later, Felix’s attitude towards TVB took a dramatic turn. He wrote angrily on his blog, “Someone said that a popular drama with good ratings was not given proper attention by the company. It lacked publicity [the cast was promoting the series on their own] and was repeatedly suppressed. An Anniversary series was forced to become transparent on the night of the Anniversary. Where did fairness and justice go?! I, Felix Wong, want to know which company this is?” Felix was breathing fire and later wrote, “Finally, someone told me this was the name of the company: Totally Very Bad. I can’t tolerate it!” (Totally Very Bad spells the acronym ‘TVB.’)
Regarding Felix’s criticism about the lack of regard for Gun Metal Grey, TVB Deputy Director of External Affairs, Tsang Sing Mingreplied, “There are two main reasons. At first the Anniversary production team intended to include both No Regrets <義海豪情> and Gun Metal Grey together. Since Gun Metal Grey was based on Hong Kong ’s true crimes, we did not want to make the police department’s cases into a form of entertainment. We carefully considered the issue. Another reason was due to the limited time of the Anniversary program; not all Anniversary series could be highlighted in the show. For example, the TVB Anniversary Special Program, Papua Solomons Treasure <森海尋寶> could not be featured. We are not neglecting Gun Metal Grey. On November 25th, there will be a major promotional event occurring for the series.”
Felix Wong Does Not Want to Appear at TVB Anniversary Awards Ceremony
The Sun reporter spoke with Felix further regarding TVB’s response:
F= Felix Wong
S= the Sun
S= What did you think of Ho Lai Chuen’s response?
F= What does this have to do with Ho Lai Chuen? Is he explaining so much to cover up something?
S= The Producer of the TVB Anniversary Program, Wai Sai Fai, said that his cell phone is always turned on. If any artists are dissatisfied, they should call him.
F= My phone is always on too! Did TVB contact me? How come they did not call me? But a big company has their way of handling matters. They do not have to explain so much! Nowadays, the audience is very smart. Do not attempt to cover-up and rape the public’s opinion! Just because TVB says their programs are good does not mean they are truly good!” (依家啲觀眾好聰明，唔好再用陰招強姦民意！唔係佢哋話咩節目好就係好)
S= Will you appear at the TVB Anniversary Awards Ceremony?
F= Who cares about their awards? It is just a game. They give it to whomever they want! I do not want to become a pawn. I have my own style. If I am dissatisfied, I will speak up!
S= You’re not going to film any more TVB series?
F= We’ll talk about that later. They are two separate issues. Let’s worry whether Gun Metal Grey will be cut!
S= You have been so outspoken .Are you afraid of retaliation?
F= What am I afraid of? That I will be banned from TVB City ?
Michael Miu’s More Mild Response
Gun Metal Grey <刑警>cast member, Michael Miu Kiu Wai commented on Felix’s displeasure, “I totally agree! How come Gun Metal Grey was not visible at the TVB Anniversary? It is not the company’s fault, but perhaps man-made?” Speaking with the press afterwards, Michael said, “It doesn’t make sense.” Asked whether TVB invited him to attend the Anniversary, Michael said, “No, that’s why it’s strange. Why don’t you reflect on this for us?”
Michael Miu also noted that TVB should have contacted him personally. Regarding Ho Lai Chuen’s explanation, Michael said, “I do not have an opinion. Thanks Mr. Ho for responding!” (Will you appear at the TVB Anniversary Awards Ceremony?) “We’ll see what happens. I am busy filming now. Let’s not talk about whether I will attend or not.”
TVB Management’s Mixed Response
In response to the backlash and to pacify Felix Wong and Michael Miu, TVB executive, Ho Lai Chuen, strongly indicated that the cast of Gun Metal Grey will be invited to the TVB Anniversary Awards Ceremony. Will Mr. Ho be issuing an apology? He said, “We will be holding a press conference to address the issue. We will have someone to especially speak with Felix Wong. It has been a long time since he filmed for TVB. The ratings for the series was good. We do not want there to be any misunderstandings.”
The Producer of the TVB Anniversary program, Wai Sai Fai, refused to apologize. “If Felix is dissatisfied with anything, he should let TVB know and should not have gone directly to the press!”
Gun Metal Grey Producer, Tong Gei Ming said, “Felix only spoke from his heart. It was a little unfair. But Wai Sai Fei is a bit passive!” (But Felix said he will not attend the TVB Anniversary Awards Ceremony?) “His position is past that level and he does not care about awards. Despite this, everyone is happy if we all play along with the game.” (He does not want to be a pawn in the game?) “In this world, everyone is a pawn!”
Felix Wong’s Past Record of Criticizing TVB
1995: While filming Justice Bao <包青天>, Felix had romantic rumors with Ada Choi Siu Fun. Allegedly, Felix and wife, Leung Kit Wah, fought over the issue. After speaking on the phone, Felix angrily punched the mirror at the TVB City make-up room. His right hand bled and the injury required stitches.
2002: Felix bluntly said that his days at TVB were very complex and he often offended high-level management. Perhaps this was due to the fact that Felix was unafraid to speak his mind on matters that other artists were afraid to express for fear of losing their jobs. He said he was often summoned for questioning by high-level management.
2005: While promoting Wait Till You Are Older <童夢奇緣>, Felix complained that TVB was no longer the same as past years: everyone looked after their own personal interests, the declining production and script quality of productions, etc. Felix noted that by exposing TVB’s “scars,” it was for the company’s own good.
2009: Felix indicated that he left TVB seven years ago due to declining artist commissions from shows and the long filming hours.
Compiled from Appledaily and the Sun
Jayne: As a big Felix Wong fan, I am quite upset over TVB’s fiasco in managing this year’s anniversary program. I don’t think Felix is just speaking for himself, but rather the injustice he felt for his co-stars, Michael Miu, Jessica Hsuan, etc. Everyone put in their efforts for the filming of Gun Metal Grey, yet TVB did not include the series in the Anniversary program and failed to acknowledge these artists.
This incident seems to show the disregard that some TVB management, such as the Producer of the TVB Anniversary program, Wai Sai Fai, for some artists, making them feel insignificant. Perhaps Mr. Wai’s overall poor coordination explains the lack of big stars at this year’s TVB Anniversary and upcoming Awards Ceremony. It doesn’t make sense that artists such as Roger Kwok and Bernice Liu, who are filming at TVB City , can not make an appearance at the annual event. Can’t they take a few hours off in the evening to participate? But Felix’s incident shows that Mr. Wai may have excluded many stars this year.
Instead of talking to TVB management (which will probably fall on deaf ears before it reaches the proper person), Felix spoke directly to the press. It was a very confrontational method and no doubt put him on the black list among some TVB managers. However, I admire his outspokenness in speaking out for his beliefs and tackling an issue many are afraid to talk about.
Felix’s criticism in not “raping the public’s opinion” and pulling the wool over the audience’s eyes was very strongly worded. But I can not agree with it more. Some recent series were over-praised despite their mediocrity. Makes you wonder how much influence TVB Public Relations has over the media.