Mat Yeung is Grateful for His Second Chance with TVB
When Mat Yeung (楊明) first debuted in 1999, he was one of TVB’s most heavily promoted newcomers. Initially cast in cameo roles to get his feet wet, the tall and lankyactor soon began receiving meatier roles. However, Mat’s career was interrupted in 2005 when he was arrested for DUI. In addition to being sentenced to 150 hours of community service, Mat also became the first TVB actor to retake acting classes again.
Compared to many of his peers, Mat enjoyed a relatively smooth-sailing career. His breakthrough role was in 2003’s The ‘W’ Files <衛斯理>, in which he co-starred alongside Tavia Yeung (楊怡), Gallen Lo (羅嘉良), and Yoyo Mung (蒙嘉慧).
Mat reflected, “The opportunities came in abundance. I didn’t think it was a big deal. Maybe because it came so easily for me, I didn’t know how to appreciate it. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this. Most of the characters I portrayed in those few years were arrogant, rich second generations. At the time, I felt unhappy, so I made mistakes. When I made mistakes, I would feel unhappy again. This vicious cycle dragged down my morale.”
After his DUI incident, Mat was ordered to retake TVB’s artiste training class. He was the first artiste in TVB history to ever do this. “At the time, I had already been in the industry for eight years! I had to go every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I felt like I was being tormented. My new colleagues and peers asked so many questions. I thought they were dumb and were acting like tourists! I did not fit in at all during the first week and sat in the farthest back corner of the classroom.” In this training class, Mat’s classmates included Cilla Kung (樂瞳), Jonathan Cheung (張穎康), and Mark Ma (馬貫東).
He admitted that at the time, he had not gotten past himself yet. “I was in my mid-20s and a little bit older than everyone else there. All of a sudden, I found myself having to be around all of these young people. It wasn’t until the second week that I began to slowly immerse back into it.”
Despite his run-ins with the law, Mat was given a rare second chance that many artistes would not have been given. After nearly 20 years in the entertainment business, Mat won his first award under the “Most Improved Male Artiste” category in 2017. “What happened before gave me experiences that will determine the next few decades of my life. It made me who I am today. If the mistakes didn’t happen and my career was smooth sailing, then I believe you will not see the same Mat Yeung you see right now.”
The 37-year-old actor no longer takes things for granted and has learned to appreciate his opportunities. “Since I got into so much trouble during that time, TVB could have fired me. But they didn’t. I am very thankful for Virginia Lok (樂易玲) and Catherine Tsang (曾勵珍). In retrospect, many of my colleagues work very hard. They’ve worked hard for many years and are just waiting for a chance. The old me wasted other people’s opportunities. Every opportunity could have been given to someone else. There are so many roles each year. Why should they use me? A lot of my seniors told me, ‘You have to work harder than you did before, because if we did what you did, it would have been over for us.’”
This article is written by Huynh for JayneStars.com.