Pal Sinn (單立文) is an all-rounder performer. Like the leopard, Pal is able to quickly adapt to his surroundings and adeptly learn how to excel in his new environments. Before making his name as Hong Kong’s eccentric actor, the Awfully Lawful <熟男有惑> star was a hot-blooded musician.
Chyna and Blue Jeans
Music had always been Pal’s passion. He formed a band with his classmates during high school. He participated in numerous local singing contests and festivals in his youth. In 1983, Pal made his first official debut in the Hong Kong industry as the bassist of the band Chyna, a rock band that also consisted of Donald Ashley (唐龍), Peter Wong (黃良昇), and So Tak Wah (蘇德華). The band disbanded in the late 1980s, but Pal formed another band, Blue Jeans in 1987, and their hit single, “Outrageous” <豈有此理> remains to be one of Hong Kong’s most-played songs on the radio.
“Singing and acting requires a great deal of imagination and creativity,” said Pal. “Performing is just like self-hypnosis. As long as you are engaged, everything will make much more sense.”
Blue Jeans disbanded in 1990. Kenny Chung (鍾鎮濤) introduced Pal to music producer Mark Lui (雷頌德), who signed him into a record label. “The label wanted to debut a duo band, but that didn’t work out,” Pal sighed. “But I met my wife, Paisley Wu (胡蓓蔚). We continued dating, and continued making music.”
Pal’s career was all over the place – one minute, he was acting, and in the next minute, he was back into making music. “Wong Ka Kui (黃家駒) once said, ‘The music industry has died.’ I agree with this, but that doesn’t mean I want to leave it. Music is still my focus. Both Ka Kui and I share a heart that never dies. Yes, we get angry, but after that anger leaves, we will continue to dedicate her passion to making music.”
With the advent of the “Four Heavenly Kings” in the early 1990s, the idol pop industry in Hong Kong boomed. The music industry suddenly became a medium to show off pretty people and promote formulaic songs.
“There is still space for [improvement],” said Pal. “I believe that genuine music can be heard everywhere. Every generation must have a group of vanguards to break tradition, if not, there will be no improvement. Whether or not it is music or acting, I think I broke through many of my limits. My baggage is lessening.”
In 1989, Pal starred as Ximen Qing in the Hong Kong film The Reincarnation of Golden Lotus <潘金蓮之前世今生>, an erotic film loosely based on the classic Chinese novel, The Plum in the Golden Vase <金瓶梅>. In 1991, Pal reprised his role as Ximen Qing in the soft-porn film The Golden Lotus: Love and Desire <金瓶風月>. He starred as Ximen Qing for the third time in the 1994 film, The Amorous Lotus Pan <少女潘金蓮>, a fourth time in the TVB drama Gentle Reflections <恨鎖金瓶>, and a fifth time in the five-episode The Plum in the Golden Vase television drama in 1996.
“Everyone say it’s vulgar and obscene to shoot a [soft-porn] movie, but my role is not a representation of me. I do not mind [the criticism]. An actor comes into good use when he is able to break his own [image]. In the end, I was no longer Pal Sinn. But the truth is, there is still no one who could surpass my Ximen Qing.”
Pal is not the type to turn down job offers, but expressed that he prefers change and dislikes doing the same performances over and over again. “That does not allow room for development, and it puts a limit on what I could be able to do. If I can do it, I will do it with no limits. There will be no regrets. A professional actor should have no boundaries, no limits, and should not ponder about the future. We should be pouncing at every present opportunity, to see how far we can really go.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.