Ram Chiang’s Quiet Life After the Red Carpet

By on June 30, 2013 in NEWS, Star Interviews

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What comes to mind when one hears the name Ram Chiang (蔣志光)? Television actor? TVB’s staple supporting actor?

A critically-acclaimed veteran actor who has been with TVB since 1993, Ram is well-known in the business for his method acting ability and likable appearance. He has portrayed many iconic TVB supporting characters, notably File of Justice’s <壹號皇庭II> Eric Chau and War of the Genders’ <男親女愛> effeminate lawyer James Tsim, and his younger TVB colleagues affectionately call him “Teacher Chiang.” But do many older fans remember that Ram Chiang used to be an award-winning platinum singer-songwriter?

His 1990 self-composed duet single with Rita Carpio (韋綺珊), “No Need to Know One Another” <相逢何必曾相識>, was a top ten winner at the 13th Top Ten Chinese Gold Songs Award. His 1995 duet with Lo Ta Yu (羅大佑), “Queen’s Road East” <皇后大道東> also quickly caught as a classical Cantonese pop song. With catchy lyrics that provided humorous commentary about the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong to mainland China, “Queen’s Road East” became an immediate number-one hit upon its release in 1995.

Having once walked the red carpet for his singing career, will Ram consider returning to the music industry in full force? Ram shook his head. He is done.

Directing Dreams Crushed

Ram worked as a street performer in Temple Street before he was discovered by PolyGram in the mid-1980s. Ram was an “invisible” member of Raidas, a popular electro pop band that was active in the late 1980s. Ram briefly worked as the team’s programmer although he was never formally recognized as part of the team.

The 51-year-old all-rounder entertainer said that being a director was his childhood dream. As his family was unable to support him to a film school, Ram went to late-night adult school to study English and quick film courses.

Ram saw the music industry as a platform that could bring him closer to acting. Soon after becoming a singer, Ram signed with TVB. “If I didn’t sing, I wouldn’t be able to become an actor. As an actor, I would be one step closer to being a director.”

Alas, Ram never went ahead to fulfill his director dreams. Twenty years have passed, and although Ram has established himself as a recognized television actor, his achievements did not bring him closer to directing opportunities.

But the past twenty years did not go to waste. His family was there. His friends were there. Ram remembered the times when he had to balance both his television career and obligations to take care of his only toddler son. Now, Ram’s son is going to college.

“If he decides to study a specialized subject, I’ll have to work hard for a few more years,” Ram laughed.

Future?

Ram is a devout Christian and is one of the few TVB artists who refuse to attend TVB drama blessing ceremonies, a traditional Taoist practice to bless the involved persons with good luck and Godspeed.

“If you call yourself a Christian, then as an apprentice you must help your master do his work. It’s like having your student helping you with your camera equipment. For many years, I insisted on not attending blessing ceremonies, and yet I never had any accidents.”

Now placing his efforts in his acting career, Ram still found time to occasionally perform his own jazz music. His wife praised that his singing has gotten much better. “I remember Dayo Wong (黃子華) once told me that Leslie Cheung (張國榮) had mentioned to him that his singing had improved once he sealed his microphone.”

Ram revealed that Wong Cho Lam (王祖藍) wanted to cast him as a “has-been” singer in his upcoming sequel for Inbound Troubles <老表,你 好嘢!>. “I’m still thinking about it.”

Ram explained that he found the Hong Kong music industry “dark,” which was a contributing factor to Ram’s decision in retiring his singing career. But does that mean Ram finds the television industry “bright”?

“A record label is a little factory. Don’t even think about making it big if you don’t know how to polish shoes. I enjoy my life now. My wife likes to watch my dramas. A television station is a big factory with many rules, and as long as I do my duty, polishing shoes isn’t completely necessary, although it does have its benefits. I can still keep up with what I’m doing. I have freedom because I am low-profile. That’s why I tend not to attend promotional events for my dramas. I enjoy this freedom I have.”

Source: Next Magazine #1216 via ihktv.com

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

24 comments to Ram Chiang’s Quiet Life After the Red Carpet

  1. Mlove says:

    When is he’s gonna get an award from tvb? Hope this year he will. He’s a good and funny actor. I like him since Kindred Spirit. They should do rerun of that.

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  2. Primrose says:

    Ram definitely deserves an acting award. One of the few songs I remember from his singing days is “Old Friend” and he has good vocals. Unfortunately, the entertainment industry is about looks, which he is lacking.

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  3. Puff says:

    I respect Ram for not just talking the talk, but walking the talk. It’s a big deal not showing up to blessing ceremonies, but that is what Christian should do if they stay true to their beliefs.

    As for hs songs, I’ve only heard of the 2 mentioned in this article and I like them both. He’s a talented song writer and it’s a shame that he’s not writing and singing anymore. HK music is horrible, at the risk of getting hate messages, how can people like Twins done so well in the music industry?

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    • sel_fi_wu replied:

      ask eeg executives why they love twins so much to promote them like hell when they don’t have talent and instead many aspiring singers with talents don’t het the promotion they got

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      • Godon replied:

        evidently when ram says the music industry is ‘dark’, he expects people to know what he means by that. Without doubt, Twins have most likely done some ‘dark’ stuff, whether with executives or other powerful people. You get the idea. Regardless, Ram is an extremely smart guy, and knows when to cross the line or stay behind. He’s tvb’s last remaining gems, and losing him would contribute the downfall of tvb further.

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  4. Panzer says:

    Never heard his music, but always thought he was a very like-able guy in all his TVB work.
    He is definitely one of the best supporting actors that TVB has.
    It’s a shame they don’t give him more onscreen time. He can out-act the younger crowd and he makes all his characters believable.
    At the very least he should get some sort of recognition award from TVB.

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  5. Jaci says:

    Sure, most of the time after an actor/actress receives an award they get raise. But looking at the past years awards ceremony, does that award truly hold the value that it once had? I think for many veterans that award is simply a materialist recognition, which doesn’t hold value to them. What matters to them is the recognition that the audience gives them and the contentment of being able to carry out the roles to their own standards.

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  6. asdfjkl; says:

    I know it’s translated as not attending the blessing ceremonies, but it says “咁多年堅持唔開鏡裝香” which is lighting the incense and stuff.

    Anyways, I really respect him for following through with his Christian morals. He’s a superb supporting actor and 相逢何必曾相識 has always been one of my favorite songs ever!

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    • Iris replied:

      Yes, the translation isn’t faithful enough. He refuses to participate would be a better way to interpret.

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  7. bear says:

    someone open the curtain!! it’s too DARK!

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  8. sel_fi_wu says:

    no wonder hk music industry died! so it’s because record labels now promote people based on how much they boot licking instead of talent! no wonder can’t see any new singer with great songs worth remembering now! straight away i think of eeg and the people they promote

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  9. ha ha idiot says:

    worst actor of every year.

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  10. Funn Lim says:

    Award winning platinum song writer? Or was it just one time award winner platinum song writer? I have heard of the song he co wrote but never heard of him as a musician.

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    • llwy12 replied:

      @Funn: I’m probably dating myself when I say this, but I actually knew Ram first as a singer more than an actor. He was quite active in the music industry back in the 80s/early 90s and throughout his music career, he definitely won more than one award in music, as he wrote and co-wrote quite a few hits back in the day — it’s just that his songs were more popular than he was as a singer (which is why alot of younger generation audiences might not have known he was a singer or heard many of his older songs).

      He is absolutely a talented singer/ songwriter so it’s unfortunate that he ended his singing career and pretty much refuses to take up any projects related to singing. Of course, I also love him as actor and though I feel that he did make the right decision in pursuing an acting career (his acting talent is obvious), I still feel it’s a loss for the music industry.

      Anyway, here’s an interview that Ram did last year for a Mainland newspaper — it relays mostly the same sentiments, but in alot more detail: http://llsmusings.blogspot.com/2012/08/ycwb-interview-with-ram-tseung.html

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  11. Siying says:

    He sings?!? I only remember him perpetually acting in supporting roles. Poor guy!

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  12. hannahh says:

    poor guy! wish him all the best! love watching every series he acted in

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  13. Mt says:

    I respected him as a veteran actor, but lost all respect for him for refusing to participate in the blessing ceremonies. It doesn’t matter whether the ceremony is Christian or Taoist. Devout Christian or not, it’s NOT about him. It’s about showing respect for everyone who is involved in the production of the series. He needs to get over himself. I really hope no one is stupid enough to believe that these ceremonies will prevent accidents.

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    • sandcherry replied:

      Agree with you to a certain extent. It is just some kind of Chinese traditional ceremony before the filming of a drama series. It has nothing to do with religious beliefs. It is just showing respect for everyone who is involved in the production of the series.

      Personally I like Ram Chiang as an actor and he acts very well, both good and villainous. I never knew that he was a singer and song-writer. I think he is just a bit weird. With his passive personality, he can get nowhere (either acting or singing) in the entertainment industries even he is super talented.

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    • Primrose replied:

      Someone has explained it’s a wrong translation. Ram did not refuse to participate in the blessing ceremonies. He just refused to offer the joss sticks to the gods – a practice against his Christian beliefs. That is actually an accepted practice. Just like when Christians attend Chinese funerals, they do not offer joss sticks to the deceased. Just like many in the HK police force pray to “guan yi gor” before they set out on their missions, but the Christians don’t have to. Hope you don’t get Ram wrong because of a wrong translation 🙂

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  14. Ross says:

    Looks do matter, besides talent…look at Ram’s contemporary, Andy …..see where he is now….

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  15. Terminator says:

    Good for him for not participating in the so-called “blessing ceremonies”. I always find it a bit odd about having these quasi-religious rituals in Chinese entertainment given not everyone is expected to be from the same religious stripe.

    Hollywood would have their asses sued off if they had insisted on having a similar ritual with all required to recite the Lord’s Prayer.

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  16. aptos says:

    Much like Benz Hui, Ram is just as competent and likeable. He can play both the abusive villain part as well as the innocentand abused role. They are excellent supporting actors.

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  17. Woot says:

    One of my favorite veteran actors!! Such a talent, always living up to the expectations. He deserves a lot more recognition. And his songs, SUPER classic, love them!!

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  18. Shrimpboat says:

    I’ve loved him for as long as I can remember. He can play any role (even a villain) and I’d still be a fan.

    I’m happy for him. He’s doing what he enjoys but does not have to put up with all the craziness that artists like Raymond Lam (or even Wayne Lai) has to put up with.

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