Steven Ma: “Expectations Lead to Disappointments”

Men of Chaozhou descent are often described by their partners as gentle, considerate, and responsible. Steven Ma (馬浚偉) embodies that all-inclusive sense of benevolence. The only boy in a house of four sisters, Steven succeeded his father as the leader of his family. The 41-year-old actor already developed a sense of responsibility at a young age.

“From as early as I can remember, my father was the breadwinner and my mother stayed at home. Although I have three elder sisters, I was the decision-maker of the family. We have fourteen members in my family now, and at every family reunion or dinner, I would be the one who pays the bill. This is out of habit. When it comes to family, it really doesn’t matter.”

Steven’s mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was 6 years old. “I could not accept it,” said Steven. “I watched her relapse, watched her losing her smell, hearing, sight, and to the point where she could not eat. Once, she vomited blood when she was eating. This scenario doesn’t only happen in movies!”

Steven’s mother passed away in 1999. A year later, it was his grandmother’s turn to vomit blood in front of Steven. She too passed away soon after. “On the night of her death, I was shooting a wedding scene. After that, I developed a mood disorder. I drank all day and every day. I cried when I was drunk, cried when I was sober.”

Plans for Marriage

“[My girlfriend] and I share an understanding. We definitely want to start a family with each other. [She] loves children, but this really depends on timing.”

Steven expressed his hope to expand his career to behind-the-scenes film production in the next two years. “We share the same target. We will finish what we must in the next one to two years. I believe we will be happy.”

Is Steven positive that his current girlfriend, Vivian Hui, will be his marriage partner? “I don’t think I am the type to marry twice, which is why everything has to be planned carefully. I am living with my family, and if I were to marry in the future, I will definitely move out. At least we will be living in our own quarters. I will not allow women to spend money on me.”

Steven expressed that he would rather save money to purchase his own home than to rent one. “Wouldn’t that be more dignifying?”

Steven said, “Right now, I am typically dedicated to my work for 365 days of the year. I rarely get the chance to see my girlfriend. In the past five to six years, I’ve consistently learned about filming, screenwriting, and editing. I am working towards an image-changing career that will allow me more time with my family. By the time it comes, I plan to film only one project per year, and use the rest of my time to directing and screenwriting.”

Career Expectations?

Steven sought an early end to his TVB management contract in 2011. He clarified, “We could not come up with an agreement to my work. I had some things that I wanted to try but [TVB] did not approve of it. This bottleneck relationship had been going on for a while, and it finally led to my decision to leave. By the time I had to leave, I felt unwilling, but now, my mindset is calm.”

For 18 years, Steven had starred in numerous successful TVB dramas. Although a multiple Best Actor-award nominee and a four-time My Favorite Male Character winner, Steven failed to earn a single Best Actor win at the TVB Anniversary Awards.

“It’s fine!” exclaimed Steven when he was asked if he felt disappointed at his Best Actor losses. “Honestly, no one dislikes a [TV King] coronation, but if I hold expectations for myself, I will only find disappointment in the end. You asked me if I want to win an award, I do, but I didn’t in the end. It doesn’t matter anymore. I cannot control this. I’m not very upset. If it should be mine, then it will be mine. Although I never earned one, there are a few in the audience who thinks I deserve it. I am very happy. Definitely do not work in the business for the award! This is a painful way of thinking.”

The Future

Under a short per-series contract, Steven has now returned to TVB to shoot Property Protector <守業者>, a period drama costarring Tavia Yeung (楊怡), Evergreen Mak (麥長青), and Maggie Shiu (邵美琪). Afterwards, Steven will shoot a film in Beijing, and then return to mainland Chinese studios to shoot a television drama. Steven will also be releasing his latest studio album, Cherish, in late June.

“I actually debuted as a singer, and I have already released fourteen albums!” exclaimed Steven happily. “I used to spend a lot of my free time in singing competitions; I’ve participated in about 44 of them. I joined the industry after I won first place at the Vanguard Singing Competition in 1993.”

Steven revealed that eleven new songs are recorded in his Cherish album, five of which are his own compositions.  He will be engaged in the promotions of his album in the coming weeks, and will hold various concert tours in Hong Kong in July.

Source: Oriental Sunday #810 via 

This article is written by Addy for

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  1. It’s hard to believe that Steven Ma is already 41 years old. He looks too young for that age and yet he embodies the experience of someone who is 50 years old! Almost 2 decades in the entertainment industry and Steven has not stopped striving for his dreams. I love that he has such straightforward and clear visions of what he wants. He is truly an inspiration.

    Should he hold concerts soon, I hope he comes to Malaysia! Would love to go and meet him 🙂

    1. Keep family matters private Steve, focus on his acting singing.
      So Steve got hurt during work, so what happen on the set, so did TVB gave Steve time of work and some form of compensation? Good luke Steve during a hard year!

  2. What is so not dignifying of renting a house? Not everyone can afford to buy a house…

    1. It is true that not everyone can afford to buy a house. However, I don’t think Steven means anything negative about it. It is great to be able to pay so much each month and have it actually go towards your own house so one day it can be yours, instead of when you rent a house. You can pay a big amount every month(in some cases almost as much as when you buy a house) but it goes into the landlord’s pocket and never towards your own house.

    2. It’s a cultural thing, especially in traditional Chinese culture societies. In HK, some fathers will refuse to let their daughters marry men who can’t even afford to make the downpayment for a house. Guess it is different in the States and Australia where renting is common. To the Chinese, having a house is a roof over your head and it signifies security. Some patents even help their children with the down payment.

      1. Yeah and some parents won’t hell with down payment. Some kept saying how great they are and everything they do is for their children. Lies! My bf’s parents kept pushing us to get marry but how will we get marry if we are not financially stable. They want us to live in the same roof as them. Get a life and it will never Happen! It’s not traditional China! U immigrated to US u should be them!

      2. Yeah, agree with Munkimui. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

    3. Nothing undignified but at least try to buy one if you can’t live rent free.

    4. Addy has completely misinterpreted Steven’s words in her report:
      Steven expressed that he would rather save money to purchase his own home than to rent one. “Wouldn’t that be more dignifying?”

      ~~The verbatim translation of the original article should read thus: (nothing to do with renting a house being undignified. Addy, please re-edit that paragraph.

      C: Actually why the wait to get married?

      S: Well, I’m not someone who would get married twice, so must plan carefully all details. Right now I live with my family, when I get married the family members will continue to live in the present apartment, I myself will move out to another in the same neighborhood. My personality is such that I will not use a penny from a woman.

      C: So, you won’t allow your other half to help you with the mortgage?

      S: Isn’t it more impressive that way if I can buy the apartment all by myself? I admit my sense of responsibility is extremely strong. For people I love I willingly shoulder all responsibility. When I marry a wife, I would never use her money because during my growing years, my father was the sole breadwinner and my mom did not have to work outside. Even though I have 3 older sisters but since young, (beside his father) I made most of the decisions at home.





      1. Thanks Clamine. Your translation is far better compared to addy. Well done.

      2. Steven is so sweet but I think he should not try to always shoulder all the responsibility like that. It is too much for him. Also, it is no longer the olden days where women are the housewife while the guy goes out and brings home the bacon. These days, the women usually need to help out since the economic times are even harder now. I don’t think it is fair to always have the guy shoulder all of the responsibility. If the girl can use the guys’ money, why can’t the guy use hers?? It is only fair…

  3. I know the pain that Steven has gone through in watching your loved one suffer and leave you one by one. Everyone should cherish their loved ones as much as they can and while they can because you never know when they can suddenly just go…

    1. Another mistranslation in the report:

      I drank all day and every day. I cried when I was drunk, cried when I was sober.”

      每日飲酒飲天光,飲醉就喊. The original article did not say he cried when sober. On the contrary, Steven had said he could not cry when sober, he could only cry when drunk and in private at that. At the time he never let his family see him cry. He is after all the only son of a Chew Chao family. He had to be strong for his family — that’s his feelings at the time. So, no crying when sober.

      1. Oh ok, thanks for the clarification. Things are always lost in translation but too bad I get lazy to read the original articles.

  4. Dont tell me that he pays for living for his sisters. Paying for reuinion is just occasional and assume food price in HK is not so expensive. So with his earning it is not big impact on income.

    1. @Kate: No, Steven does not pay for his sisters’ living.

      I understand the translated is a condensed version of the original but sometimes arbitrary omission of sentences can give a different interpretation to the quotes taken out of context as it did to Kate.

      Although I’ve 3 older sisters but since young, I made most of the decisions at home. Every month we have a family get-together; we now have 14 members in the family; I pay for every meal, the reason being it’s a habit. (tn: picking up the tabs). Anyway for people I care about, I’m fine with it.

      Because this phrase “but since young, I made most of the decisions at home” is omitted from above article, Steven’s quote gives a different take on his meaning.

      Steven did not bring up the case of his footing the bill for meals to indicate his financial ability but rather to use an example of him being the head of the family so naturally he foot the bill for family meals.

      Incidentally, Steven’s picking up the tab is his wont – in an old radio interviews, Eileen Cha brought up how Steven always paid the production wrap-up dinners out of his own pocket. Steven said he would rather spend money on people (eg. foot the bill) than have people spent money on him cos’ he does not like to feel obligated to return the favor. So yeah, if want free meals, dine with Steven, he would sure to pick up the tab, that’s just him.

  5. A singer in VN can afford to purchase house for her parents and buy one house for rent cheap to her brother’s family. Also she pays all events of her family. Why not Steven? If it is big deal for just expense of food then I down on living condition in HK and earning of HK celebrities

    1. Tell your vn singer sell her house and buy a house in Hk and another house cheap for rent. The vn singer may not be able to afford two parking space in Hk.

    2. @ nhung. are u crazy??? living in VN is cheaper than HK. duhhhhh. T____T

    3. don’t compared them if you don’t know anything. i’m sorry, you sound really stupid LOLOL

    4. @Nhung,
      Do you have any idea about the standard of living in HK?? I live in the SF bay area which is already really expensive but cannot be compared to HK. The mortgage/rent in HK is really really high to the point that you don’t even want to imagine. Food is rising in costs too but of course cannot be compared to the rent/mortgage.

      Also, why is the guy always having to shoulder all of the responsibilities?? I feel it is not the olden days anymore where it is only the guy that brings home the bacon. The women need to help out too.

    5. I feel like I asked this before and I’m going to ask again, how high is the standard of living in HK?

      Please, I do not doubt anyone who says the standard of living maybe too high, but when I speak with the hundreds of patients/colleague and people I come across daily… NO ONE EVER DAM MENTIONS HK AS EXPENSIVE TO LIVE IN. Like I heard Denmark, JAPAN, Switz… like those come up nine out of fifteen people I have this type of conversation with. But HK..either they purposely overlook or something else.

      Please someone clarify. Thanks.

      1. well rent and houses are expensive, but not with food,clothes and others. For a place like Japan, EVERYTHING is expensive! >< lol

  6. I wish the below Steven quote has not been omitted here because I thought it was so romantic.

    Is Steven positive that his current girlfriend, Vivian Hui, will be his marriage partner? [omitted..]“I don’t think I am the type to marry twice, which is why everything has to be planned carefully.

    Ma: Either I don’t get married at all, or if I do, it will definitely be with her.

  7. @clamine: Thanks for all the clarifications. This is one reason why as a translator myself, I insist on translating an article verbatim / in it’s entirety so as not to skew the original article writer’s words (which I feel is especially critical in these interview-type articles).

    Anyway….I echo RLF Lover’s sentiments in that I also love and appreciate how Steven is always so straightforward with his speech and also has a clear vision of what he wants. I was actually watching the episode of Cook Away Lady May yesterday where he goes on as guest — Steven is definitely extremely talented and hardworking…it’s no wonder May Jeh had nothing but praise for him throughout his entire segment. 🙂

  8. I am a big fan of Steven, film and music. I am also impressed of his values in life. However in my opinion, his perfectionism might get in the way of his love life. He is 41 and to wanting all to be perfect ie house etc before getting married. How long can a female wait for a man?? Come on Steven throw away caution for once!!!

  9. Steven is a great guy and good actor. Wish him all the best of luck. Didn’t know he’s 41 already and had 14 albums out. His voice is really nice! TVB overlook this guy. Maybe he’s too honest that’s why he’s not as popular as Raymond LAm. I finally realized it not a good thing to be honest towards others becauseany people don’t like the truth or can’t handle the truth.

  10. Timing? Any older and he will have to pay for his child’s education and all right up to 70! Steven, the time is now is children is what you aim for. How long can his girlfriend wait?

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